Among fishermen, thank yous most often come in the form of new water – the sort that is given code words and whispered about in back rooms. Maybe a cup of flies from time to time, too. A reciprocal nod of the head. A treat when we’re about to bonk, and the sugar rush keeps us going. Keeps us giving, with a little more faith in humanity. At least, those members who fly fish (the rest really might be a lost cause, as you’ve always suspected).
Sometimes we are the thankers; sometimes we are the thanked. And sometimes, we vicariously receive both – through a dirt path leading through yucca plains to cattle pastures, watered green by a stream running through.
With a raccoon in the cattails, and bull snake swimming towards the bank, and redwinged and yellow-headed blackbirds channeling Kodály in the reeds. With an osprey’s meal, ready and waiting for him around 3:30 p.m. As if he’d made reservations. With the smell of black angus grazing northward and the light moving on west.
And with bass – naïve and eager -- in the warm beginnings of their summer.