Among the joys of a hunting or fishing trip is the planning and anticipation. From my youth, even the excitement that was generated by planning a hike in the woods was enough to have me bouncing off the walls for days. I suspect I am not alone in this.
I remember well my first backpacking trip to Southern Colorado for trout. There were weeks of planning, checklists and maps. Camping gear had to be purchased, and hiking boots were broken in. We planned meals, driving routes, and stops along the highway. Arrangements had to be made at home for care of pets, gardens, and yards, and of course we had to ask for time off from work.
Yet for all the planning for that trip, and indeed any trip I have undertaken, there is always a singular moment of perfection. That point of silent breathless discovery from the culmination of your plans and efforts. On this particular trip that moment occurred when the Rio Grande first came into view just downhill from the cabin that served as our base of operations for the week. This was not yet the big river of south Texas, wide and muddy. These were the headwaters of the Rio Grande; a blue ribbon trout stream with the majestic San Juan mountains shepherding the water south. A photo of me fishing that stretch of the stream adorns the dresser in my bedroom to this day.
Another time I took my maiden kayak fly fishing trip to the Lighthouse Lake trails near Port Aransas, Texas. I was new to fly fishing, newer to kayaks, and completely uninitiated with redfish. All of the stories I read, and plans I made resulted in “that moment” when a redfish slammed the little bronze popper and ran for the horizon, the drag on my reel screaming.
Those defining moments aren’t only relegated to outdoor activities. I have been blessed to have taken part of a number of weddings in the last few years, and in fact I am participating in another next weekend. My favorite part of every wedding is the moment when the groom first gets a glimpse of his bride. I usually try to get a seat where I can see the groom’s face just to see his reaction.
I remember another wedding four years ago when I wasn’t able to see the groom’s expression, for I was he.
My gaze was locked on the spot where my bride was to appear. Many prayers, hopes, plans, and dreams had culminated in that perfect moment, one that I will remember forever.
Happy Anniversary my bride!