~~The rain clouds begin to part signaling the perfect opportunity to head out to the river. It is early fall in Western Washington and the pinks have struck the headwaters with a vengeance, ready for their journey back to where life began. It is truly an amazing act of nature that only happens every two years. I tell my brother to get ready; we need to take advantage of the opportunity that lies before us. I grab my fly rod and tackle box. A tackle box whose contents I have spent countless hours staring at to the point that it borders on obsession. I have been waiting for this moment, I knew it would come and finally it has. We hop in the truck and tear down the gravel road before we point the old beast in the direction of our salvation. The staples in my stomach begin to remind me that I am not who I used to be. Only two weeks removed from the hospital bed, new kidney and all. A fresh start. What better way to start fresh than casting my line into my favorite stretch of river. We cross the bridge which allows us a quick peek at our destination. The water is still low in early fall and we see fish leaping out of the water in every direction. Perfect conditions. I exit the truck, my rod broken down into four pieces and considerately placed inside my backpack. With waders strapped we head down to the river bank. My brother is first to cast his line, I feel like he has won some small battle but I do not dwell on it. I pull out a fly that I have been waiting to use. Bright pink, with white stripes and a gold bead on the tip. It is beautiful. Wading into the cool, flowing water I breathe deeply, my mortality staring me straight in the face. Gently, I bring the rod back, shoulder and forearm working as one; the rod moves forward and I release. 2/19/14
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