Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Free the Bluegill!

"Hey Papa! Your bobber is doing something!" I yelled over my left shoulder, confused about the bobber bobbing over my right. "No...it isn't....it hasn't been doing anything all day" humored my dad, echoing the frustrations of a fisherman off the water's glass. I stood, more confused than a fish finding a hook in a bug. Eh....?

I didn't have a bobber, and there was no one else in the sandy shored shallow cove. But there, it did it again, playing with my heart. There had to be something on the other end. "We must save it! Whatever 'it' is!" I tried snagging the bobber and line with my fly...

...it didn't work.

I snapped a large branch off a dead grounded tree limb, and started wading out towards the red & white...

...the shallows were deep.

My mom nested into the tall grass behind us, eating cherries and cheerily chirping encouragement with a laugh, "You look like you peed your pants!" Gee, thanks. (As I said, the shallows were deep. I was the knight trying to save the maiden -- rewarded with soggy pond pants.) Giggles rallied her cry of "Free the bluegill!" Free the fish! Bob, bob, bob...free the bobber! Papa swapped his fly for a treble hook, and snagged the line in, holding up a large clump of agitated algae looking like a Whirpool spin cycle gone awry. We were all ready for a bluegill.....


.....not a bullhead!

But now, he's free!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Learning to read...

...again.

I don't remember the first time. It was too early in life; I, too young. Precociously, I scolded my bedtime storybook reader (whichever lucky parent that was) "no, that is not how it goes!". Because, I knew. I had the book memorized. And, as a toddler, I could read over my parent's shoulder.  You are skipping words! I would have none of that.

Now, I'm learning to read again. And now, I don't always know how the story goes, or how it will end. I am still looking over someone's shoulder; though, I don't ask so many questions anymore. Instead, having two ears, two eyes, and only one mouth --  I listen...I watch.....

I read the fisherman, reading the water.....



I learn.

And I begin to understand why it can take years, decades even, to get to know a body of water. As a lifelong lover, learning all her curves, blemishes, wrinkles, and that one freckle on her back. Waxing and waning. By the seasons growing larger, then smaller; storing, and using up. Like a sow, bearing her hibernation. At first a little scarce. But after runoff, after she's been fed and filled, she'll grow. Your heart and your hunger will too. And you'll like it. Finally, she's healthy. She's grown into her skin, found her course......this is her spring.

I read the water.....

The next day, I go out alone to read -- to be read. And that is why we go to her. That is what water does, she echoes us ourselves through her eyeglasses, the prescription lessening as we fishermen age (yet her eyes, they always water with sorrow, and with joy....this, why she is never truly clear). For then, intimately do we know her...and, she us. An old man and an old woman. Old Friends. We stop asking so many questions. Standing silently, we let her speak....eddying...


...through the weather, surfacing storms that were there all along, brewing below. She whispers wait...patience...in answer to my whys. And I sip percolating thoughts in silence. They are a bitter blend, coarsely ground, and too dark sometimes even for myself. Then, the whisper comes again... 

.....wait
...look
.....is that a rise?

I read the water's yes.....  

.....yes, love.....it is.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Badger Mountain Wine.

Down the canyon spring is here. Up, it is not. Altitude holds its head high...cranking necks back...winter whiplash. Driving down the brim of its crooked nose every morning I feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz -- suddenly, my world changes from black & white to color. Around milemarker 15, Technicolor reinvents my day. Finally, I'm wearing those ruby slippers.

It was raining in Boulder. I knew my world would metamorphosize, again at that milemarker. So I picked some lilacs. I would have spring. And I picked a bottle of wine. I would make merry.

Light, a syrah; a wine to be had on a snowy day. A bottle blue to warm the white.

Cheers...


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Gonzo the Great.

My eyes watered in the wind, stinging with what I wish could be said was surprise. But it wasn't. I wasn't surprised that he was there. Like that old boyfriend (if he could really be called that) who will just not let go, let live, and live on. Turning up, happenstance. Right. Yes, I think he is in love with me, the wind. And his stalking makes me nervous; and then, annoyed; and then, angry. He leaves notes -- on tops of trees, in broken branches, initials caps with white, and gets in the way of my line. Don't -- get in the way of my line.     

