When Barebones Living kitted me out with a few things and asked me to go on an adventure, I immediately asked my brother if he’d like to take me out fly fishing with him. It’s not something we had ever done before but it seemed like it was about time. Here’s a little write-up I did for Barebones on our afternoon by the river.
For me, being outside is an escape. An escape from the mundane stress of every day life, the ever growing to-do list, and particularly for me, the ever pressing thoughts of the future. It is more of a feeling than a place - somewhere that pushes aside all the fears and the questions, somewhere that makes you feel like none of those things matter anymore because they brought you to this feeling, this place.
From a young age, my dad instilled in me a love the outdoors. A love for the quiet hush of wind through the trees and ferns, the sure feeling of grasping rock underneath your hands as you scramble over a boulder, and the serenity of falling asleep in a tent under a hundred million stars. While I might not have appreciated or understood it as a child, I can say that now I understand it completely and I understand him a little more as well. It has enthralled me and captured me, much like it did to him years ago, pulling me further and further outside my comfort zone and into that escape.
That escape silences the worries, the doubts, the insecurities, and the fears that live in the back of your mind and emerge during the quiet hours at home. The simple act of being outside, regardless of what I am doing, compresses everything down to the question, “Are you happy - right here, right now?” and if the answer is yes, everything else is no longer important. And suddenly, you wonder why you aren’t spending your entire life in the pursuit of these moments where you feel truly fulfilled.
My brother Ryan and I both share a love for the immersing ourselves in nature that has stemmed from our dad, although we taken it and molded it to ourselves. For me, it is hiking in the alpine and conquering the challenge of distance, elevation, and my own mind. For him, it is fly fishing in a river or lake and understanding every aspect of the ecosystem, deciphering the signs into where and when he will cast his fly. But despite our shared fixation of the outdoors, we had never actually spent time together learning about the other’s passion.
And so, one afternoon after we had both finished work, Ry and I set out to a local river so I could experience what his escape meant to him. A quiet but swift river dyed turquoise by glacial meltwaters, wind gently rustling through the leaves, and a feeling that you were miles away from everyone else. It was familiar to me. I watched intently as he deftly cast his line with a look of concentration on his face. I asked questions about why he was using a certain fly, what made him choose that exact spot to cast it, how did he know that there were bull trout in the river. It felt like when we were young kids again - my older brother kindly explaining his fascination and me, the little sister, wide-eyed and eagerly absorbing everything he had to say.
We sat on the smooth river rocks and snacked on homemade bread and salami and cherries. We were able to talk effortlessly, catching up and learning the things about each other that we should’ve already known but never bothered to ask. I realized that although I’ve always had a close relationship with my brother, I hadn’t had a one-on-one talk with him in years. There’s something different about talking to your sibling without the noise of a restaurant, the typical family questions, or the chatter of strangers around you. The conversation feels more natural and genuine, like you’re getting to know them properly for the first time in a while instead of the usual small talk that happens at family dinners.
I realized that although I might not be picking up a fly fishing to go out on my own anytime soon, I would gladly tag along with Ry anytime he went out just to have that quiet peaceful place to escape the city and enjoy the outdoors together.