I'm sitting here comfortably sipping my coffee this morning while reading some headlines and surfing my social media.
The Colorado flooding seems to dominate both. This seems to be unfolding a bit like hurricane Katrina- first some reports here and there of flooding, then dramatic pictures and video, then the realization that the region is still in the grips of a full-scale catastrophe and not just a passing flood.
And I have to stop myself from wondering how this will affect the fishing. It's just not important right now.
I think of my (online) friends Erin Block and Jay Zimmerman. By all reports their home up in Coal Creek is cut off from the outside world. They still apparently have power and internet, but last I heard the roads are impassible. I guess I'll do a little worrying for them and wonder aloud what will happen if the roads are gone and they have to leave in order to not be isolated there. This worry may be a little premature, but it's already reality for many communities there in the mountains. Some have been simply washed away along with the roads in and out. Their recovery will be measured in years, not days or weeks.
I've been discussing several controversies lately in the fly world with my friends- issues over secret spots, methods and conservation issues. Fly fishing is a fantasy land of little fiefdoms, fan clubs, cliques, sects, gear nerds, high priests and devotees. It's the perfect escape from issues like genocide, war, terrorism, famine, starvation, natural disaster, political repression and upheaval. Nothing soothes all that away like the sound of running water and the smell of watercress, while deciding which fly to tie on.
But when one of the world premiere fly fishing destinations, and one of the most beautiful places on the planet, is hit by such devastation, my thoughts are not on the fish and fishing. There will be time for that later- much later. For now my concern is for my friends whose lives are being rearranged. It's for the lives lost, the others who are still awaiting rescue, their homes and livelihoods destroyed, and I think of the years it will take to rebuild and recover, with the knowledge that some things will never be the same.
It also reminds me that there is a disaster every day somewhere in the world. Wars that don't seem to end, famines, other natural disasters, human stupidity that causes endless and needless suffering, and when I think of this I'm no longer inclined to debate whether Tenkara is really fly fishing or whether catching steelhead on the swing is the only "pure" way to fish for them.
To my friends in Colorado- stay safe and I wish you the best. In the face of disaster I don't know what else to say.