Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Two for the Road

                                                        This steelhead took the first bait.
                                                        The second bait produced another steelhead.  
                                                         I like how raindrops on the lens float like planets.
                                                       Civilization Prophecy

The first two baits this morning morphed into two buck steelhead.  I had time to rest on a rock, set the camera self-timer, and enjoy a Columbia River spring chinook sandwich.  How can I take the generosity of Washington's coastal people, and stunning beauty of their fish, back to my teaching job in the city?  The truth is I can't for very long.

Waders quickly and necessarily left in cramped places get moldy just like my soul in the city.  I will fly back occasionally to shake off some of that, and, if funds allow, return for a 3-month stretch in late May to catch spring chinook and summer steelhead from rivers I fished over 43 years. 

Driving back to Whidbey today, I saw an unmanned, lighted, with engine humming garbage truck parked alongside a river above a fishing hole.  I recalled how my Tigard, Oregon, boyhood friend, Mark, a very serious fisherman, used to get angry when I called a passing garbage truck his "mobile home."  It would be ironic, wouldn't it, in a poetic way if that was Mark fishing below?  Stranger things have happened.  But I would understand it because, glancing at the perfect steelhead-green current, I would stop too.

The reason is I'm totally against work.  It gets in the way of life.  Kids know this, and the Machine spends lifetimes trying to convince them otherwise.  Therefore, the trick is to have "work" that doesn't feel like work because you enjoy it so much.  I had this a few times like when I ran The Starfisher, wrote for Newport News-Times,  wrote for Tigard-Tualatin Times, wrote The Valley Times in Beaverton, did online course innovation for Lake Land College in Mattoon, Illinois, taught writing at Columbia Gorge Community College overlooking the Columbia River which was close enough to The Deschutes to fish after work, and currently when I teach creative writing and world literature in San Diego. 

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