It’s hard to be in any moment and know what it means. This entire blog is devoted to just that concept. Any moment worth experiencing is going to be pouring over with more goodness and meaning than one would be able to process at the moment.
How many times did your grandparents or parents warn you about how fleeting time is? I can hear it now, “Enjoy it while it lasts because you won’t be young forever,” or “Enjoy them while they’re this little because babies don’t keep!”
As with anything, it comes and goes.
We recently sold a house we’ve been in for roughly six years. My wife and I loved that house for many reasons but the price and timing were right, so we left. It was the first house we both felt settled in as a married couple. It was a house that we both enjoyed. It was also the house that welcomed our first child home. These are hard things to give up no matter the price.
This isn’t necessarily about the house though, but the house certainly teaches us another hard-learned lesson about life.
It’s not the house that was so difficult to leave, but the life that was lived there. Walking out of the doors felt like walking away from the nursey my wife and I had put together, bathtimes with Chip or Christmas-time fireside evenings, as though all of those sweet memories and times spent together were staying with the house. The reality of it is much different.
We were always leaving regardless of where we were. Chip was not the same baby from day-to-day. Rachel was not the same wife, mother, professional as she was day-to-day, and I was not the same father, husband, or even fisherman.
Ideally, we were becoming better, but never the same.
It’s just that instead of waking up 15 years later and realizing it, we’re able to mark it by the time when we left the house that had given us so much.
George and East Yahtam are no different. The times spent fishing in the Alaska wilderness are no different. George’s passing in 2015 certainly marked the definitive moment in which those times were over, and it was not only obvious but very real that it could never be the same.
I recently received word that East Yahtam has been opened up to seasonal bear hunts by various guides. It wouldn’t shock me if fishing guides were there in the summers as well. It’s no longer what George had visited year after year and looked after so well for so long.
But in my mind and in my heart George will always be sitting Indian-style on the banks of East Yahtam’s honey hole fighting a salmon, letting it go, and casting back out into the pool for the next fish.