Yes, I’ve watched thousands of folks launching all manner of floating craft at Elks Club while driving past that historic outpost. I’ve watched them laughing their way past me as they bounce happily down the creek while I’m walking my dog. I’ve watched them taking a break on the numerous sand bars while I try to tempt a rare wild fish. I’ve observed (and picked up) remnants in the wake of those who have made the trip. I’ve paddled rivers, lakes and oceans around the world from here to Timbuktu, but never the one in my own back yard! It’s almost a crime already…
If you’re a river runner, you watch the flows like a hawk, waiting for that optimal combination of water, weather and free time. Fisher-folks (there’s no great word that includes both sexes) are of like mind but may take it a bit further. If you’re like me, you are already a de facto weather man (or woman…). Even if you know what’s in store, you don’t let it sway you from your mission, you just prepare for it! Time for Plan B!
The scene has played out in the eyes of your mind countless times: you’re swinging your latest creation down through one of your favourite runs, a large flash is followed by a solid tug, and a rush of adrenaline. As the line starts peeling off the reel, your senses are sharpened. You feel secure knowing that you’ve checked your gear, cleaned and oiled your reel, tied on fresh leader and tippet. And now it’s happening. The connection between you and the fish is strong, as is the realization that you’ve longed for this connection for a long time. Perhaps too long. It is the connection you feel to your natural roots, and it fills you to your core.
The bitter wind blowing right through you as you tromp out to clear off your car windows are only a dim memory from… when? I’ve been coming to Tahoe to ski since the late 80’s and have fond memories of waking up to an extra two feet of fresh snow several times. I bet you can remember getting ‘stuck’ for an extra day when it happened on the last night of your trip? My rental was engulfed one year by almost 4 feet! The parking lot was one level – chest deep white. So you called work to say, ‘Well, we just can’t get out until they clear the roads (hang up, and then to your buddy)… So we might as well hit the hill and go back to work tomorrow…’
Like Jack Palance said in City Slickers, sometimes it only takes ONE thing to make you whole. And, although this does not necessitate a spiritual journey, you may discover one along the way. By picking ONE thing you want to go after, Life opens its arms (and your mind) to greater realities you never considered. And that leads to more spaces for your new curiosity, your zest for this wild and wonderful world we live in...
The clock ticks. Time marches on. Where did it go? How do you spend the time between now and then? New Year’s Eve is like a birthday for a lot of folks. It’s out with the old, in with the new. Some of us treat it like any other night and sleep through it. My folks are like that, ‘Oh my, is it New Year’s Day already…’ Some like to celebrate with vigor (Festival!)… Some like to pretend they’re Vikings. Since my teens, I’ve always leaned toward the latter category with the feeling that it’s good to take that step into the future with a positive attitude.
Pulsing with Life, there is an apparent gravitational effect at work. The holidays are tugging at your sleeve, spiraling toward a week of intended merriment. With winter resuming its tradition of crystalline-coated peaks and the loyal following of snow lovers, most of us residing on the planet celebrate this time of year (regardless of what you believe) in some special way.
I’ve been watching and waiting for a while, I think a lot of us have been… And now, it’s happening… As the parched lands seem to reach out to welcome the current drenching we’re getting, I welcome a similar saturation. Although normally it would already be snowing by this time of year, it’s suddenly too warm for snow. So we’ve got cold water. And that leads us to what I’m actually writing about today. Why, you say, would anyone get excited about cold water? Because… I’m talking about Tahoe’s newest brewery!
You can feel it in the air. Yesterday was dead calm. Today there’s a warm humidity blowing in on the wings of irregular gusts that now threaten to remove items of clothing from your body. Your solution is to add more layers, because in your bones, you can feel it. A storm is coming.
Do you remember the first time you heard someone mention Tahoe? I do. When I finally drove through here en route to San Francisco, I knew right away it was a place I wanted to visit again. What I did not know then was how much I would come to love it. The City by the Bay proved to hold much opportunity, but could not fulfill the desire to connect with the Lake and the surrounding mountains. Alpine vistas invaded my waking dreams, as if a fire had come to life inside.