Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Old Man and The Kid

The old man looked forward to his day on the river with the kid as he gathered up his rod and headed out in pursuit of trout.The kid was always on the river waiting for him in the quiet hush of the summer low stream. He was quite fond of the kid and knew him as well as anyone did. He enjoyed the kid's wry sense of humor and often found himself chuckling at something the kid said or did.
He saw that the kid was impetuous and sometimes brash but that didn't bother the old man much because it reminded him so much of himself after all.The kid was a likeable young man that laughed easily and enjoyed the moment he was in. He would not plan ahead but the old man knew that it was all a part of his charm and that he no doubt would carry that trait into old age.
You see he and the kid had a lot in common. They both lost their father when they were just teenagers. The old man knew that the kid had not gone through the grieving process as he did, but he knew he would someday. He knew the kid would think a lot about his father and his father would often be in his dreams for years afterwards. The death of his father just did not seem to register much with the kid right now though and the old man wished that he could say or do something that would spare the kid the sadness that would come when it all came home to him years after his father had died. It happened to him and he knew it would be tough on the kid. He knew the kid would miss the companionship that a father provided and would miss the counsel that only a parent could give.
It bothered the old man though, that the kid never took the time to enjoy his days on the river. The kid never appreciated the beauty that surrounded him as he fished the rivers of his youth. So many times the old man wanted to tell the kid to slow down and take it all in. He wanted to tell him to look at the trees and the river and everything around you because it's not just about catching a lot of fish after all. He wanted to tell the kid to be aware of how lucky he was because it will not always be like this...he just couldn't tell him though because the kid was not one to take advice very well.
He could see that the kid had times of great joy and deep sadness ahead of him. For all the bad choices the kid made there would be many good choices to balance his life out. It did not, however, keep the the old man from grimacing at the bad choices the kid did make and the old man knew they were irrespondsible and immature. The old man guessed the kid would just have to find that out just as he did. He also knew that the kid would struggle with self confidence,doubt and even depression as he grew older.
The kid was in fact a constant companion to the old man as they wandered the rivers in search of trout and steelhead. It was too bad, the old man thought, that the kid was never able to help him through those gloomy winter days when the old man
felt so alone and sometimes even sad. However, just like clock work, the kid was always ready to go when the warmth of the sun returned in the spring.
The old man sadly knew that there would come a day when he and the kid would no longer wade the coastal streams in search of trout or hike up the Deschutes canyon together. He knew the kid would move on and he would not be there to help him along in his journey through life. He took satisfaction in knowing the kid would be alright without him though. He just wondered about the day when the memory of his youthful companion would be faded and confused.
The old man knew that one day the kid would appreciate the beauty of the river and the fish that swam there. He knew the kid would appreciate a finely made bamboo fly rod and the joy of a rising trout and the old man took comfort in that.
The old man moves slower these days but he remembers the time when he, like the kid, could go anywhere he wanted. A time when he didn't have to pick the places he cast his fly just because it provided easy access to the river. The old man knew that, unlike the endless flow of the river he would have the joys and sorrows he knew was finite and only here for such a short time. He remembers that kid of so many years ago and was glad they got the chance to know each other finally.

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