A NEW DIRECTION FOR ME
As an official senior citizen now, I've had to make several changes to my lifestyle recently, that kind of caught me ill equipped and unready. In my more robust younger years it meant nothing to me to hike 10 miles or so through the woods in search of deer or climbing 2000 feet in elevation in the Blue Mountains of Washington State in the quest for elk. If I wanted to go camping for the weekend with friends, making plans to go, only the night before departure, would not have been a problem. A day in the field would last all day long, and then came dinner preparation and clean up, then an hour or two around a campfire with a favorite libation. Not so any more. The onset of senior citizenship has taken its toll on my once rowdy behavior, and forced me into a more reasonable pace.
In my YOUNGER YEARS I would:
Stay up late
Get up early
Go fishing at the drop of a hat
Fish all day with no problem
Hike the hills, fields and breaks of the mountains all day
Go camping at the drop of a hat
Set up camp in no time
Wade the rivers and streams without a staff
In my MIDDLE YEARS I would:
Go to bed earlier
Take at least a day to plan a fishing trip
Not spend the entire day fishing
Take my time hunting the hills and fields.
Hunt for only ½ days
Take longer to set up camp
Wade the rivers and streams using a staff
In my SENIOR YEARS I now:
Go to bed usually by 8:00 PM or earlier
Take up to a week to plan a fishing trip
Fish for only ½ days
No more hunting or hiking at all
Take up to 2 hours to set up camp
No longer wade the rivers and streams
I know this all sounds like I'm feeling sorry for myself, and I do certainly miss my more vibrant years. But now that I've slowed down, time in the field has become more precious. I don't race to catch the first fish anymore. I take time to absorb my surroundings. I pause to watch the water, flora and fauna in hopes of witnessing something an eager heart may have missed. Like an osprey plucking a perch from shallow water, or a bald eagle snatching that perch from the osprey. Like a frog hopping as fast as it can across the tops of the lily pads trying to outrun a tail walking bass in hot pursuit. Like a bass coming out of the water and taking a young red winged blackbird off of a low branch. All these kinds of things I've been privileged to witness just because I've slowed down. Am I saying that if I was given the health and agility of my youth that I would continue a slower pace? Probably not, but what I am saying is that I'm learning to appreciate the benefits of a slower pace.
I don't wade the rivers and streams anymore for fear of falling. And I do sorely miss chasing those beautiful Westslope Cutthroat Trout of North Idaho. But I still do go fishing. Now it's from a little 12 foot Jon boat. And I've been blessed with the generosity of a good friend who gave me a custom made 9 foot 7 weight 4 piece fly rod. And I just happen to have a pretty good bass, crappie, bluegill and perch lake less than 10 miles from my driveway. Oh, did I say there are Tiger Muskies in that same lake?
So, my "New Direction" find me moving away from the trout of rivers and streams, and toward the spiny rays of my local lakes. I'm dealing with new gear, new tactics, new species, new flies and a small boat with an electric motor. It's like starting to learn all over again in my advanced years. There is excitement and eager anticipation in that. And I am grateful for my "New Direction."
Sometimes getting older isn't all bad. So you might consider slowing down. Give it a try and see what you've been missing. You might just be pleasantly surprised with your own "New Direction."
Blessings and peaceful waters,