Most times, I come back from fishing with stories. Carrying them -- instead of fish -- in a creel. I'm always looking for stories; like a birder, looking into a tangle of tree limbs for a flash of color, or movement. On this past weekend's adventure, Jay's sister Eve came with us too, and at a few points stated that we'd "better not write" about a certain thing or two. And, I won't. I won't look there for a story. No Erin, that was not a bird on that limb.
It's a dangerous thing, keeping company with two writers.
Most times, I walk back down the mountain with a mindful. It's like my eyes have overeaten, and they throw everything back up into words. And usually, like a little boy, I stutter excitedly about trout -- tongue tripping over what to say next while simultaneously trying to take mental note of flies for the next trip -- crane flies, I need to tie crane flies.
Opening the cabin door, first thing, the computer gets plugged in -- ready to crop photos and write and work until midnight (well almost midnight, but that is entirely number-of-hard-ciders dependent). Jay and I look at each other, why don't we just get Netflix like normal people? And that night, the computer just stared back. Watching a movie would have been more productive. I had nothing to say. I turned it off. Going to bed early.
Taking a break midday, we had eaten Swiss Cheese and sugar snap peas, as Jay told stories he remembered from David Hackworth books -- about the Korean War and mountain passes and unexpected survival. Rallying. We need to rally, he said. Perched, we strategized. We'd work clockwise, back around the other side of the lake -- first Banjo and I, then Eve, then Jay. We worked hard. But those cutts, they didn't want to think about food. Their biological clocks ticked and tocked and our timing was off. We had nothing that could feed their hunger.
All day we cast to cutthroats tucked in underneath a sheet of snow. It probably wouldn't all melt before the next season's layer arrives -- just like my own bed in the canyon which never gets down to what I remember as being the 'summer sheets' of my youth. This is flannel country, year round up here. There is always a chill, and there is always a quilt. Or two.
As the sun sank below the pass, rusting out the eastern valley's light, crane flies began to tease the water. I need to tie crane flies. And as the last rod tip was sleeved, there was a rise. Of course, there would be a rise now. We picked up our packs and didn't look back at the lake. Shoulders slumping, we trailed down.We were all quiet.
Jay led. Thinking. I could tell...
"I'm not used to walking for hours to have trout ignore me."
"Yeah...yeah...maybe, we should try a river next week..."
"Hell no! I'm coming back." He kept on walking. Focused. Straight ahead. "Persistence...it's all about persistence."
Even, when it doesn't pay off.