There was the kitchen that never once in my life had the utensils I needed to finish cooking a meal, a laundry room that felt secret and detached from the rest of the house, the horse barn, and the cast iron lawn statuary from decades past. And in the end there was a hospital bed in the living room, the whir of the oxygen tanks, night nurses, and an old man whose hand shook when I held it and couldn't recognize me any longer.
Above me, in stair-stepping pools of tea-colored water the river continues climbing towards the Continental Divide, a minor riverine extravagance below the greater extravagances of the mountains that chivvy and shove the shoreline back and forth between their feet.
I spent the better part of the summer fishing a very short, light fly rod and the change to a long nymphing rod meant some fast and dirty changes to how I approached a bank of leafless willows along Clear Creek.
The rod, I thought, looks far nicer than what I paid for. I had planned on receiving an unvarnished stick and instead got a rod that, at least as far as finish is concerned, looks as nice as some of the name brand rods that I have used in the past.
Winding hackle on a hook is a magic trick. Sleek rooster feathers become bristling guard hairs or buzzing wings while partridge or soft hen transforms into sweeping, pulsing, spidery legs. It's an elegant sleight of hand, fur and feather wound about a steel shank becomes a faux insect, an impressionistic rendering of fish food in miniature.
No one ever added a thumbs up emoji to a picture of you compiling monthly reports or swilling your fourth cup of terrible office coffee. These things are simply what bridges the gaps between our opportunities to do the things that we actually want to be doing.
From my right I heard Jeff swearing softly. I waved at him and offered the universal, “What’s wrong?” sign with raised hands and hunched shoulders. He shook his head and pointed out towards the middle of the lake. The circle of a rise spread and faded. A second rise, ten feet further out into the lake, spread fresh ripples and I could just see the strike on the surface.
Jeff and I settled into searching for greenbacks. We stood on top of the cutbank near the top of the trail, the only place where our backcasts were clear, or a few feet off-shore to quarter our casts along the banks, tracing a drop off where we hoped cruising greenbacks congregated.