One of the rivers I fish holds a secret that is guarded well by those who discover it. There is a spot where the trees and undergrowth seem to create a barrier to travel any further. However, if you are willing to fight your way past the first three or four yards of this tangled mess, you will find clear walking to a spot that is just amazing. I am pretty sure that this spot is unknown to most because over the six or so years that I have fished it, I have yet to meet anyone and there isn't a worn path. This spot is teeming with trout on most days during the winter season, and is my go to when
the weather is fully engaged with chilly temperatures. As soon as the air warms and the color green seems to appear overnight, the fish are gone. Sometimes timing is everything.
Discovering these tucked away gems is something to be cherished, and to a select few, perhaps shared. Those to whom the information is given, must be in a close circle of friends, and even then, you worry about the safety of your discovery.
I have traveled this same path with my written words.
For a multitude of years I have kept a journal. I don't write in it every day, but most weeks will find me adding something. Journaling wasn't something that someone suggested that I do, I just felt the need and did it. The only ones who knew about it were my family, but they weren't surprised. Writing has been a part of who I am for most of my life, but just like my fishing spot, it was a secret. Words for me were a hidden place where I could go and none could follow, and once I entered into it, a new world awaited. A world of my own creation that gave me a freedom that most would not understand. So I kept it to myself.
When I was six, I wrote my first piece. It was a ten or so page effort (with illustrations) about the life of a little guy who was a cowboy. Not the great American novel to be certain, but within it a seed was sewn.
In elementary school, I wrote short stories about aliens, monsters, super heroes, ghosts. And once, with much trepidation, I read one to my class during show and tell. I didn't realize it at the time, but I held a secret that I was longing to share. I held a need to see it received and accepted by others.
Then came the novels. I have written three. Not once did I attempt to publish. The people in these books were real to me and I guarded them, keeping them locked away safe and sound on a floppy disc and a hard copy in my night stand. It was as if my thoughts were that if I did not subject them to rejection, then they could just go on being who I though they should be.
There came a moment though, when passion and skill met. That meeting changed everything for me.
The first time I wrote about fly fishing, a short essay that I posted on a message board, the response from my friends was overwhelming. So, I wrote another. Eventually every fishing trip brought an 800 word essay so I started this blog. Still unsure about freeing my secret, but my comfort level found within the subject matter gave me the strength to open up the undergrowth and let whoever wanted to to step inside and find the magic.
The blog then brought me to Yellowstone, and it was not until that point that I really looked at myself as a writer. To win that trip not only took me to a location I had always dreamed of, it took me to a place that I had tried for years to hide from myself. It took me to my purpose, my skill, my dream, my passion.
There are things that just happen. We enter into this life with a certain skill set that if used, and allowed to grow, will show us a clear path that we are to take. That path may be hidden, guarded, protected, but in the end the only way to the point in your life where you find yourself as you are meant to be is to push through even though there is no path for you to take. To find your way through the rough stuff. To endure the scratches with thorns tugging at you in an effort to hold you back. To find that open spot. To find the place where things are much better than you ever imagined they could be.