"Time it was and what a time it was, it was - a time of innocence, a time of confidences. Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph. Preserve your memories; they're all that's left you." [Simon and Garfunkel, Bookends]
It was late in the day as I drove slowly down the short dirt road to the small parking lot that bordered the river. After I got out of the car I walked slowly down to the edge of the water and looked downstream. The river ran straight down to a gently bend where it formed a deep pool against the log cribbing that lined the bank. On the near bank a large cedar log was firmly anchored to the bottom; a suitable place for an angler to sit and watch the water. I gathered myself together and returned to my car and assembled my gear.
Once I was geared up I walked downstream and took a seat on the old cedar log. I waited and watched the water, puttering with my gear as I waited for the sun to slip down to the tops of the pine trees that marked the western skyline. There was an occasional rise against the far bank but I was hoping for more than an occasional riser as twilight deepened.
As I sat on the log waiting I reflected on all the evenings in the past that I had set on this log with my fishing partner and waited for the action to begin. I remembered the large brown trout that lived in the deeper water along bank and how they provided hours of excellent angling opportunities on those long summer evenings so many years ago.
At dusk a reasonable spinner fall covered the water but only a few small fish rose to eat them. Back during the days when I fished this water on a weekly basis I would not have bothered to cast to these small fish. However, that had been a couple decades ago and from all the reports that I received from those that still fished this water these small fish were the rule rather than the exception.
Back at my car I stowed my gear and walked back to the edge of the water. The dusk had deepened into darkness and a small crescent moon cast its light over the stream. I had come back to visit an old friend and found that he was gone. Both the river and the one that had shared the old cedar log with me had vanished in the mists of time.
I received an email from one of our old contributors at FAOL, and he was commenting on the fact that he recently tried to contact a fellow fly tyer that he had known only to discover that he had passed away some time ago. Time had slipped away, contact had been lost, and plans that had been made years ago were never to be realized. Recently on the bulletin board there were some comments about the late Al Campbell and how some of those that had known him personally miss his presence.
If we live long enough the list of special people and special places that have been lost to the passage of time will increase. It's a reality that we not only lose special people in our lives but special places. These are places, times and occasions that we can never reclaim. When they are gone we always wish that we had known them better, spent more time with them, and let them know how important they have been in our lives.