Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rod Wrapping.

Saturday, February 11, 2012 – 5:12 a.m.

Plows scrape time off my night’s sleep before the alarm can get to it. Slow going up the grade, mounds of snow against gravity take their toll on the mailbox -- hundreds of pounds storm after storm, bending its sides in with a microcosmic example of glacial power. The mailbox door no longer closes, but it can’t be replaced, not yet -- until spring thaw which will come around late May if we’re lucky. But then again, it snowed the evening of Memorial Day last year, so you just never know.

Looking out a torn screen window, fog veils the moon waiting for another night to shine -- patience in these things, patience (the virtue you are told to have, often by a person in the midst of losing theirs) -- and I turn on the deck light to see what I’ll be dealing with. Only a small bit…four inches, maybe. No big deal. Funny, how living up here has changed my perspective of what is and what is not “a snow.” Less than five inches barely warrants shoveling the driveway. And with no laws enforcing snow removal deadlines – there are no sidewalks up here -- I can do as I please as long as I can get out. And that, is why I have an all wheel drive. With enough speed, it’s all downhill from here.

The snow has fallen evenly in no wind, as if a dump truck cloud has parked over the opening of pines above the cabin and evenly distributed its contents. A blanket on a bed with no lumps. No forgotten books, socks, or stocking hats. Smoothly pressed, tucked and trimmed as a bed always should be and mine never is.

Standing sentinel in my fortress, eyeing for marks of night visitors -- this morning, I see evidence. Snow, as the CSI blue light of the natural world, makes prints visible. Revealing who went where, and when, and sometimes why -- to eat, court, to fight, mate, and die in the end as we all do. Things become clear upon this background of white. Snow on snow falls, holding and compressing evidence until spring -- when all will be forgiven and melt away. But right now I see them, the paw prints of a fox. Coming down the game trail leading through the draw, straight to the front door, down the stairs, and off and back up behind the woodpile -- bypassing the neighbor’s house entirely. I wonder if these tracks are the vixen’s I hear from time to time, calling for her mate in hoarse desperateness that makes my heart ache.

As I leave for the day, I notice a yellow spot in the snow at the foundation of the cabin. I’ve been marked. Set apart. Viewed and sniffed out. Accepted into the forest, marked as its own -- having at last passed a test I knew all the while I was taking, while remaining unsure of whether it was multiple choice or essay. I guess, maybe, it was the latter. Perhaps some people wouldn’t view fox urine on their home as a good thing, but I do -- feeling that now, my house is not a home, but rather a den. 

Snow packed roads lead north to Estes Park, where I’ll begin wrapping my rod at Frank’s condo – warmer and lighter than the back of the fly shop. I get studs put on my tires every winter for precisely this reason – assurance. Yet still I go slowly, following behind a sand truck until the climbs after Lyons, when I’m more confident than the plow driver to go over 15 mph, and so I pass.

8:57 a.m.

Holding my rod (still, feeling pretty alright) while mentally checking that I have remembered the guides and thread (although at this point, it’s too late to do anything have I not), I stand outside ringing the doorbell – looking at the Twin Sisters ridgeline.

Soon I hear footsteps. And a familiar voice, “Come on in…”

At the kitchen table, wooden wrapping frames are set; but first, we go out to the garage to mark spacing of the guides. This, of course, involves math, and so I check and double check my work. Numbers and their derivatives have never come easily for me, and even when they do come, they leave me confused. I am not, nor ever have been, left-brained. During my schooling, math textbooks ended the year salty and tear stained; and I deemed memorizing multiplication tables to be one of the hardest things I had yet done in life. At the time, I prayed for an act of nature, even should it cause me harm -- to be kicked by a horse, knocked into a coma, and then miraculously woken up years later having learned the sums by osmosis. This, was my daily plea; not one of bread, debts, trespasses and redemption; no, rather, mine was of being put out of my mathematical misery by a hind hoof. Although nowhere could I find it in books of prayers --common or un, and so remained skeptical of its power to work; yet kept on praying, even so.  Eventually, my father found my weakness: green olives. There was no punishment worse. It was a genius fix, really. For every wrong answer…pop! In went a green olive. “And you have to chew!” That was the rule -- swallowing whole was cheating, and my dad would have none of that. Thus I learned my multiplication tables, and only in the last few years have been able to stomach green olives again.

Garrison, however, was numerically sound and extremely precise (I do wonder now, had he taste for green olives?); and despite my math skills, I am trying to be precise too.

