Today, as I was reclined in my dentist’s chair, mouth agape, staring at the bright light and clutching my hands together, I listened to my dentist describe a recent four day float down the John Day River with friends and guides in pursuit of steelhead. He was giddy while probing my teeth.

He described his successful steelhead trip, the not so bad weather, the scenery and the camaraderie of his friends, the camp fires and stories. He was “ready to go again.” As I listened to him describe the adventure, I was struck by the smile on his face, the tone of his voice and his intent to soon plan another trip with his companions.

Fish Hard Cap Bucky
Hat by Deneki Outdoors, Modeled by SwittersB

Early this morning, before the dentist, I had enjoyed reading about a similar experience by John over at bibio55 Trout Fishing. There John described an end of season fly fishing outing with his good friends. Again, the tone was one of satisfaction and fond memories while fishing, visiting, dining and imbibing with good friends, and a warm fire.

I have always had a push/pull dynamic with fly fishing and company. On the one hand solitude and contemplation reign most supreme in my psyche while outdoors. On the other hand, I have often found myself alone, thinking, “this would be so cool to share right now”.

I find it hard to visit while fishing. That aside, self recrimination creeps in though…”lighten up” “there’s more to this moment than just fishing”. On and on it goes, until I am in the midst of good company, a relaxed mind and fine food and beverages…maybe a cigar or a briar.

Olive Back Bucky SB

Then the focus, the clarity comes easily and the company of close companions brings life’s priorities into focus. Besides who is going to witness that momentous fish you hook, take those pictures of you and show compassion when your stumble, trip and fall. There is something to be said for friendships honed over time, new acquaintances, and shared memories.