Once I was big enough and strong enough to work the gates it was like I’d become an adult. In my young mind, being trusted enough to keep the cows where they belonged, and taking the place of my Grandfather at the gates, I was a man. It’s really something to look back on a grandfather getting older and letting you do the work because you are too, and to realize now that you didn’t realize then, it meant you were both getting older and that all things pass with time, including us.
I told him that I tried to live my life the same way I organized my fly boxes… With good intentions. But that just like the fly boxes, good intentions are only so good and last only so long, and that sooner or later you go to the box to find a specific fly that will change your luck for the better and find only an unorganized mess. Chaos was probably the better word. Just ask my ex-wife.
The creek out back. That’s how I refer to it most of the time. It’s got a name like most creeks, but to me it’s the creek out back. Why? Because that’s where it is. The name isn’t important on most days. Less and less becomes important to me all the time the older I get it seems. And what I hold onto as actually important likewise becomes more important the older I get. The creek is important. Its name, not so much as its location. Out back.
When I’m on my death bed, I don’t plan on reminiscing about how perfect the grass was. I plan on telling about how every time Carter would hook a decent fish when he was a young boy that he’d always turn and look at me with disappointment on his face and tell me “I’m snagged on something,” and gesture to me to take the rod and unsnag it. Only for me to feel the rod shudder and hand it back to him in hilarious excitement, “You’re not snagged, it’s a fish. Reel!”