“Done?” Frank asks.

I lay down a white grease pencil, “Yes.”

Now, it is a truth widely acknowledged and universally demonstrated, that hype builds up around firsts -- rides without training wheels, kisses, weddings, casts. You will be scared, you will be scarred, and it will be difficult, you’re told. And at some point, all of that anticipatory tension, all of that adrenaline that’s been sustaining you, will crash -- and then yes – yes, you will fail. Failing though, while proving in the end that you were giving your all for whatever you’ve gotten back – scraped knees, forty dollars at a pawn shop, or a five inch rainbow. But still, there are treasures to be found (remember, they are always buried under dirt in children’s tales); there are things to learn. And so if you aren’t digging through dirt, if you aren’t failing, if you don’t need to practice…you aren’t pushing yourself hard enough. For that, is how we grow -- in matters physical, and of the heart.

If there was anything I’d heard about rod making, it was that wrapping is dreadful. A horrible, tedious, monotonous business. But so are most things which are beautiful in the end. As I’ve come to see it, life is made up of singular, spaced moments of beauty, strung together by continuance of cooking, working, and dirty dishes. We live – I live – for those moments out of line.

And so as I stand at the table, looking over Frank’s shoulder as he wraps the first guide foot on, listening -- cross the thread over on the apex, keep it taught, watch the end, make both sides even…and use this ruler – I’m nervous. Nervous to begin. Nervous to fail. All the while knowing I’m in one of those moments out of line.  

Frank turns around in his chair, “Ready?”


I take the thread out from the holding coil and immediately it springs back, out of my pinch. “No big deal…” Frank says, showing me how to re-thread the series of eyelets maintaining tension on the thread – he has a way of making you feel that even had you’d just broken off the tip, it’s okit’s fixable. And why’s that, you may ask? Well, because it’s handmade…and thus can be made again.
“There you go, now…all set.”

I begin again, this time with a firmer grip on the small things.

Firm, perhaps, but not fast. Yet even so, after a few wraps I feel more confident, and the thread begins lying down line after line until there is no separation, looking almost as though I’ve painted it on, making me feel like an artist. I smile, having always wanted to be one -- one whose medium is pencil, paints, pastels, or ink. My mother is an artist, my uncle is an artist, my sister is an artist. I, however, am not. I realized this one sunny afternoon in early high school. The basswoods, cottonwoods and willows were just beginning to bud with early spring green you could almost see growing, and clouds piled up into what was sure to be the evening’s thunderstorm. In the back of our ’74 Ford, we had art class. It was goldenrod yellow, that truck, the color my mother always called goat kid poop – pure, healthy, beautiful milk fed, she’d say -- also taking the time to remark that breast fed babies are the same way, and that my sister and I once had beautiful poop too. I always sensed she took pride in that.  But there, sitting in the back of that goat-kid-poop pick-up truck, sketching the Nishnabotna River flood plain which had been turned into soybean and cornfields, alternated year-by-year by by Farmer Hopp, I realized: I am not an artist...and there is no hope that I ever will be. My proportions are all off, my colors clumpy like they've been mixed in a dying blender, and my detail leaves much to the imagination. And that, is only a good thing when intentional. My art is of the kind people look at and think "At least she isn't just sitting around watching TV." or, "Well bless her heart at least she's trying." It’s the kind of art that my grandmother hangs in the bathroom; not, the living room.

When I was living in San Francisco, there were artists and easels tucked into every eucalyptus grove nook in City Park, right along with the homeless, the picnickers, the dead, and the couples doing what God knows and unfortunately, what you see. Lots of things are partaken of, made, and created in parks.

My roommate Val and I would, on occasion, lug our instruments down 19th St. by bus (the 28 or 28L if we were lucky), or if we had the time, would walk the less busy 18th Street to find a grove of our own – to study, to practice, and to lay beached in the sun layered up, pretending we were warm. However, when you're playing guitar or violin, everyone knows where you are and what you're doing. And that kind of takes away the fun of being in a grove, now doesn’t it. Sounds wafted out above the foliage partitioned rooms....Bartok's Romanian folk dances, Leisner's Dances in the Madhouse, Christmas carols, hymns, and bluegrass. As a musician, one can never truly be alone. I envied the artists their silence.