I ignore him. My dog guards. I fish on...

.....for hours, baiting bites...

...with Backstabbers and Bellyaches, 

and a black leech pattern that has become my go-to. Nothing is working, and I am starting to get a bellyache. Are there fish in this pond, I wonder. But, there are other fishermen lacing its skirt. There must be something underneath. I ate an apple. Then, some cheese. Banjo pondered my cheese as I did the pond and I shared, hoping for an allegorical follow through. I moved down the bank, several times...and switched flies, again. 

I have had this ugly fly in my box for well over a month now. It was the first fly I tied with bass in mind and it came out looking like the Muppet Gonzo. Although, Gonzo was supposed to be The Great, keep in mind. What the heck, I thought, give it a go, tie on The Great Gonzo. It couldn't be worse than the current greatness I was experiencing.   

So I tied on Gonzo, and on the second cast the allegory held, the pond shared...  




...but then after three (which was more than Banjo got in cheese), Gonzo was lost in a snag. Thus tonight, somewhere in a watery Walden Ponds grave, lies greatness.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

"Race ya..."

Jay said,"...first one to their limit wins!"

Stocker rainbows. They're fun. Especially, when they've just been stocked, and a few ponds down the road from my house just had. We'd both already caught our keeping limit. Those, were already in the cooler of snow. "Redneck Ice," I was told it's called.  But, when you're house is still surrounded by it, it just seems like "Sensible Ice" to me. Yeah, I've got a little redneck in me.

Before I could agree, Jay's casting looked like he was in a Charlie Chaplin film.

Race is on.

Cast, cast; strip, strip; catch, catch. He was two ahead but I jockeyed up from behind, "four!" I shouted.

"Next pond!" he returned...

We jumped in the car. Then, ran...and, strategically placed ourselves at opposing ends of the evening hour's glass. I was distracted, watching him cast. Pay attention, Erin. 


And I did, hauling out my own line to meet his...

...voice carrying over the water, "Great cast!" 

I beamed. You wouldn't have even noticed there was a sunset.

It was the most fun I have had. Ever. And it wasn't just because I won....both rounds! But shhh...I'm not sure I was supposed to tell!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wet Dreams.

A bass bunks in the backing of eyelids; runs away with dreams, and pulls me awake. My wrists twitch a last breath; a dying chimera of a catch.

It got away.  

You know those moments when, just before sleep, you fall? Off a tall building, off a cliff, off your rocker, or into a black hole. Wishing for wings, you try to stop, and then -- you hit. The mattress feathers the hope...you aren't going to die. Those moments, they're a bottomless pit of the subconscious. A playground for fears, frights, and fancies -- with no parental supervision and abnormally tall monkey bars. Something is just bound to break. 

Well, I don't have those kinds of dreams anymore. Nope. Now? Now, my subconscious schools with fish, and they teach me; there, while I sleep. The slightest doubt of a delicate nibble? Set. Don't sit. Do something.

Thus, I practice. I play in a river from which I pray I'll wake.

"Do you ever dream that you're catching a fish?" I asked a fisherman, "and your hands actually move...you feel the bump of the hook, and then the bite?" He smiled at my innocence, "Hasn't happened to me in a long, long time" he said, looking in awe at the female embodiment of his childhood self. All of a sudden I realize that a nine-year-old-boy's voice had just come out of my twenty-seven-year old woman's body.  

Strange.....
.....but for me, not at all unusual.

The body questions everything, because the mind can't be trusted. I remember this feeling. It is ageless. Sexless. Once, as a little girl, confused by changes. Now in many ways still stayed in perpetual adolescence...my dreams, whetted by waters.

Closing eyes, my mind lets out its line. It's quiet. Peaceful. I wait. The bass swims by again and I see her hesitate. Take it. Hungry? Yes!

And I wake up; again, from a hallucinogenic hook-up...


...where usually, I'm doing things I shouldn't.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Dancing Cast.


