Finally read The Call of the Wild, by Jack London. Have to say I enjoyed it much more than I was expecting, and it definitely got me thinking. Buck's gradual transformation from domesticated pet to wild animal and his quest for dominance reminds me in a vague sort of way of the two "civilized" fisherman, snarling at each over who got to the run first. Or the guy who wants to be known as the "greatest fisherman alive" and therefore terrorizes everyone else with tall tales of his fishing prowess while delivering snide, derogatory comments in regards to anyone else's abilities. I picture Buck, disciplining the other dogs while stalking around with his nose up and chest puffed out.
I think anytime a creature is taken out of their comfort zone, into a place where survival means being smart and tough, they are forced to revert to their baser instincts. Even for fisherman, this holds true, although a dog struggling through the Yukon wilderness in the dead of winter with little food or rest is much more of a life or death situation than some decked out fly angler making the drive from downtown Vancouver to the Vedder. But there is still that element of returning to the wild, being surrounded by nature and all her unpredictibilities and participating in an act that has been practiced for centuries. The further away from "civilization" we go, the more aware we become, our senses heighten, the more alive and alert we are. The urge to triumph grows strong, to survive the biggest goal.
Curtis and I took a drive up some old logging roads last week, and within an hour from home were gazing overtop pine trees, with lakes a thousand feet below and mountains stretching into the horizon nearly at eye level. Yes, we were so close to home and in the safety and comfort of a big truck on a well maintained gravel road, but still I could feel my lungs opening up as if I could breath bigger and deeper breaths, my eyes strained to soak up the details in my surroundings, and those little nagging, everyday worries and insecurities just floated away. Curtis has been on several stone sheep hunts, the last he drove for 20+ hours, boated for a few more, then hiked up 7000 ft of mountain with little more than his bow and a bivy sack to reach the alpine with the world laid out before him. On top of the world literally, as well as figuratively - the element of risk involved and the need to protect your very exsistence results in the most incredible sense of accomplishment. When he got back his words were "You will never feel more alive. You feel like there is nothing you cannot do."
I imagine that's how Jack London's Buck felt when he listened to his primordial instincts.
Congratulations are due for Sarah, who now officially holds the Women's IGFA 8kg Line Class World Record for Roosterfish. Ever since she saw Running Down the Man 2 years ago, Sarah has been dying to catch one of these spectacular fish. And she did it in style last August on her honeymoon.
I'm so proud of you!!
Since the guiding season is at its slowest point, Curtis is able to spend some time playing on the computer, and has made these 2 clips (with limited footage) of two of our favourite rivers. Enjoy.
And thank you to everyone who responded to my previous blog post. Several blogger friends confessed to me privately that I am not alone in my apathy. Re-examining my post I see that I do appear to take it too seriously (a habit I exercise elsewhere in my life) and my intention was not to write a depressing post but rather one to help clarify my feelings, if for only my own sake. After all, its just fishing! A dear friend, Joel, who introduced me to blogging on the now defunct website "Fish Frontiers" sent me this message, which is how I intend to proceed with this site.
"A blog is nothing more than the word bubbles in your head, except released onto a web page. It's supposed to be fun, not a chore. It's an O-U-T-L-E-T. Don't worry about writing what you should write, or what Moldychum, Trout Underground or April Vokey are doing. Release whatever (you're) thinking/feeling/loving/hating/wanting."
And finally Happy New Year everyone. Thank you for sharing a small slice of my life with me, and may you be happy and healthy in 2010.