Fly fishing in Central Oregon is like coffee drinking in Italy. It’s everywhere and abundant. Tourists book trips months in advance and locals stake out their sites hours before daybreak.
I joined some girlfriends on a hot-sun, cold-water kind of day. It was our first ever fly fishing trip, and with no expectations, we drove past civilization and cell reception towards the Crooked River.
Our guide, a die-hard fly fisher and patient instructor, got us looking the part. Then, he carefully showed us the 1-2-3 cast. The lines dancing above our heads before deliberately laying down on the water.
For a field dominated by masculinity, the movement and rhythm was full of poetry and precision. Light and swaying and silent.
As we waded further into the current, the conversation churned towards the fly fishing culture. I asked our guide the longest he had waited to catch a fish. “78 days. I went 78 days this winter without catching a single fish.”
“Are you serious?!” I incredulously asked.
“Absolutely. But it’s not about the catching. It’s about the fishing.”
I was stunned. What compels a person to try and try and try again? Even after endless failure. Never-ending rejection.
Why not quit?
Like champagne bubbles floating to the top, hope is buoyant and beautiful and altogether necessary. It is the idea that things will get better. That there is a purpose and reason – even for the pain. Stephen Hawking said, “While there’s life, there is hope.” Because as soon as you lose hope, you give up. You stop trying, stop working, stop looking, stop feeling. You stop being.
At the end of our trip, we left with no fish. Not even a bite. But we all agreed that we wanted to come back. To stand in Nature’s veins, surrounded by wildlife, and smothered in serenity. Believing that there would be more fish. More bites. More somedays.
Hope is what keeps us holding on. Waiting for the good news, changed heart, better life. Hope, like a current, moves us. It reminds us that while change is the only constant, why not believe that the change will be for the better?
You can’t give up. Maybe it’s been 78 days. Maybe 78 years.
But what it, what if, everything changes tomorrow?