"The art of fly casting always makes me think of dancing and therefore it seems more feminine than masculine. Casting has both visual beauty and a feeling of oneness in the combination of body motion, rod action, and the weight of the flexible line. Like dancing, it can make you feel beautiful, like a perfect ten on the infamous one to ten scale" 

- Joan Wulff, Joan Wulff's Fly Fishing






He is the most beautiful man I have ever seen...

I thought...
.....but didn't say. 

Being beautiful might not be a compliment for a man. It certainly wasn't a usual one...I had never heard anyone tell a man he was beautiful before. But this man wasn't usual. And, I wanted to tell him. To tell this one, whose arms threw line, his partner, like a man swinging a woman into an aerial while the big band plays. I wanted to tell him, you're beautiful. I wanted him to ask me to dance. I wanted him to show me the steps. I wanted to throw my line, my partner into the air. I am sure he was getting bored by now, my line, with all this rolling about. I envisioned him in a tail-coat. I have always had this thing for men in tails. I would even curtsy at the end, all proper-like in my flannel shirt --- if he asked me to dance. 

I watched, as a wild wallflower.

Observing.

His left hand pulled....up.....down....up....down --- in time with his right arm's back, forward.....back.....forward. A perfect 4/4. Like a metronome. I started tapping my foot. I stepped behind him, onto an old abandoned road. I looked into him as a mirror, and saw myself. A metronome clicked in my head, beaten into me from so many thousands of hours alone in its presence. Its pendulum controlling my rod, I felt the beat. I went in time with The Beautiful Man's motions. I danced... 

                                                                    ...through silence, he had asked me to dance with him.

The Beautiful Man's back-cast caught him a glimpse of me and he stopped short...surprised. "You just taught yourself how to double haul.....do you know that?" No...and suddenly I felt beautiful too, like a perfect ten on the infamous scale. No. I did not know......

.....I just thought I was dancing. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Flies for Dinner.



Porkchops

Rhubarb sauce 
(rhubarb, red onions, red wine)

Cole slaw 
(Cabbage, carrots, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, honey, parsley, caraway seeds, salt & pepper)
Oven baked potatoes




My cooking, and my flies got the good recipe nod!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Scat, a dare, Playboy, semen straws, and....asparagus.

I am always one up for a challenge. I take what's presented. Perhaps it's my midwest roots -- I eat what is before me and I always clean my plate. I can still hear my Grandpa Joe saying "there are children starving in Africa...finish your food." Guiltily, more ketchup would be slathered and food "thankfully" gulped down. Not without question, mind you -- I'm never without a question -- but I ate. I eat. There are people starving.  

I question -- but -- I am thankful.

I also have a knack for laughing at inappropriate times. Not always about inappropriate things, but just the timing -- I often get it wrong -- in a quiet room, at suspicious double entendres...and, at ironies. I find life funny. Some people don't. And yet....still, I laugh.

I grew up on a farm, and saw and thought a lot about waste and reproduction. I kept a cattle semen catalog on my nightstand and flipped through it before bed each night, dreaming of what "straw" I'd buy for my heifer. My grandmother reprimanded my mother for letting me have such things. It was nearing pornographic. It's just wrong, she shouldn't be thinking of such things. Like a 13 year old boy weaseling a Playboy; but, I was just a 13 year old girl reading semen catalogs -- weighing birthweight and judging percentages of "takes." Perfectly innocent, perfectly normal, however much it seems to the contrary. I probably would have laughed, out loud, had my grandmother told me to stop. And that? That would have been inappropriate -- not the laughter, but the time. I laugh loudly, too...which makes this whole matter worse.

Recently, I did the equivalent of laughing out loudly (and yes, I am making fun of "lol's." Please, read into it) in writing...at a scat story. A scat story which Cofisher, over at Windknots & Tangled Lines published. After my loudly written laughter, he commented, "Erin, okay your next assignment, should you chose to accept it, is to write a urine story." How could I not accept this? A urine story! But, it's just not as funny as scat. Except…

.....except, when it comes to asparagus.

