Yesterday I went back to an area that I haven’t been to in about 23 years, a very special stretch of Deer Creek.
From the paved road, you drive down a dirt road for 6 miles as you drop into the steep canyon. For the 2nd time while being in that area, I ran across a bear. He/She/Them was sitting in a little pool of water and scampered up the forested, canyon walls before I could take a photo. I like it when bears run away from me.
There is a wonderful swimming hole in the creek. That rope has been up there for a long time. I wouldn’t trust that limb.
Hiking along a trail, I remembered climbing around a fallen tree. It was still there 23 years later. It is/was a cedar tree. It reminded me that death provides the foundation for life. As the tree decays, vegetation sprouts and little bugs thrive yet some end up being food for a rainbow trout. That fallen tree feels like an old friend. I told it, “I have decayed a bit too since we last met.” The cedar tree is a special tree, in my mind.
I spent the night once next to this creek. It was during a time that I was very confused. The sound of the rushing water, all night long, seemed to provide me with clarity. It washed away what needed to go away in my thoughts.
When I say “I fished” what I really mean is I sit down next to the water and look all around with a sense of awe. I heard a relative say today, “I don’t believe in God.” I thought to myself, “ That’s ok, I doubt God is really very concerned about that. Just don’t lose the awareness needed to be awestruck occasionally.”
Sadly, this canyon is the site of a terrible massacre of Yahi Indians in the 1800’s by angry settlers. Read the story of Ishi someday. The locals would walk around with Indian scalps tied to their belts.
Sometimes when I sit there by the creek, looking up at the steep canyon walls, it feels like one can hear the Yahi weeping. I close my eyes and think of them. I guess I call that fishing.