On the shore of the Bow River near Canmore, Alta., Rob Russell assembles his fishing pole.
Except for the odd helicopter passing overhead, it is quiet here; only the sounds of the birds break the silence. It’s just what Russell needs to settle his mind and body.
“It’s just the perfect place for me to sit, be calm, and I don’t have to focus on anything, I can just fish,” Russell says.
Moments like this are essential for the 39-year-old, whose world was upended by a serious head injury last fall.
He was riding his bicycle to his work in downtown Calgary, and “as I was coming in, approaching the building and heading down the ramp, one of those industrial garage doors came down on top of my head.”
Russell was left with a severe concussion — and all that comes with it. Paralyzing headaches, slurred speech, confusion and memory problems.
Rob Russell stands on the banks of the Bow River, near Canmore, Alta., It’s a favourite fishing spot. (Dave Rae/CBC)
Over the past few months, as some of the physical symptoms eased, these trips to fish in the mountains have become an essential part of Russell’s therapy.
Little did he know one trip, on April 17, would change his journey.
Russell walks the shore looking for the precise spot where something odd caught his attention. He points to a spot on the shoreline that is covered in brush,
“I noticed something shiny in the water,” he recalls. “I could tell it was a vase or an urn.”
He wondered if…