He’d told me once the history he knew of the lake, and when you have no other proof but the story coming from your grandfather, you have no reason to question it. You take it as fact, ignoring the fact that all fishermen lie, tell tales, or in the least exaggerate. I never knew him to do any of these things, so I hold what I remember him telling me of this place as fact for no other reason than all grandfathers know everything when it comes to fish and lakes.
The way I see it, if you’re catching small fish, it’s better than missing a couple big fish and not catching anything at all. So at least starting with small fish is a good place to begin. I’ve always thought that you need to catch your first fish before you can catch the rest. It sounds blatantly obvious, I know. But in my head, I always tell myself after the first fish that now it’s got fish stink on it. Now, it’ll work.
Once I was big enough and strong enough to work the gates it was like I’d become an adult. In my young mind, being trusted enough to keep the cows where they belonged, and taking the place of my Grandfather at the gates, I was a man. It’s really something to look back on a grandfather getting older and letting you do the work because you are too, and to realize now that you didn’t realize then, it meant you were both getting older and that all things pass with time, including us.
I told him that I tried to live my life the same way I organized my fly boxes… With good intentions. But that just like the fly boxes, good intentions are only so good and last only so long, and that sooner or later you go to the box to find a specific fly that will change your luck for the better and find only an unorganized mess. Chaos was probably the better word. Just ask my ex-wife.
The creek out back. That’s how I refer to it most of the time. It’s got a name like most creeks, but to me it’s the creek out back. Why? Because that’s where it is. The name isn’t important on most days. Less and less becomes important to me all the time the older I get it seems. And what I hold onto as actually important likewise becomes more important the older I get. The creek is important. Its name, not so much as its location. Out back.