Sunday, May 1, 2011

Three Levels of Achievement.

"A bit windy for a canoe there now, don't ya think young lady?" spewed a man getting out of his green Outback station wagon. (At least this time, I wasn't "kiddo"). And yeah I think, I think a lot about you, Mr. Obvious. But I just smiled my young-womanish smile and said, "we gave it our best go," jumping back into my driver's seat, allowing him no time to answer. The wind closed the door. A canoed catch wasn't in the cards.

"We need to salvage this day" Jay said, as we rattedly drove around like scrappers looking for used metal. We turned north, sticking a spiteful finger to the wind; and not the boy scout's wondering index finger either...we knew. 

It blew.....
......screw you.

The ponds at St. Vrain State Park smelt rainbows. Yet the only evidence of gold was the placement of pelicans. And as anglers, they too had reason to white the water's surface.

I pulled into the closest parking spot to Sandpiper Lake that I could. "Paratrooper," Jay said, pointing to the "AIRBORNE" sticker on the bed cover of the white F-250 next to us. There was a grumpy looking woman in the passenger seat. Her driver (the paratrooper, I presumed), was taking photos of a pair of nesting Canadians ---- geese. Aggravated avian amusement while he waited on two bait rods to bend with a bite. A 5 gallon hunter-orange Home Depot bucket waited patiently for the limited catch. The paratrooper was in no hurry; but his wife's impatience hissed louder than the geese.

I hauled out line. Jay looked surprised ----- and, proud. She's casting out farther than I thought she'd be able to...

The wind seems to be dieing down now, doesn't it?

And it blew again....
...screw you.

"You're supposed to tell me to shut up when I start saying something like that!" I yelled to Jay, reminding him of my horrible gift. His hands cupped a can't hear you over his ears. I yelled louder. "Tonight, we are going to offer something to the wind-god. A ceremony of some sort. dance...self-mutilation.....?"

Whatever it takes. 

We'd obviously done something to anger a god unknown.

"It's never easy, is it." Jay said without a questioned inflection. It isn't easy -- life. He wasn't asking. He was agreeing with what my bundled form, determinedly bent was stating. "One of my favorite writers once said, 'I am a pessimist in life, but an optimist in fishing.'" I smiled. I know that writer too.  One of us has to catch a fish, he concluded, turning back to the lake.  

An osprey hovered. 

CompetitionAnother fisherman... 

I felt a tug. I caught first.

The day blew up a few more rainbows. And the competition kept hovering. Then bam! Dive! Splash! And at the same time over the wind heard, “I got one too! Took your fly!!!” and saw Jay holding up a crappie as the competition flew off with a rainbow. 

Driving away, St. Vrain's Lakes evaporated, rearviewed to puddles. "There are three levels of achievement," Jay said, a pickle hanging out of his mouth like an exotic smokeless green stogie. "One - you catch a fish on a just shouldn't work. Two - you catch a fish on a fly you tied yourself. And Three - someone else catches a fish on a fly you tied."  

...."now, you've got all three."


  1. Airborne! You rock, Erin! That description of the old boys wife in the truck was so great! Loved it!

    "...drove around like scrappers looking for used metal." that is one fine analogy! I am a bit envious!

  2. You do have a way with the language Erin. I think you should co-write one with what's his name.

  3. Cofisher - with what's his name, eh? It's been talked about, but neither one of us likes "group projects." ;-)

  4. Love this story."Grumpy looking woman" was something I started to see a lot of when word got out that there was a female in deer camp. "If John can take HIS wife, then you have to take me." So they came and sat around camp grumpy while I was out learning about deer sign and how to move quietly and above all to be still.

  5. Hart - Jay has been telling me a lot about your experiences in the hunting world. He was just telling me that exact story a few days ago! You're quickly becoming my hero!