I had a bad dream the other night.
It happens once in a while, but most of the time mine are so nonsensical I either forget or dismiss them. As much as I’d like to dream about epic specifics – a 70-pound king salmon, Bill Heavey writing the foreword for the book I have yet to write, John Gierach taking me to his secret spot – it never works.
In David James Duncan’s, “The River Why,” the protagonists’ younger brother, Bill Bob, surrounds himself with “relics from the day’s adventures” in an attempt to feed his dreams. He calls them “Dreefee.”
Unlike Bill Bob, I don’t place parts of my day next to my bed. I’ve tried, but it made no difference. My REM cycle is filled with the day’s detritus, haphazardly assembled in fragmented pieces like a pre-schooler’s art project. It almost never makes any sort of sense.
The other day, I had a discussion with a person who had a bad trip to Disneyland which is ironic because Disneyland is the happiest place on Earth – to those who have never been to Alaska with a fly rod when the salmon are running.
That night, my brain decided to take the Disney misery, pair it with fishing and create a rare vivid nightmare in which I both was both fishing with malevolent strangers and acting like one myself. Of everything that’s out there, all the fishing, all the people, all the great outdoor memories at my brain’s disposal – it chose the terrifying notion that there is such a thing as a miserable fishing trip. I awoke sweating.
I decided to make the most of the situation since I couldn’t (or dared not) go back to sleep and wrote a tongue-in-cheek instructional on how to have a terrible time while angling:
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