The blog’s name grabbed my attention, standing out amongst a blogroll of 20 names. “Zonker’s Fishing Blog” it read; something about “zonker” appealed to me, maybe because the zonker is such a deadly streamer and the name is, well, fishing-cool.
So I clicked the blog link and got hit between the eyes with something one does not expect to read in the fly fishing blogosphere:
An Update to Keep My Blog from Being Deleted (Tuesday March 10, 2009)
“At least I assume that if you don’t post for awhile you might just be dropped from the free blogspots. Anyway, sadly this isn’t a fishing post. I’m still dealing with “that awful disease,” cancer. The kidney cancer has metastasized to my lungs and now my brain. They tell me that the lungs are still treatable and the brain is operable, so I’m not checking out just yet as far as I know. Hospital time and then home recovery just really slows down the fishing aspirations. Nice to go back in free moments and review the trips though. In that sense the blog has been worthwhile to me even if there isn’t much action right now. Maybe my one or two total readers might find something worthwhile here, too. Don’t want to sound too morbid though. I am a dedicated Christian and am confident in the future, no matter what it brings”.
And one post back:
Long Absence (Thursday, December 11, 2008)
“It seems like a long time since I’ve added to my blog. In early September I was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer which had metastasized to my lungs. On September 19th I went under the knife for a full left radical nephrectomy. I’m still quite sore from the surgery but am gaining strength daily. A CT scan earlier this week showed that the spots in my lungs seem to be stable at the moment – and quite small. I don’t know what the future holds but I may be on some kind of chemo at some point. Until then I hope to get some fishing done whenever possible. Perhaps I’ll get a few posts up”.
The post prior to this one was made in June, 2008. It featured some nice-sized carp taken from area ponds. Further back were more posts, mainly about carp fishing but with some on steelhead, trout, and an innovative float rig, all well-written with good photos.
“Zonker” was Dave in real life, a man passionate about flyfishing, a husband, father, and grandfather. Reading the comments made on his blog, I learned he passed away not long after making his last post, the aftermath of the surgery for the tumors on his brain. I shut the computer down after reading that, feeling helpless, hollow and empty.
Our lives are pebbles cast in a pond. The ripples reach shores near and far. The near shores are those we know – the distant shores are the lives never known, but touched nonetheless, and forever changed.
“All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated…As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness….No man is an island, entire of itself…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” John Donne