Asparagus pee is funny. And, horribly fascinating. It smells --- have you noticed? Precious few do, and I seem to always be the crass one to bring it up...while eating asparagus. I know, I know...Erin, you shouldn't talk about such things at the table ("perhaps, you shouldn't write about such things in a blog post either, " a little mind-game-gnome tells me. But, I just scare him off with my fork...and move on). For some reason, this table talk often dis-spears appetites. I don't get it. I just eat more. There is a sulfur compound in asparagus called mercaptan, and it is the digestive breaking down of this which compounds the smell. But not everyone can. Smell, that is. There are a few theories regarding this: first, everyone's urine smells after eating asparagus, but only about half of the population have the specific gene that is needed to smell the change. Second: only half of the world's population has the gene that's required to break down the compounds found in asparagus in the first place. No breakdown. No smell. No fun.

I am one of the lucky ones. I have the gene. I get the fun.

So did Marcel Proust. He wrote, "... the precious essence that I recognized again when, all night long following a dinner at which I had eaten them, they played, in farces as crude and poetic as a fairy play by Shakespeare, at changing my chamber pot into a jar of perfume." And, while I wouldn't go so far as to say it's "perfume" (it really just smells like asparagus), it is a heck of a lot better than most of the noxious rose-bush oil women anoint themselves with.  They're like bouquets in shoes, who should have stayed in their vase.

I'll take smelling like asparagus...any day. 

So, it's Spring. The 10 inches of snow that fell over the past few days is melting gangbusters...drip, drip, drip -- A River Runs Through It -- it, being my roof. Kinda makes me need to....go.... 

So yes, eat some asparagus. Pee. Go see if you're one of the lucky ones too... 



You just gotta know.

"See there, she's fishing on a fly rod....now that's real different." I heard a man say, over treading bike tires and crying children in strollers on the path behind me. He and his small son were holding spinning rods. The boy's was maybe, maybe, the length of my arm, but his smile was exponentially bigger. He was fishing. With his dad. Could life get any better? This is one of the reason I like urban angling. Most of the other fishermen out there aren't on the fly, and I usually catch a comment, drifting along the lines of "well....I'll be...what's she doing? Why's she movin' around so much?!  "

Wiggle worm, shaking things up a bit, making people question what is normal.

"The bass are biting...over in that corner" the man said, pointing south. "You just gotta know what they're bitin' on..." "Thanks" I said, and headed over to that corner. 

I had just picked up the current issue of Field & Stream (after hearing rumor that someone I know had two flies featured in it). Now, If I were a believing woman (which I've yet to completely figure out), I'd say it was a sign --- straight from the God of Bass Ponds himself (although I've yet to completely figure Him out either). He spoke. And, for a split-shot of a second I thought he was a frog. Something along the lines of Balaam's ass, only much wetter. Erin's frog -- I heard him, and then, I knew. I knew what they'd be biting on.

One of the New Reliables....



...and I just happened to have one in my box.

I stopped to switch flies, tied on one of Jay Zimmerman's rust Backstabbers, threw out my line, and on the second cast --- strip, strip strip....pow! A big bass. A few casts later, another!



"You just gotta know what they're bitin' on..."

Thank you frog, or God of Bass Ponds, or whomever you are...

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Christmas Jumper

And no, this does not refer to the hideous green corduroy get-up I wore to Christmas Eve dinner when I was ten. If jumpers ever really were 'in,' they certainly shouldn't have been. Accordingly, the Christmas Jumper is a hideous greenly dressed fly creation of mine. On a fishing trip with my dad, he christened it -- and the name stuck. Coincidentally, it's also stuck a lot of fish. 

Maybe jumpers aren't so bad after all?

The day before, Jay had baited me. He knows how to do this...very well. He knew I wanted to see a yellow perch, that I wanted to catch one. Over my make-shift canyon phone he said, "Yellow Perch were biting hard at Wonderland Lake tonight. So.....what are your plans for tomorrow?" My plans for tomorrow? Well now? To catch yellow perch! 

Banjo and I arrived at Wonderland Lake around 9:30 that morning -- after I had downed two cups of coffee. Thus, we spent about a half an hour walking around looking for a public restroom. This was a Boulder County Open Space. It had a trailhead -- and, a playground. It had to have a restroom. Right? Kids have to pee! There were people everywhere. Where were they going to relieve their morning coffee, I wonder? All I can say is, Men, appreciate your apparatus. Appreciate being able to do these types of things conspicuously. With my apparatus, a dog, and a fly rod, it wasn't easy to hide. I managed to, although I'm sure it wasn't couth (or legal). 

