There is a line in an old Rolling Stones song that says, “Time waits for no one, and it won’t wait for me.”
Time may not wait for anyone, but I can certainly attest to the fact that it has an uncanny ability to sneak up on a person.
There was a time, not so very long ago, when I was proud to say that I walked with a certain quickness in my step, especially when I was heading towards a trout stream somewhere to cast a line.
However, as with all of us, it would seem that my step has slowed somewhat over the years. I now find myself wanting to stop every now and then along the way to the stream, just to sit for a moment on a rock to catch my breath.
Sometimes, when I’m sitting there, listening to the sound of autumn leaves rustling in the wind, when the light is streaming down through the canopy above, I find my thoughts drifting back to autumn days now long ago and my old dog Duff. She was my friend and my fishing partner, the likes of which I will probably never see again. The two of us could spend a whole day fishing and never get tired. She was always willing to make just one more cast in hopes of one more bite.
As a much younger man, I remember standing on the bank of the Adams River one time, thinking about the salmon run, remembering the stories my grandfather use to tell about how the river would literally turn red with all the spawning salmon in it. My grandfather always seemed particularly old to me – older and wiser.
It is me who has become older now, older but not really any the wiser.
I don’t feel that old though. I just don’t shave as often as perhaps I should, in part, I guess, so that I don’t have to look in the mirror quite as often. It could be said that I am now in the autumn of my years. Where does the time go?
One thing that I do know is that autumn has always been my favourite time of the year. I like all the colours. Sometimes, as autumn nears, I cannot help but feel a sense of sadness and longing, especially when I look up and see a flock of wild geese flying overhead, or when I’m sitting out in my boat breathing in the morning air, waiting for a fish to strike and watching the mist rise from the water’s surface.
I use to enjoy just sitting out there with my old dog, listening to the sound of the water lapping against the hull. In silence there is sound if you listen hard enough – like the sound of that small gurgle on the surface of the water when a trout rises to sip in an insect sitting on the water. I have even learned to cast my line to that sound sometimes rather than to the sight of a fish. I have learned to truly appreciate all the wonders of nature that surround me when I am sitting in my boat, and I have come to appreciate each season in its turn. I have seen many a season change.
I know that all things change and that change is inevitable. I would even like to think that I am the sort of fellow that is willing to embrace change.
One major change that has happened in my life is that I will be retiring from the newspaper.
Where did the time go? I will, however, continue to write my column for as long as people are willing to read it. I will also be starting a new career as a storyteller performing live on stage.
As one door closes another one opens. I look forward to seeing you in the audience.
Editor’s note: An open house party in honour of James Murray will be held Thursday, Aug. 28, beginning at 5 p.m., at the former Table 24 restaurant location in the Old Courthouse. All are welcome.