In a world where so much emphasis is given to work, progress, profit, and accomplishments, it is so important to remember the human need for rest and leisure. Perhaps this was one of God’s reasons for the third commandment: Remember the sabbath day – keep it holy. (Exodus 20:8)
We are to remember always our relationship with God is at the heart of our wholeness as human beings. If all we do is “work”, even if that work is for God, we can easily lose our way. Stress and weariness can set in, and relationships can and will suffer. God has filled heaven and earth with His glory, and He wants us to enjoy Him and His creation. All of the beauty of creation is a part of how God provides for us in His love.
Since my retreat in July, it did not take long for the demands of ministry to quickly require a great amount of my own time and attention once again. So, it was providential that one of our young priests strolled through the office earlier this week. He was on his way fishing. I mentioned to him that I had an invitation to float the North Platte out of Saratoga, and I was looking for someone to go with me. He quickly offered that he was free on Friday!
So, Thursday evening, Fr. Steve Titus and I left Cheyenne to spend the night in the Snowy Range. On the way there, we stopped to watch a couple of moose feeding in a willow bottom. We then noticed a young elk calf at the back of the field near the tree line. No sooner had we identified that little guy, and we were treated with a half dozen elk running through the field…the young calf quickly followed. It was a beautiful sight. The drive and evening together provided for some good conversation as well.
We were up early on Friday as we needed to arrive at Hack’s Tackle & Outfitters by 7:00. It was abotu 35 degrees when our day began, with clear blue skies. Once again, there was good sightseeing on the drive into Saratoga, with antelope and mule deer moving in the early morning. Connie and Mike Patterson at Hack’s Tackle had everything ready for our day trip on the North Platte, including our guide, Jeremy, who did a stellar job.
Our excursion began with about an hour drive to Bennet Peak, our entry point into the River. It was a gourgeous day. One of the beautiful things of these float trips is the up close opportunties to observe wildlife. We saw deer, moose, eagles, geese, ducks, minks, mamotts, and of course, trout! God in His providence and wonder so marvelously distracts and entertains us with all this beauty, that I never once thought about work. Of course, not having a cell phone along helped! I was told there was a $50 fine if a cell phone rang anytime during the day.
I will simply allow the picures to tell the rest of the story, however, there is one story no picture can tell, and sadly, no picture was taken. Friday was a “big fish” day. I had the good pleasure of several good “runs”; a few got away, but two did not. There is a picture of the second largest of the day, a 19″ Brown Trout. He fought more than the other, but was generous enough to remain in the boat long enough for a picture. The big catch of the day, a 26″ Brown Trout rolled off the top of the cooler as we were measuring him, before we got our picture. He created so much excitement, our poor guide had to anchor the boat for a while to regain his composure! Fr. Titus was also enjoying the moment. I guess I am still a “Wyoming fly-fishing rookie” because I did not quite appreciate the magnitude of the moment…but it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
So, gang, before summer slips away, get out there. Do what you enjoy most. If you do not have any such thing…find it! Life has many demands, and leisure is just one of them, but perhaps one of the most important. Enjoy life, and let God shower His glory upon you!