excerpts from Casting Forward
FROM JOSHUA CREEK
The morning was cool, damp, and not yet fully awake as I stepped up to the river. A slight fog held just
above the water. The grass bent soft and wet beneath my footsteps, and the gray-skinned, ancient
cypress trees stood there watching, waiting for something to happen. I stood there, too, my fly rod in
hand, watching, waiting for something to happen—and it did.
I don’t know why it is that some of my best days on the river have begun with waking alone in the
darkness, truly alone, with that deep, empty feeling—that hollow aloneness that you cannot shake free
of. It had been some time since my service in the Marines, but years later, the ghosts came to call, and I
found myself afraid to sleep, knowing they would come back. A doctor helped me to chase away the
ghosts, but the feeling of emptiness remained. I guess sometimes surviving is your punishment. So, you
stand in the river, facing upstream with the water rushing down upon you as if it could somehow fill the
hollow emptiness—and somehow, it always does. So, it was one morning. I stood there, without even
casting and with no trout rising, and as the water rushed past me, I knew it was washing my burdens
behind me, swirling them downstream like the autumn leaves.
— Name, Title