With this dirty deed complete, I headed to the beach off-shooting the dam. There, I ran into Justin, who writes Fish Tales and Fish Tails. We talked flies and both salivated over the feeding carp we could see but not touch...the sanctuaried shore shushed us like a mother -- look but don't touch. And the carp thumbed their noses, or barbeled their mouths, or whatever their equivalent is, at us...I'm sure of it. 

Justin and I fished in the same area of Wonderland and it was fun, shooting the breeze while casting into it...thanks, Justin!

Plus, my plans panned out...I got my perch! Six of 'em!


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Old dogs can learn new tricks.

I desperately wanted to go fishing, very much in touch with my inner little boy, thinking of nothing else. On second thought, it wasn't a want. It was a need.  Fishing, a need? What am I becoming...?

But I couldn't go fishing, not with him. The last trip was a disaster that left him hunkering apologies and me frustrated for the rest of the day. This morning, his face looked at me so expectantly. Me too?

I melted like his beloved butter.

Ok. Yes, you too, Banjo....you too.

So I decided to do some lake and pond fishing. The creek-escapade was a disaster because I was moving around too much. He would do better with lakes. At least, that is what I hoped as I took off with a loaded car and excited dog --- towards a lake.

At the lake his nose was in wonderland. Well, in wonderland that is, before he got it stuck on my fly. His eyes were bright with taking in the geese and pelicans and great blue heron who scared the pee out of him. The pee, quite literally. His tail collected tackle (I found upon returning home.) He stood on my line. He cowered as I hauled over his head. Yes, Banjo, you are in the way. 

He moved. He settled. He sat back and enjoyed the view. And I like to think he was enjoying just being with me. He seemed as excited as I was that I was catching fish, and came down to the water's edge, each time, to see and to congratulate. All the while with the ulterior motive of smell -- and I wonder, is smell species specific? I've been told that farm pond bass smell addictively divine. I've been told, "don't start" -- Don't Huff Bass.   

Ignoring good advice, I did. And now, Banjo has huffed 'em too.

There is no stopping us now -- and who knows, maybe someday we'll conquer creeks.....

Buckwheat Crêpes for My Mom.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge...."
.....Einstein told us, 

staring postered on our schoolroom's blue gingham papered wall. My teacher stuck it there. My teacher, who just also happened to be my mother. The only other student in the room? My sister. I remember sassing in my head "well, if it's so much more important, why do I have to sit here in front of long division?" But, I kept my mouth shut. Well, for the most part I did.

This more important thing - imagination - this, my mother gave me. This, she taught me. Imagination is the fighter yelling in my ear: there are always possibilities...there is always something. There is always that possibility that when you kiss a frog, you'll get a prince. (Yes, I'll admit it, I kissed frogs as a kid....just to see...). There is always that possibility that if you imagine yourself with the strength of a man, you'll pull out the sword in the stone. There is always that possibility that the ugly duckling will turn into a swan. And always the possibility that the egg will hatch. There is the possibility that for just one day I will be a man and be able to have one of their beards I am jealous of...only for a day, mind you...only for a day. There is always that possibility I will outgrow my love of flannel shirts (very, very low possibility). And there is always that possibility that on the worst of the worst weather days, a fish will bite...

My mom imagines the possibilities. As I wrote a year ago, she dwells in the possible. I, however, usually dwell in the 'im.' My imagination is just imagining. Isn't it? Silly me. But yet...
....I still do. I still dream and imagine...
                                               
                                                              .....I try to live in the possible.

This year though, I forgot about Mother's Day. I utterly forgot. I guess I could say I was too busy imagining things. My mom is a good teacher.....


