I parked and sat in my driver's side seat, eating yogurt, Australian yogurt. I wondered: just what made this Australian, exacly? It was made in Boulder, Colorado, this Noosa Yogurt, but it did have an Aussie name. And, a unique taste - piquant....almost like cream cheese (My particular carton was cream cheesy with strawberries and rhubarb). I pondered these deep, life changing questions (deciding that, it didn't matter where this yogurt was made, or what made it Australian. It was deliciously divine) as I looked out the windshield onto a series of ponds. I was here to practice. " No," my memory reprimanded, "you are here to fish."
That is right. I was there to fish.
This, my first solo adventure...rod in hand. I didn't have the guide I had become quite fond of. But, I did. His figure outlined my thoughts and I replayed his words, over and over and over again. Which pond. How to read the water. How to unstick my snags. How to tie a fly on. How to cast. Which, was what I was there for -- to 'fish' for my cast...
...finding, with each throw of the line, his figure, silhouetted against the morning sun. The power in his arms, the grace in the way he feeds the line, the way this man's body looks complete when he casts. It is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
It was early on an early spring Saturday. The relative emptiness was a relief, as I was very aware of my need to 'fish' and I was also suddenly very aware of my breasts. Yes, you read that right --my breasts. I felt as though they had grown exponentially within the few minutes since entering the parking lot.
Someone obviously forgot to push the "will like girl things" button in my brain. This is nothing new. Showing cattle, judging livestock, studying guitar...I am used to being the only female in show rings, pig pens, and concert stages. It has never bothered me, being the lone girl. I'm always alone in a gaggle of girls anyway.
And now, I willingly enter into yet another male dominated world: fly fishing. And I know what I must do. I must fish. I will not be a tag-along. I will not be humored. I will not be "good for a girl." I must be good...by man standards. In showing cattle, in livestock judging, and in studying classical guitar --- to be taken seriously, I had to be as good or better than the men. And I was.
And, I will be...
...after much more fishing.
"You catching anything?" asked a short man sporting a dark mustache. He held a bait rod in his left hand, dangling a lure like an overly made-up woman's overly large earring. "Yep! 5 so far. Small bluegill." "Huh," he said quietly, "I ain't caught nothin'," -- and he walked on. I was asked this, "You catching anything?," many more times, and each time came the reply -- "huh."
"You should try a Woolly Bugger," said a boy's voice behind me, high as a Vienna choir boy's. I wanted to say, "Yeah? Well how do you know that that isn't what I have on?" But, I didn't. "Yeah, sure will...thanks!" is what came out of my mouth instead. Now, I'll admit, I had no idea what fly I had on (turns out, I did have a Woolly Bugger tied on! Take that, little choir boy). I had been switching flies out left and right, willy-nilly, just for the fun of it; and, because I liked seeing how each one moved differently in the clear watered shallows as I pulled line in.
The boy's dad asked what I was doing out here, so early in the season; and, wanted to know if I had seen any bass. Well, I was catching things, wasn't I? And no, I hadn't seen any bass. That seemed to be enough for them. Leave the crazy woman alone.
And, as the boy and his dad were walking away, my ears caught..."Dad, that was a girl fishing."