Fly Fishing, Outdoor Safety: It’s a bitch getting old. That could suffice. Says it all. But, then I wouldn’t have anything to write. Random recollections: back pain, hip pain, joints tight, balance issues, tentative moves, a little mounting anxiety, you get there yes, but you still have to climb out.
Muscle pulls and injuries are seemingly normal, early on, if you play hard, work hard. They heal. Some linger. You deal, you wear them like a purple heart…been there, done that. But, later the purple hearts acquire a patina, crusty like coating of something more intrusive…Arthritis
We hear this word, I heard this word, and associated it with little, elderly women with the sadly gnarled fingers/knuckles of their hands. Poor girls. Such dignity while continuing forth. Well, the insidious ‘A’ word does not confine itself to little old hands. It creeps into joints and the spine, into those that are not that old.
Back to the river. As I stood atop the rise above the river, I remarked that the distance and pathway are almost always more cumbersome than it appears from atop. Those rocks are bigger than they look from above. The water is bigger, faster, less than you think from above. So, before you commit down over the edge make sure you size it up well before you make the decision to commit your body to the downward and lateral trek across those boulders.
The ankles, hips and back are tight. The reduced range of motion catches up with you. You commit to those steps out over deep, jagged holes. You reach and place the foot and feel restrictions you didn’t use to feel. The next step is not as fluid as you support your body in a tenuous position over a hole. It dawns on you that your body is tight. You also notice that when you stand upright for a moment you are a bit wobbly. Balance is impeded and you lurch this way and that. Not good. You reach out for the rocks, bent over, holding closer to those abrasive supports. No warm ups or stretching will do much for this reality. You best pick your routes or places to fish with care. The old Clint Eastwood admonition of ‘a man’s got to know his limitations’ is true.
Descending down, fly rod in hand is supposed to be exciting anticipation. A stalking of sort. Don’t let your limitations hinder you, plan ahead. Calculate your route and once you learn that those rocks are bigger than you realize, avoid those routes in the future. Leave it to the younger person that has a bit of Parkour hops in their steps. This is a reality moment that we all must accept. If you don’t, well you will be wearing a bigger purple heart.