And so now, illogically, I write every thought I have out loud. But somehow that's different in my mind, because I don't see the heads turn or the eyes reading. I don't see gaits slow down and linger until the last measure is played, or the last sentence typed. I don't always make sense but I know why I don't, and that, is a large part of the battle.

And so I write in my own little chair in my own little room of the eucalyptus grove.

It smells divine.

Sitting opposite me, Frank watches, and waits – coming in and out of the garage where he’s working on sanding a blank. “You know…I’ve never wrapped a rod on this table before...” he interjects between munching on almonds. “ wait, I have. My first.”


While I am not a superstitious person, for some reason, that makes me feel good. “You’ll see people stand the tips up side-by-side on their this,” Frank demonstrates, warning, “they’re looking for the wraps to be even with one another.” I look down to the pile of tools I’ve amassed for the ruler. “But there’s only one person I know who can really get it perfect…Kathy at Mike Clark’s shop…..everyone else’s are only just about.”

I stop for a blink – exaggerated, like theatre makeup – lingering in their close.  Finally wetted and ready for the next act, I look up, and out to Twin Sisters. “Sometimes,” Frank says, watching my eye’s-path, pointing to the long windows above -- “I close the patio door curtains…so you only see that panorama up there.” It’s perfect, I think. As if he has measured, matted, and framed the ridge. I climbed it a few years ago, while in a much different state of mind and body than my current contented 120 lbs. wrapping a rod. And I look at them, those places I’ve been -- now as if they’re a dream, dimly remembered in the minutes before I woke.

We talk of maple syrup, craiglist, and foam bugs; and futons, parking tickets, and tapers. “What’s your favorite,” I ask. 

Frank pauses and looks down, placing his hand on the finished butt section of my rod – “One just like this…..for small streams.”

I smile and blink my dry eyes again, long enough I can almost see those streams, “My favorite kind of fishing…”

“Mine too.”

It’s late when I finish wrapping for the day – the butt and one tip section completed -- and as I walk to the door, I smile to myself – a smile that might actually be visible through the back of my head…I don’t know. But I do know that my eyes are bloodshot, and that I’ve pushed myself hard; I know that today was one of those moments of beauty, and that there will once again be dishes to do in the morning; and I know that I’m tired. So even though it’s well below freezing I keep the heater turned down, and Dylan turned up. And when I pull up the driveway pushing midnight, the porch light is on and there is popcorn warm and waiting in the den.

Listen to the story: 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Aesthetic Arrangments.

Friday, February 10, 2012 - 5:12 a.m. 
Light of February’s waning Snow Moon streams through icicles hanging off the gutter, barring my bedroom window -- under house arrest. The moon is enough that I don’t turn on any lights. Not yet. Walking around the house, window to window, I peer out. Looking for breathing shadows. Nothing. Banjo cracks one eye from the couch, sighing, knowing that me being up this early means I’m leaving. Out you go, boy, I whisper. Opening the back door, icicles break like wine glasses. A man once told me he buys all of his wine glasses at the Dollar Store - their sundae cups, he said, they never break -- swearing even his heavy-handed sister couldn’t do them in. Perhaps it was really just a hint that I should buy some Dollar Store wine glasses -- a warning, or else he might break mine too. If, that is, I was ever to ask him over for dinner.

As I close the door, I hear a few more glasses break. Aftershocks. So much for trying to be quiet.

Coffee percolates light inside and out by not so much its caffeine, but rather its warmth. Pouring my first cup, I’m reminded, I need to find socks, by the kitchen’s cold wood floor. Dark eyed juncos are out early this morning, getting their fair share of breakfast before the jays wake. Landing on snowbanks, they make angels like children, imprinting their faith in flight.  

Driving north, Longs Peak hangs up clouds from last night’s snow. You can tell they want to leave, but can’t -- for her words, kind or un, make them linger. Using them as pawns, she blocks our view in, and hers out. Tired of being looked at all day -- of being climbed and photographed and placed on cheap postcards. Fame can take its toll, even on a mountain. This morning, she pulls the curtain and only shows her buttresses of mottled tundra grey. The scene is static, with movement implied -- as if in a painting by Monet or Degas or Niemeyer. Swirls of white, grey into curls as the gusts age. They’ve a short lifespan, wind-gusts, but also one curiously long. For who knows where they go, after they blow. On. Somewhere. Taking and holding the answers, The Poet sings, to all of the questions we ask generation after generation...they’re there, but they’re blowing in the wind. So good luck. And despite my distance of warm car comfortable silence, I know that on that mountain right now, it’s a blizzard of a shouting match.

