when i step into one of these fields it reminds me of the feeling i'd get standing on a jetty or on a beach with a fly rod in my hand. the vastness seems too great, the odds too slim, to cross paths with your quarry. the only way i know to make the things work in your favor is to show up more often then not. it's through shear persistence or maybe it's stubbornness, that it sometimes works.
we've turned the odds in our favor. there are birds in the freezer and i've used a few fibers from these spectacular twenty one inch long tail feathers to crank out a few variations of one of my favorite nymphs. i'm going to rest the dog for a few days. maybe head into wyoming with my bugs and see what i can find.
it's cold right now. the wind chill makes it ridiculous. mittens are better then gloves. your fingers are jammed together and share blood flow and warmth. the dry heat is pumping from the vents and even though this house is temporary i've come to respect it's construction. the old home we rented in PA was leaky and loose. if the slightest wind blew the furnace ran constantly. the wind drained the house of warmth and dollars from my bank account. i couldn't sleep last night and laying there in the dark thinking about trout streams, i was struck by how little the heat kicked on despite the incessant howling and sideways snow outside.
the cold isn't the only thing giving us a lesson in humility. these wild birds have put me in my place as well. our young dog is loosing confidence in me but is sticking close to my side, not letting me out of his sight, just like he did last year once we started hunting. my family is jealous of the attention.
a friend put it pretty well when he said these wild birds sounded more like the grouse we have back east. he is right. they come up in a rush that will make you forget your own name. never mind a good mount and a proper swing.
we hunted in 50 mph gusts the other day because i will not submit to the wind. we saw plenty of birds. my theory is they couldn't hear us coming, but once they got up and hit those high speed gusts they were out of range before i could click off the safety. sometimes i shot anyway, just wasting shells and time.
i am good at forming theories based on my failures and at this point i have a bunch. i think the hens hold much tighter then the roosters and that i shouldn't slam my car doors as i get ready to walk a field. i've also had to relearn to trust my dog. always trust the dog.
my wife wants a pheasant for the thanksgiving dinner. i want a pheasant for my dog, for everyone really, but i also want a good trout stream just down the road and wanting has never been enough.
that time of year.
i open my eyes most mornings expecting to be somewhere else.
i ran out of razors the day we got here. since i turned thirteen i've been growing a beard all day long, everyday. but there are certain times of the year i decide to stop preventing it. i let it get course and full and i start to use more napkins at supper.
there is a big locust tree in the backyard that barely shivers even when the wind reaches 50 mph. straight line winds they call them. here i can look one of my demons right in the eye.
i think about the brave people that settled this land. i think about them wondering through the tall grasses with only the unknown ahead of them.
i think about them leaning into the 50 mph winds and sleeping under skies painfully full of stars.
i sat in the barbers chair and he told me stories about the navy, he knew i was new to town simply because he'd never seen me. he takes his time and he doesn't take appointments. i waited almost two hours while sitting next to an old rancher, both of us watching a football game neither of us cared about. when the barber finished with each customer he'd say "now... doesn't that feel better?"
the snow storm came quickly carried on the back of more heavy winds. the ranchers north of here didn't have time to move their cattle. many ended up buried under ten foot snow drifts. the radio says some might have lost eighty percent of their herd. i wonder what being caught under ten feet of heavy october snow would be like.
i'm going to stand in a trout stream tomorrow. i'm going to wash myself of these thoughts. i know the cold mountain water will dull the ache of memories left behind. then i can start fresh on the other side with more then just the unknown ahead of me.
hey jerk, this is a fly fishing blog. maybe you should write about some fly fishing…