Early Sunday afternoon Karen and I had just returned from breakfast and I heard the river whisper.
When I arrived, the air was mostly cold and gray, but being out in the quiet, snow covered landscape could not have been more invigorating. Once I had my gear on, I crossed the ice and stone covered parking area and then climbed the short hill to the edge of the field. That field was all that was between me and the river, and it was covered with 2 feet of freshly fallen, undisturbed snow, from two days before. It was beautiful.
I slowly crossed the field, trudging through the snow in my waders. A cool, moist, light breeze chilled my face and hands, and my eyes reacted with salty tears. A noisy flock of geese flew overhead, breaking the silence, but soon were forgotten with each passing step. The snow crunched under my felt soles, and as the trees bordering the river got closer, I forgot why I had come. I had no thought of the rod in my hand, the pack filled with flies, tippet, snips and lip balm over my shoulder, or even that I was dressed for standing in the cold, clear river ahead. I was unencumbered, free.
When I arrived on the river bank, the sun broke briefly through the clouds and the sounds of a nearby farmer's cattle awakened my senses. Damn! I wished the walk was longer.
After rigging up my rod, I descended the bank and slowly waded into the clear, cold liquid that is home to all kinds of life that cannot survive in our world. The sun again hid behind the gray clouds as I plied the slowly flowing water with a tandem of nymphs, one smaller than the other. With each cast, the flies on the end of my leader gently bounced along the sandy bottom, but apparently the fish had no interest in them. Was it because I was fishing them with disinterest? Had the walk to the river provided me with what I was really after?
I continued to fish for an hour or so, even walking through the snow drifts along the bank to fish different runs. I read the water, changed flies, sharpened hooks and even seined the water to catch invertebrates the trout might be feeding on. And that's all I did. Mentally, I didn't even try to catch anything. I fished, and I was happy, but not because I fished.......