But so it goes that things often aren’t how they appear from a distance. And it’s not until you step close enough to the museum wall, making the guard sufficiently nervous, that you can see the details...and the meanings hidden therein. For a short while, at least, until the guard sternly bellows “ma’am, please step away from the painting.” But for a bit of time -- for one of those wrinkles -- you can see the swirls.  

8:52 a.m.

Today is going to be a day of decision making. I was warned, prepared for it to be so. Wood and thread and guides. I loved the splitting and sanding, and the planing. But now comes the “interior decorating” aspect of rod making, Frank describes, “Most people’s favorite part...”

“All these little decisions?”


“Huh. I think my favorite part is the planing.”

“Yeah, mine too....”

The excitement of moving in has come and gone. The satisfaction of nesting is complete. The U-Haul truck has been driven back cleaned out and emptied of its life, delivered. And now, busted tile work before the fireplace needs replaced, bathroom cabinets need handles, and paint chips off the spare bedroom’s walls need to be taken to the hardware store to see if they can mix a match.

Yes, of course you bought a fixer-uper.  

Frank brings out a cardboard box full of reel seat wood -- some factory ready, some needing turned. “This one here, Mike Clark gave me.....and here’s some walnut...that might be good. Pistachio. Madrone. Oh, and here’s crabapple. Spaulted crabapple. I’ve really been liking that lately. Looks like those old world know?”

“Yeah, I love those kind...”

“Ah and here’s some olive tree...from Israel! I even have the papers to prove it.” Frank laughs with the strange satisfaction of being able to prove something you probably never will have to.....yet still, it’s nice to have the backing should you need it.

I stare at the pieces of wood, and remember my grandmother’s yard in front of the big white house on Charles St., homing a small crabapple tree. Every year it blossomed white just in time for Easter, and before it, generations through photos passed. There, I am documented from infant in dress and bonnet, to teenager in flannel and boots (there came a time when I refused to wear dresses...even, to grandma’s Easter dinner. My mother calls me difficult). A few years ago, it had to be cut down, the crabapple. Due to disease, I think. But that tree in my grandmother’s front yard on Charles St., grew alongside a family...and as it died, its other branches fell away too.

I take the smaller piece of crabapple to start. Frank assures that I can turn more than one -- because sometimes, he says, when they’re turned, the wood ends up looking drastically different -- sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. You just never know how it will go...especially in worse. And so you turn and keep on...chipping down to its core, to see what’s inside.

In a way, this all reminds me of my childhood fascination with rocks. I was sure that inside, they all held something interesting, something special. Hollowed cores of color like the gems at Natural History Museums. They weren’t pretty on the outside either, and so it seemed to me a pretty logical possibility that there might be such beauty in my own backyard, too; thus, I took it upon myself (enlisting the help of my sister, of course), to sort through and hammer open all the rocks I could from our backyard -- and a few others pilfered from the neighbors as well. They were childless and enjoyed these shenanigans. Or at least, that’s how I justified it. We only got scolded once for leaving the hammers in the driveway -- not for splitting open the rocks as you might think. And so, we kept on searching for the special ones. There were a few, and I kept the unique ones on shelves in my room, covering up mason jars of water beetles I didn’t want my mother to find. Although eventually, she did -- and made me promptly march them all back to the Hanscom Park pond.

Frank shows me how to work the lathe, and how and when to adjust the blade. “And go slowly” he warns, “too fast leaves lines.” So I sing a song in my head. A slow ballad hymn to keep time -- to keep me even.

The lathe is hypnotic -- its blade creeping with a line like stain...eating down the wood to something different than we saw, but what was still there all along -- whether we saw it or not. Everything blurs, and I concentrate on moving slowly and evenly. 

I keep singing to myself.

Stopping the lathe to check on progress and measure diameters, Frank points to the dark lines “That’s the spalting....the disease. Ironic, huh...that’s what makes it interesting.”

“And what makes it beautiful...” my voice trails off, the lathe starting again.

I turn another piece, this time walnut. And when I’ve finished, holding them both up next to my rod, there’s just something about the diseased fits. “Hey! Look, it’s a mountain range!” I notice excitedly, holding the crabapple up for Frank to see.

“Yeah! Yeah, you’re is....and those smaller spault lines coming down...those could be streams, you know?”

They could be. “This is the one!”

Perhaps sensing the emanating relief of a decision made, Dick steps back into the shop.