So right now, I'll imagine that I made these crêpes for her. She is in Nebraska. I am in Colorado. I will call her later today and we will talk. But right now? I will write. I'll imagine that we are sitting together at my kitchen table in early morning light, shadowing dark coffee, sipping the silence. We look up the mountainside for visitors. I'll imagine that we see a doe and her yearling. They graze on spring, on possibilities, just like us. I imagine that I tell my mom how much I want to be like her when I grow up. How much I admire her character, her laugh and her hazel eyes that I have oftentimes made cry. How much I admire her strength and toughness. How much I am thankful for her wisdom and advice and ability to bugger on. How thankful I am she told me to explore this Thread in life. It's ok, child, she said softly. Explore. Dream. Imagine. It's possible. I tell her how much I love her, and suddenly she is right here, eating with me. We wave our forks in the air...in circles...this is good.....

You never know...it's always possible.


~ Buckwheat Crêpes ~

1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup gluten free flour blend (I used Pure Pantry)
1 1/2 Tbs. butter

Combine all ingredients and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Lightly butter a cast iron pan and put about 1/4 cup batter in, pouring into the middle and then swirling the pan until the batter thinly covers the entire surface of the frying pan. 

~ Rhubarb Strawberry Sauce ~

Rhubarb
Strawberries
Honey

Bring to a boil and then simmer 'til syrupy.

Top with Greek yogurt.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Abbott & Costello (Jay & Erin) in a canoe...

"How's the fishing?"
"Crappie..."
"Crappy?"
                                      "No.....crappie!"


And round and round, canoeing in circles they go, laughing all the way.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Blood Knot, April-May 2011

The latest edition of Blood Knot Magazine is out!




















Look for my contribution, second article from the end. And also, Howard Levett of Windknots & Tangled Lines has a great piece, "Ballad of Fisherman Joe." Make sure to read!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Jiggy's Revenge

"You should retire that fly now" Jay said as soon as it was out of the pike's mouth, "it's an honorable way to go out".....

I looked at him. Was he serious? Yes -- yes it seemed he was -- so I picked up the frazzled fly and put it in my box. Obviously, there were things about this fly tying world I didn't yet get. The fly was still good, right? Why would I not continue using it? I'm a pragmatist, you see. A true midwesterner. I probably would have made a good farm wife. Well, on second thought, nah. Nix that. I wouldn't have. I've always known I wouldn't have. I would've wanted to drive his tractor.

I thought about it (the fly, not being married to a farmer). A lot. And, I came to a conclusion: fly tying is dramatic. It's like an opera. The man sings to the fly who sings to the fish who sings to the man again. And for a few minutes, it's a perfectly harmonized trio. Or at least that's what's tied up in the mind of the fisherman. That is what he sees, the inherent drama composed in every fly. He stages -- the backdrop, the scenery, the characters -- and they may all change, but the drama is still there. Crappie might be a little more comedic, and shiners silly, but still.....they are characters..... 
........there is drama.  

Anticipation builds the fly, tension fishes....and then, if you're lucky, you hook up. That's the verbiage...'hooking up.' Wishful thinking, oh fisherman? I followed that allegory in the vernacular a little too far. I thought about it a little too much. My feminist vein varicosed through the silence, bursting, "why is it that in every male dominated field, everything is so sexual!?" Jay looked at me, confused, what the hell have I done...!? Then smirked, "yeah, men really do think about sex that much."

I'm amused.

I think some more. I re-open my fly box. S l o w l y -- I think -- I begin to get it. I remember. I re-live the drama. I'm not a dramatic person by nature, which is why women make me nervous (and yes I realize, I am one). Sitting at the tying desk a few days before, Jay had thrown me a bunch of materials. "Tie up a pike fly!" and he turned around to start making dinner. Safely with backs turned in, I silently swore -- I think he smiled. I had no idea what I was doing. I had never fished for pike before, let alone tied to trick them. But I have a good memory, and had seen plenty of pictures of pike --- always, attentive to their mouth -- and thus, the fly... 
.......I composed
I learned to double haul....
.......I sang.

I hooked up....
....and was so focused on singing, I forgot to listen.

I didn't hear the drama. That is, until now. Now? I think I get it. I think I like this kind of drama.

And Jiggy's Revenge gets to enjoy a plush retirement. She did her job, and she did it well. An honorable way to go out...



(I can't give a recipe. I'm still not quite sure just what it is I did.)

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....
.....harder...
...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. Food....fire...a 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 fly....amazing...it 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."