Friday 6 July 2018

Summoned by Bells

Another fishing season begins…June’s Glorious 16th seems to come round quicker these days just as life’s turning does and the way I notice the changing of the seasons and mark each coming and going on the previous years experience – the joy of reaching a significant age maybe? I just seem to notice it more now – once I felt and looked the youngest of our merry band who meet at this time, as we have always done for over thirty years, and now we sort of look similar – musty, creaking like our cane with age but in our hearts we are young and still miss those who had the happy times with us but are no longer here. We toast them each year and laugh heartily as we recount wonderful tales of joy and friendship.

I have been to the place that calls me so often, at all ages, in all weathers, physically, in my dreams, often alone, with my friends, some of my closest friends and we did realise at the time we were living the dream as we cast our baited hooks for myths and legends. These days it’s just the being there that’s enough. Comfortable in each other’s company and comfortable just listening, sitting, watching and noticing. We almost get enveloped by the place and are growing old like its ancient trees that have witnessed so much of us. Boy and man.

I wouldn’t change the way I see in the new season for anything. I missed one year in pursuit of another quarry and my capture became my wife much to the amusement of my pals – back then as I watched the sparkling sea from our small cliff top tent I toasted them and sent good wishes on the wind. It stays with you wherever you are and with the closing of the eyes you can be walking, watching each footfall in front of the other as you creep quietly over centuries of fallen leaves along a fisherman’s path so familiar you could walk it blindfolded.

I fished last night at another place I hold dearly and have written of fondly in my anglers journal – it was so peaceful and quiet – a sense of quiet I had not experienced for a while. It felt like I was the only person alive, but perhaps not. The hum of insects and fizzing of fish were the only indication that this scene was moving and not still.

My mind wandered to friends who I have shared such days with before and are now fishing more celestial waters – are they here on the light warm breeze? Do they see the float as I do? I like to think so. As the kettle finally boiled and smoke drifted across my pond the wind brought with it the sound of church bells as soft as a hand on my shoulder. It felt reassuring.The float twitched and slid away as floats sometimes have a liking to do on a summer evening…