Well, that's the way I learned to spell 'vacation.' I remember
it from way back in grade school. I can still see the teacher,
the room, the other kids and learning the word. It was a bit
like a song or a jingle maybe. It had a sort of melody and
cadence to it. Va Ca Tion. I also remember how proud I was
of myself at the time. I think it was the first grade, but
I may be wrong.
So, anyway, we are going on one. I guess I need one, but this
is not all that hard, just steady. Mostly it is rewarding and
fun. Perhaps like the saying in France, "Why should I go on
vacation, I'm already here?" But, it is usually said in French.
We met a fine group of folks last year and will get to know
even more this time too. The location is the best lodge on
one of the best stretches of the main stream of the world
famous Au Sable river. The place called the 'Holy Water.'
Rather prophetic name I suppose; to say it is revered would
be an understatement.
The fishing is some of the most exemplary trout fishing in
the world, the stream is typical yet unique at the same time.
Cedars, sweepers they are called, edge the stream, often lazing
gently out at an angle shading and cooling the waters and hiding
the citizens living in their shadow. I have read more than a few
pages of angling works while leaning back on a curving trunk and
letting the sounds of the water drown out the others noises of
the world. I will spend one more week at this place.
I met my wife here. We were married here. It's one of the places
I mentally drift off to when some occasion necessitates. Yet
reality can be cruel and over the years the place has changed,
probably for the best, but I would argue the point. Fortunately
my memory still provides fairly crisp images of the places here.
Snapshots of the bends, log jams, runs, ripples, rises, rip-rap,
stream improvements, fish caught and fish not caught. And the
Most valuable are those I met during the seasons spent learning
to fly fish. From my first tries in front of the Green Cabin
pool, when I actually stayed at the cabin, to the summers on
the South Branch of the Au Sable at Canoe Harbor, back to Keystone
Landing and the various side trips to other sections of the famous
waterway, it was those I got to know that were of the most value.
My life was shaped by them. Their influence, for the most part good,
formed my life then and into the future. I would not be writing this
now, had it not been for them. Some of them were even famous at the
time, others went on to become famous but most just went on to become
fly fishermen. It was a time of my life over which I had seemly no
control. It simply was what it was. I do not remember making many
decisions or choices, even marriage. That was certainly no choice
whatsoever, not when I met Deanna.
I do know I met some of the best people ever to cast a long rod.
Quality seemed to be a common thread which tied them all together.
Yet, not one of them used the same equipment or fished the same
way. Each had his own methods to catch trout, but all had the
same ethics. Those were the best of times. Perhaps for each of us.
Some have gone on now. Others I have lost contact with but really
do think of very often, alive or not, they are still in my mind.
How can I forget folks like them. I don't. Sometimes they influence
me still. Something they may have said in a passing comment, I
grabbed and have hung onto all these years. My mind plays their
tapes over and over. Good times, fun times, intense moments, times
of love, times of frustration, and just simply times. The times of
my life were there. That is why I am going back this year. My home
waters. In some ways, I have never left. How can I go on vacation
when I am already there? ~ James Castwell