“The mountains!” I say, perhaps a little too enthusiastically, “they’re in my reel seat!”

Dick puts on his glasses “well..sure enough...they are!” The glasses ride up his nose as he grins, “that’s cool.”

Next, I sand down the cork grip, watching Frank do one for another rod first -- paying attention  to how he moves his hands, where he places the sandpaper, and for how long. Soon, I begin on mine. The cork molds down, looking malleable, like clay on a wheel. After awhile, the sandpaper gets hot from friction, and I stop to check the shape and diameter. “Go ahead and put your hand on it....see how it fits.” Frank urges.

Almost perfect. Just a little more off the middle. And...there...

Now Frank pulls out cigar boxes of thread. “These change color quite a bit under a coat of varnish...” he notes, placing a goldenrod yellow spool on the table, then a brown “that’ll turn ox-blood,” a tan, and another golden. Under where the cork grip will later be glued, Frank wraps samples of each thread, and then applies some varnish. Like looking at paint sample strips, I bend down and squint. Eye level. Then lengthwise. Standing up again, Frank suggests “let’s go outside...natural light helps a bit.”

I grab the reel seat.

Gutters drip melting snow. Spring will come.    

Holding the rod and reel seat together, two colors immediately get crossed off. Judiciously letting my eyes make the final vote, I let them wander on the rod. Side to side. Up and down. And back. Where do they want to go? To the darker brown...yeah, that’s it. Frank nods in agreement. Then after another round of wrapping and varnishing I decide on black trim wraps, picking up the spaulting.

That done, we glue on the cork and tip tops, and fit the ferrules together. “Ferrules are worth taking your time on,” Frank says. So I file slowly, with a cautiously scared hand. Finally with some effort, they push together and pull back out with a delightful and ready pop.

And finally, we blue them. “The females are always the most difficult...” Frank comments off hand.  

“They always are...right?” I laugh.

“Well, I didn’t want to say that...”

“I know...but I did.”

Darkness presses against the glass window, sneaking through cracks from an old bullet hole, reminding us of Time. Frank slides the three parts of my rod into a sleeve and then a tube. “Take this home with you tonight...but make sure to bring it back with you to Estes in the morning so you can start wrapping.”

“I’ll be sure...”

There is silence. And shadows. I glance up at the culms of cane stored above, overhead the workbench, which gives the shop a feel as if you’re in a south pacific hut with Iowa barn doors - those doors, a two part invention of gate and friendly window -- the kind Mr. Ed’s head used to talk from on Sunday nights...but only those Sunday nights I spent at my grandparent’s house with cable. I remember Frank telling me how someone once told him that he should cover those doors up. “But they’re the best part of this place!” he replied. And so he didn’t. And I’m glad.

As I glance up, I think about those culms, and how they’ve been split and sanded, and planed and glued, and sanded again; and how now, they’re fitted with ferrules, tip tops, and a cork grip. And standing here with view of beginning and nearly end, it really shouldn't be possible. But then again, many things in life are that way, unbelievable when you look back and see how far you’ve come.     

“This is my this tube....” I say, looking back down...

“Yeah it is...and it feels alright, doesn’t it....” Frank smiles.

“Yep...pretty alright.”

Listen to the story:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Blizzards and Beetles: or, Days Like Molasses.

Friday, February 3, 2012 – 4:50 a.m.

In the darkness of morning -- which is always lighter than the darkness of evening for some reason or another…perhaps it’s just knowing that light is coming soon...and that there is an end to the tunnel -- I push open the back door against a snow drift to let Banjo out. He doesn’t go far, and when I let him back in there’s a yellow spot in the snow on the deck. I can’t blame him though, the snow is taller than he is. 

Thirty inches, overnight.

I walk to the front door and turn on the porch light, assessing the possibility of making it up to Longmont to work on my rod today. And while there’s the possibility, the probability is low. A plow goes by, its lights flashing like strobes, morphing the dark canyon road into a dance club. My partner, a shovel. And our efforts are lost – the snow -- the beat, it's coming too fast and we can’t keep up. Big, exaggerated flakes make my world dizzyingly existent in a disco-ball-snow-globe. Banjo sits sulking by the cabin door, and after awhile, I walk back from the end of the driveway to let him inside and wake up Jay. I’ll need an extra hand -- well, two -- with this.

