Forgive Me

Dirty Fingernails: For mechanics in Afghanistan filthy hands means finished repairs

The wind is cold and brutal against my face. It blows with such force that it feels like small shards of glass are being brushed across my skin as the snow hits it. I can’t move. In a way I feel if I move and do not give you a moment, my respect has gone. I’ve been reverting to my early ancestral roots to outwit you. It feels as though I haven’t really won this strange competition we’ve been in. I am ambivalent. I feel a sense of relief that the deed is done, but cannot escape the sorrow that fills my heart. I stand and look at your impermanence and come to the realization that we are all transient in this world. We all have a purpose, one way or another. We all have a primal need to feel life, in some way. My pursuit has allowed me to feel life. A struggle between predator and prey, man and beast. My feeling of life does not come from the taking of another life, but rather the adventure we’ve shared. My primal brain has shone through in our exploit. A need to appreciate that which fuels me. Without you I cannot survive. It is most unfortunate that such a thing must end with sorrow. Sometimes I wish I were not created this way. A need to take the life of another creature of this world to help me push on. Know that you are forever in my gratitude. You’re still omnipresent in nature, not physically, but in every bit of nature. I just hope that your soul can forgive me now that it has left your body. My hands have done the physical work, but my mind has done the hard labor. My mind is what needs your forgiveness now.

Beautiful Chaos

 

It’s morning; early and humid. I starred out my hotel window to see the haze already settling in. She decided not to accompany me on this final day. “Where’s my gear?”, I said. That’s right, it’s on the skiff. The skiff that I have grown to love and hate all at the same time. Two days of disappointment, beauty and self-loathing all wrapped into one.

She rolls over and looks at me, “Why do you do this to yourself? We’re on vacation”. I look back at her with a smirk, “Sometimes, I don’t know”. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment, at least that’s what I’ve come to conclude. In a way, I’m kind of like Captain Ahab chasing Moby Dick. He never learned. It killed him, literally. He chased that whale at all costs. I guess that’s what I’m doing, chasing my own white whale.

I put on my clothes, covered head to toe with gear to help shelter my skin from the unforgiving sun. I meet up with Luke at the skiff. He looks and asks, “Fly or Die?”. I respond with a “That’s the plan” and a nod. We set off into the backcountry. A cruel, beautiful, unforgiving, bitch. Typical, I think to myself. Aren’t all the most beautiful things, the biggest pain in the ass? It wouldn’t be adventure without obstacles. We skate across the water like a dolphin gliding through the sea. Nothing but crystal blue ocean as far as my eyes can peer through the thick Florida haze. We find a spot. “Get set” Luke commands. I take position at the bow, sweating already from the heat and humidity in the morning sun. The current slides by the boat, “Perfect”. It seemed as though the stars were aligning. “This is it” I think to myself. Two days of emptiness, bad wind, horrible casts and hot days; all leading up to this.

A ghost maneuvers toward me. “You see it?” Luke whispers. I hold a thumbs up in response. “Cast” he demands. I oblige with a myriad of false casts. “Drop it now!”. My line shot out of the tip of my rod. I begin my strip as my line hits the water. Like a sniper hitting his target, my fly hits with precision. Tick, tick, tick. My rod bends and my reel erupts with energy. Line tearing off like a drag racer heading for the finish line. “There you go!!!” is all I hear from the poling platform. Like a love struck teenager I grin from ear to ear.

The fight is on. Like a back and forth battle between to opposing forces. The heft of the battling creature on my line is felt with every run. Two steps forward, twenty steps back is what it felt like. “I’m gaining line, I think he’s done!!”. I haul my trophy over to the skiff. My forearms are throbbing, my hands hurt, and my eyes are stinging from the sweat. “Bring him here” he says. “Where is he?” Luke asks. I look out and a sickness overwhelms me. I watch as my quarry swims slowly into the distance. “What happened?” we both ask ourselves. We inspect the shrimp pattern to see what went wrong. “Did the hook straighten?” I asked. “No” with a long pause from Luke. “The fly was de-barbed”. My face flows with blood in anger. In my hast to get out there, I tied on a barbless bonefish shrimp. The permit swimming way as if mocking me in victory.

On this day he won. I was the loser, in more ways than one. As I watched my rival move back to his school, I thought to myself, “I’m obsessed”. This creature is still pulling me back. I dream about it. It’s beautiful chaos calling me back. Like drug addict, I need another fix. It’s like a siren singing to me, luring me to it’s domain. “One day”, I think. “One day, the two of us dance again”. Dance again, like a twisted waltz where neither one will lead.