Webster defines Friendship as:
- One attached to another by affection or esteem
- One that is not hostile
- A favored companion…
I still remember meeting you in the HR processing line at the National Park Service headquarters in June of 2003. You seemed to be my age, liked rock climbing, and we were both new to the job of becoming National Park Rangers which became the title of how friends and family ultimately defined us. Though you made it your career, I left after 2016 and to this day people still call me, “Ranger.”
Over the years to follow you and I climbed in Joshua Tree, sailed, drank beers, but then you left for a brief time (2-3 years) to pursue other ventures back east and took a hiatus from rangering.
During this time I traded in the spinning rod for a fly rod. I began chasing trout in the mountains and had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I remember hooking my head with bad cast, using dry flies in the winter, and not quite sure how to cast with shrubs behind me (I still remember when I saw a fisherman roll cast for the first time….game changer).
Fast Forward In Time
In 2010 you missed the mountains, the scenery, the rivers & streams and made your way home. I got excited, because my friend was back!
You had some experience fly fishing and you took me out. Do you remember that day on that small stream? You showed me a nymph known as the Bird’s Nest, you told me that my loud wading and splashing in the water was horrible, you told me to move to a better location for me to cast and so on. You were tough and a brutally honest teacher or friend, but you did this so I’d improve.
But what I also learned from you was the art of patience. You taught me to observe my surroundings, fish efficiently even if that means changing the entire set-up, how to make the most of a day when we get “skunked”, and you taught me how to become a better friend. You net my fish, I’ll net yours.
You and I have gone through tough times too. The day you learned your brother would be a paraplegic, the day my mom died, and the many friends we’ve lost through sports such as climbing and base jumping. In my saddest of times I found comfort and true peace fishing with you on the river.
We’re experiencing tough times today. School closures, events postponed or cancelled, businesses taking precautions to protect their employees and patrons…..
I’d be lying to you if I said I’m not worried. With proper hygiene, caring for one another, and practicing the art of patience I know we will get through this together.
I remember in the 1994 Northridge earthquake (my high school in Ventura County got rocked and closed down for two months) when people were really nervous, that the community and it’s resources shined. I met neighbors helping neighbors, strangers comforting strangers, even In&Out came through with a large mobile truck handing out burgers. I was blown away by the communities response and its sincere kindness.
Though today is different circumstances, I’d expect the community of cities, states, nations, and the world to come together. I’m already seeing this in our community. For instance, Jason owner of the Portland Fly Shop sent this out in regards to helping out seniors and those who cannot get out so easily for groceries;
If you’re good to go, but know a family member or neighbor who doesn’t have anyone available to make a run to the grocery store for them, please pass on the info.
We’re all in this together. Good, bad, or indifferent. Whether this thing gets huge, or fizzles out in a couple weeks, we can at least get you fed until it gets worked out.
Jason summed it up beautifully.
As we together navigate uncharted territory remember to take a bearing every now and then to get a sense of direction. Follow direction: wash your hands, distance yourself, and protect those with underlying health issues.