As some of you may know, I had prostate cancer last year (now in remission). Last summer I attended a fly fishing retreat in Montana for men with cancer run by Reel Recovery.
The Montana retreat was a wondrous and life changing for me, but also emotionally challenging. During the three days I was there, I scribbled some observations on scraps of paper. A couple of memories were especially poignant: While sitting in on the heart-wrenching “courageous conversations” that we had each day, I would stare out the picture windows of the lodge at the Absaroka mountain range, imagining them as cathedrals of stone.
During the closing ceremony, when this band of new friends was breaking up, thunder echoed off the Gallatin Range like the bass drums of heaven as it opened its gates; I had to wonder how many of these tough, brave men had made their last cast.
The next day tears ran down my cheeks as I compiled my notes in the restaurant at Chico Hot Springs Resort in Emigrant, Montana (my waitress was perplexed). A few days later, I sent excerpts to all the attendees and volunteers at the retreat. I did not know what I had. Was it any good? I wanted to hear what they had to say. The feedback was very positive and they encouraged me to publish it. The article was sent off to various outdoor and fly fishing magazines, but the initial response from them was tepid or just plain ole crickets. I had just about given up when the Big Sky Journal contacted me last weekend to say they loved the article and wanted to publish it! I am very excited by this news; Big Sky Journal is a beautiful, prestigious journal covering the northern Rocky Mountain area, but is distributed all across the country. I could not have hoped for a better venue. The article will run in the spring fly fishing edition of the Big Sky Journal in 2021. It will be titled “Mending on the Yellowstone”
I hope to do more with Reel Recovery. I may attend the fly fishing retreat for men with cancer that will take place in October in Grand Lake Stream, Maine. The plans for this have not firmed up yet, but I would like to be part of this program again, this time as a reporter. It is my way of giving back to Reel Recovery.