Roger Bachman on the River of Life


River of Life – Roger Bachman


As I pass my 88th birthday and have a few brain cells still working, I have been pondering what I believe life is all about.   Here are some thoughts.

Someone shot this photo of me at the oars of our old drift boat at the Deschutes.  It is one symbol of my life.  I am on my favorite river, which we have to cross getting to and from our fishing camp.  I use muscle power to row the boat across the current, which is like life.  The current keeps going as it has for millions of years, and I have to navigate it by controlling the boat.  Most of the time the crossing is successful. But each crossing is temporary.  If I screw up, the current sweeps me past the landing on the other  side.  Then I have to figure out the mistakes I made, and try again.

Life is like that.   You think you are in control of your own boat, but the river of life is constantly changing.  The river is full of living things of all kinds.  One purpose of my life is to protect that river life so it can continue to sustain itself – forever.  We “use” that life by enjoying contact with its fish through flyfishing.  The web of life that sustains the fish is very complex and often difficult to see or understand.  We use a tiny bit of the water – to drink, to wash, to cook our food – before it returns harmlessly to the river.  We touch that life through fishing, and in the process remind ourselves of our obligation to preserve it, to renew the spirit that counteracts all the junk of our city life.  And the web of river life lives on.

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