You’re intently studying the river and feeding a few sipping trout in a foamy seam along the bank of The Missouri River. Your focus is sharp, the excitement level is high, and the beauty of your surroundings overwhelms the senses; everything unimportant to the moment fades into the background. Suddenly, a golden eagle flies overhead casting a shadow over the lazily rising brown trout you’re attentively examining. For its own safety, the trout instinctually stops rising. The eagle put it down, at least for the moment.
While awaiting the brown to resume its feeding rhythm you take a quick glance toward your watch, the short hand is approaching the 5 and the long one is aiming somewhere toward the bottom. Inevitably you’re late, again. Dinner at home is supposed to be served promptly at five and there is no way you’ll make it there in time, your wife is going to be furious. You’re already dreading the phone call where you have to explain, once again, how you have succumbed to the phenomenon known as river time.
For many of us, river time is a commonality of life. When we say we will be home at five it really means seven, or eight if the fish are rising. No matter how hard we try, time just seems to get lost when we are out on the river. There is just something about the sound of moving water, the beauty of places we fish, and the motion of casing a fly that transports the mind into another universe. Anyone who spends time on the river is probably already familiar with this feeling; for those who have yet to experience this phenomenon read below, your time will come.
River Time: [riv-er /tīm/] n.; pl. 1. the indefinite progress of losing existence with the normal timeframes people keep using a clock; typically taking place on a river when fly fishing is involved. 2. a point in time that can not be measured using hours and minutes.