Leaves crunch under the felt soles of wading boots. It would be all but silent out here if it weren’t for the leaves underfoot, and the wind ripping through the tree tops sounding like a highway filled with semi-trucks flying by at ninety miles an hour. A blue jay sounds its high pitch call as it crosses the trail in front of me at lightning speed. Its blue is a stark contrast to the ground covered in dull curling reds and yellows and the grays and browns of the naked trees. I don’t know how many times I’ve walked this trail now, but it’s more than the fingers and toes I have I’m sure.
Back at the camp site I started a little fire at the back of the Jeep, but I wasn’t really sure why. A granola bar for dinner didn’t actually require a fire, and while I did have a folding camp stool, the black flies were so bad that I didn’t see myself sitting out for more than a few minutes before going insane. I guess I was lighting a fire because that’s just what you do when you’re camping. It’s an expected routine thing. You’ve always done it, so whether you need one or not it just seems the thing to do. It passes time anyhow.
The stream’s last defense was the thick alders that lined it, so thick that I doubt thorn bushes could have done much better at all to keep us out. The Lost Boys had told me no waders, you’ll destroy them in there in two minutes. I left my waders behind but questioned it of course, but now I could see, I could confirm. Pushing though the undergrowth, I felt a stinging on the back of my left calf, and then the same on my right thigh as alder branches that were intertwined better than the fibers in a rope held me back as I tried to push through. They grabbed fly rods, slashed at faces, pulled hats from heads, but in the end the will of the fly fishermen was more than they could hold back, and we stood at the water’s edge.
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When things finally come together they feel like a fish pulling against you at the end of your line…
Patience. By definition it’s the capacity to accept or tolerate delay without getting angry or upset. My Grandmother used to tell me it was a virtue. As a high school kid in ripped jeans and a leather jacket it was the only hit song off the Guns-N-Roses “Lies” album, and today, twenty-eight years later, patience is something I seem to be in short supply of. Whatever it is I want done, I don’t want to screw around, I just want it done now. It needs to happen now. So that I can move on to more important things. Like fishing.
It was just good to finally be on my favorite stream again, and to see it in such a different way was almost refreshing. In the end on the drive home I thought about it in my head, wondering how I could put it into words that would get the true feelings across.