This long Labor Day weekend's been tough.
I'll be blunt, I'm homesick. I live in Florida now, but it's not my home. I may be here in body, but I haven't arrived yet in soul.
I miss my friends. As high school became college, college became work, and work became a life of toil, my inner circles may have changed over time, but there was always somebody close by. Even more were probably (yet unfortunately) taken for granted. My relatively recent passion for fishing created many additional opportunities to wet a line, share some laughs, and knock back some beers with other like-minded people; it's a shame they were short lived from the standpoint of proximity.
Don't get me wrong. I like my new house and we moved down here because it was what was best for the family. What's not to like about 5 bedrooms, a gourmet kitchen, and a 3 car garage? Who can complain about a slightly larger salary with a significantly less cost of living. Our community is quiet and we are within a 15 minute drive from pretty much anything you could want from a retail or recreational standpoint. Boo hoo, I know.
While I'm getting used to the constant heat of Florida, where it's still in the mid-nineties now in September, I have to admit that I miss the concept of cool. Not man-made, crank the knob to high cool, but natural, feel the crisp breeze on your cheeks cool. I don't like to be the guy that complains. That's not who I am. I'll give anything an honest effort. But shouldn't the leaves on the trees start changing colors soon? Sigh.
The worst thing is that I've seemingly lost my day of weekend psychotherapy. I'm not sure if I simply haven't unpacked that box yet in the post move clutter, but to be honest, the fishing has just been frustrating. Most likely, just like yours, my work can be stressful, mentally draining, and simply tiring, if not all three at once. That's why a holiday like Labor Day can be so rewarding. A morning alone, with rod and (sometimes) reel was all that was needed to release the pent up negative energy and cleansing myself for the week ahead. Fish were never a given, nor always the purpose; the experience was one of realignment.
I could probably make it easier on myself by just breaking down, grabbing the spinning rod and getting some bait. That's what people do down here...seemingly off the side of every bridge, jetty, or muddy bank reachable by foot or boat. They're everywhere. But I'm stubborn. I like my fly rods too much. After a brief flirtation with some water within the boundaries of my neighborhood, I'm finding myself drawn to the ocean, not because I want to catch saltwater fish, but because fishing in still water just doesn't hold my attention. No offense to any pond jockeys out there.
I like to connect with the body of water I'm fishing. I like to try to learn and read the currents. Find and probe that slack water. Creep along stealthily while sighting the target. Be on the move. Feel the cool pass over my feet and through my legs. I want the water to talk and play and fight back, to be an active participant. Shit, I like to wear waders and a long sleeved shirt. While the ocean and inshore marshes don't necessarily provide all of that, at least there's the chatter of the waves and the leisurely dance of the tides to keep my mind somewhat in motion.
Those damn ponds just lie there. Sleepy. Stagnant. Disinterested. You can say I'm doing it wrong, but I don't think there's much you can do to persuade me differently.
It's clear a change is needed. I need a kick start that the move alone didn't provide. Right now, I'm just not sure where it's going to come from. I could easily (and probably will) either schedule a trip back to Pennsylvania or the Smoky Mountains some time in October to get a coldwater fishing fix. Unfortunately, that won't mend my long term therapeutic needs.
So back in Florida, I'm going to try some saltwater fly fishing classes, perhaps hire a guide for an afternoon, maybe even join a club. Nothing against my close social media-based friends, but sometimes you just need to be in the same room as the person you're talking to. A firm handshake and eye contact may be a lost art, but they mean a tremendous amount. We'll see how that goes. Anything has got to be an improvement.