As I write this, I can feel the stress slipping away. I’m in the company of a good friend, and I’ve been advised by my very best friend on this planet to go and find my smile again. I’m airborne, somewhere over Wyoming en route to Saskatoon, where tomorrow, I’ll be a short charter flight away from Lake Athabasca far to the north, where the pike swim.
The irony is that I didn’t realize my smile was missing, but then, I’m the worst judge of that sort of thing. I’ve started a new job within the same outfit, and it presents new challenges—nothing I can’t handle, but … new. I desperately want to succeed, but changing gears from on-the-ground action to high-flying strategy isn’t coming as easily for me as I would like. Right now, I’m grinding the stick against the flywheel, hoping it slides into place really soon.
This will be one of “those” trips—it has the potential to be epic (but all trips have at least some of that). It’s purely for fun, although I intend to write about my experiences and share with the world that raw wonder of catching northern pike on a fly. That’s a no-brainer. I don’t go anywhere and come back without a story to tell. But, given the company, and the setting, I’m sure I’ll find my smile. The challenge is keeping it, and taking it home with me to share with my family and my friends.
I’ve been told there are folks asking, “ What’s wrong with Chris?” That’s, uh, not good. Not good at all.
And when it becomes a topic of conversation when I’m not around … well, that’s just unfortunate, and, truth be told, that’s pretty telling. What exactly is wrong with me? What is the problem? Am I just stressed out? Or is this problem deeper, more base, more at the foundation of my being?
This is heavy shit.
But I’ve started my “vacation” just right. I’m on my second double G&T (it’s still spritzer season, after all), and my buddy and I have already worked through the latest filthy jokes that we compile and share for moments like these. I’ve given my phone to an adorable little girl sitting in the seat in front of me, and she’s playing Angry Birds like there’s no tomorrow. I found my smile. Now… can I keep it?
Time will tell … the fish of the north await. Maybe they can paste the smile on permanently.