The canyon’s plows, part of the Jefferson County Road & Bridge division of public works, do an outstanding job. They have to. If the snow isn’t properly plowed with every storm, the pile up would be immense, and despite the usual teasings of not getting out ‘til spring, in that case, in all seriousness we probably wouldn’t. 

However, all of that snow they do such a wonderful job of removing from the road, must end up somewhere. And for my stretch of road, that just so happens to wind up being the foot of my driveway -- like the law of trajectory for buttered toast. It’ll be two days before I can find my mailbox again. I go back to working on the end of the driveway; Jay starts at the beginning. And in the light of the moon’s reflection off the snow, one can get a very real feel for what existence would be like in black and white. 

Finally, we meet in the middle around 7:30.

“Do you think I should go?” I ask.

Jay has to go down into town to shovel out and open up the fly shop today, bad roads or not. He’s the only one scheduled, and that’s one of the drawbacks to a small two-man operation: it doesn’t afford the luxury of sick or snow days.

“No…well, I’d stay tucked in here if I was you.”

It’s snowing harder again, and as much as I want to risk the roads – bamboo’s song being something of a siren – a day at home with the woodstove roaring inside and a blizzard roaring out, has a pull of its own – and it, as well as cautionary words last night emailed from my mother, tether me back. I worry her enough in life, I think, and send her an email: Staying home today. Plus, there’s time yet for my rod. Plenty of time. And it feels only right, true to its spirit, to not be rushed. But then again, maybe that’s just my tired rationale for staying home and nearby a roaring fire all day. Maybe. Yet these kinds of things we have to tell ourselves sometimes, we who tend to push ourselves a little too hard -- they are needed -- and I’m told you can justify anything -- yet some people are much better at this than others.

Quickly, I email Frank that I won’t be making the drive up, and set to making more coffee. After a few minutes, I pour it into a mug made by a New Mexican potter that my sister gave me for Christmas one year, and head back to my desk to tie some flies. I take black dyed elk hair, improvise, and end up with beetles. Beetles….of all things. I don’t often fish terrestrials for some reason. Why did I just tie these? Maybe it’s cabin fever, dreaming of backcountry summer streams where the trout are more than willing – where it’s quite easy for a fisherman to feel as though he’s being flirted with. No deep nymphing and no cold split shot. In that place, at that time, the trout come freely and warmly, and misses are the fisherman’s fault entirely -- like not picking up on an obvious green flag. Yes, she’s interested. The misses almost seem to come without price up in high country stream, without the pain of losing a fish, because you know there will always be another. Just like I surmise the good looking people in college know there will always be another. But I wouldn’t know about that. What I do know about, however, what I have learned, is that there very well might not always be another – and you shouldn’t plan on it (yet even so, that shouldn’t stop you from leaving). And in the same way, we can’t plan on those backcountry streams always having plenty -- always having another – at least, that is, if we continue thinking there is no price.

That type of backcountry small stream fishing -- while it doesn’t sound too difficult -- really is. Perhaps even more so than “technical” fishing -- for while wading a freestone stream cradled in a cirque which thousands of feet up is still covered with snow in late July, it is difficult to pay attention to your fly. Beauty in any form is often confusing, and distracting, and is almost always consuming.

Getting frustrated with my randomness, damn beetles, I move back near the woodstove,  settling into my rocking chair to watch the birds out the big picture window which looks up a draw. A few are out, puffed up against the snow. I know it’s for warmth, but it looks as though they are trying to intimidate the storm to a halt. Dark eyed juncos huddle beneath pine boughs, and when the snow lets up from time to time, white breasted nuthatches venture out for nibbles of suet on the feeders hanging underneath the eaves over the deck. The bully mountain jays and magpies though, aren’t as tough as they appear – I don’t see any of them until the snow stops completely and the sun breaks out.

Sunday, February 5, 2012 – 9:32 p.m.

Tonight, I write after two days of snow. Constant and grave in her charge of “storm,” leaving behind 41 inches. And tonight as I sit, hugged in the warmth of my woodstove, my muscles remembering why wet articles of clothing are draped on chairs and over the fire screen, I think about my rod. And I almost wish I had taken the chance on the roads. Almost. But then I think about watching birds feed and snow fall, savoring the slowness of it all -- like molasses being poured into batter. I haven’t left my house for three days now, and my mother was right, as always, the night before the blizzard hit when she said, “sometimes, you just need a day at home.” And sometimes, you just need a few...poured out like molasses.  

Listen to the story: