The Cure Is Salt.
The afternoon mist pours heavy through the tall pine, avalanching down the banks, grabbing my once black boots now cloaked in mud.
My father’s anticipation of getting the jig on the pole is a sight to see and can be spotted from miles away. There is a faint shake to his weathered hands as he sets his line. I picture the things he has built with those hands, the people he has lent them to, and the ingrained reverence. With a quiet gesture and a soft swoosh, the jig flies through the air, cur-plunk, into the murky green pool.
I sit, patient and observant, coveting every sense: A sharp smell of sphagnum moss, numbness in my fingers and toes, and a vision of my dad immersed in bliss. My eyes begin to ache and pool up with reflection. I recollect on the surpassed years that feel eons ago, each one carved by his lessons: What I would give to learn it all over again.
Each of his casts intentional and full of particular skill, like an artist slowly moving a paintbrush to achieve the look and craftsmanship they are known for. Shortly after his first plummet, the line gently shakes and my father’s ears perk up. He swiftly begins to turn the reel counterclockwise, tick…tick, tick, building up louder and louder, until the dial is at a forte spin. He gives his second-in-command the orders to grab the net. “Easy does it, easy does it.” he says, “He’s a big one, and he’s a fighter.” Agog and arms shaking, I await his command, net in hand. “Go, Molly!” I spear the silver piping deep into the algae coated abyss- quickly, precisely, and down. Maybe the net was a familiar sight to this fish or maybe a long waited moment for the bleary salmon. Feeling the fish’s weight, I take on the piteous final fight remaining in its paraphyletic body.
The moment I pulled the salmon out of the emerald Oregon river and into the air spotted skies, I was cured. The world stopped and pain subsided. My mind was overcome with memory and my heart topped off with joy. I bottled this feeling and tucked it away, never knowing when I would be back, never a guarantee our favorite fishing spot would be there, always a question if there would be fish to catch. This utopic afternoon with nature will never be forsaken. This time with my father- a token chord in life’s composition, humming vividly.