Anything Fly Fishing

   Between Seasons

2 Mins read

Let’s talk for a minute about old things, things that show they’ve been used and used truly well in the places where the stories about them came from. Stories which tell of scattergun hunting for pheasants in broad, golden fields, and casting flashy streamers for steelhead in remote Canadian rivers, and more – last spring when the flow was running high in Wolf Creek, camping one summer in a grassy meadow below Carson Pass, or an early fall in Wyoming when the yellow ‘quakie’ leaves twinkle against the ice-blue sky. The stories are an assemblage of places and things – dinged-up fishing reels, fat 12-gauge shotgun shells, old felt hats and worn-smooth chamois shirts – the weather, the country, the gear and tackle, but, above all, the experiences that inhabit them.

Remembering those moments now, it’s all there again. The country that you saw for the first time and knew you’d know forever. Ominous thunderheads rising over The Three Sisters, the afternoon sunlight unto Paradise Valley, and the dapple of rain on Lost Lake. They’re all a part of you, along with the scruffy, friendly people in them, too, your pals. And they’ll never be gone. Because we loved them.

Yes, we’ve all been there.

To the high country, where elk bugle and the bear is lord, to subtle little valleys holding water just waiting to be fished, to broad vistas that stretch out in front of us until tomorrow – we’ve seen them all in every season. Each of us can recall now the distinctive aroma of dry tules in the marsh, almost like bread crust, or the tannic bouquet of long-needle pines on the path back to fish camp. Think for a minute. Doesn’t fitting together the ferrules of your favorite rod, chambering a shell in that old Parker double, or woodsmoke gathered in your old canvas jacket bring it all back?

Yes, it does.

That’s when, during the long days between seasons, when spring is a distant horizon, and when the fireplace, your loved ones, and even your dog can’t bring you comfort, you are waiting – when you yearn for those days, again. When you think, hopefully, about adventures to come, there in the den, in the closet, in a creel or in boxes, is your stuff – your tackle and gear – custodians of the moments you experienced with them. And, at some time, during those long months, don’t all of us go back to the past? To indulge a special feeling that’s connected with the item in our hand. Don’t we re-sort the fishing flies, or heft the old Model 12 to our shoulder, or open the picture album and look at the photos, reassuring ourselves that the country is still there?

Yes, we do.

But it’s winter now. Last year is well over. The items you used are put away and the trout rivers await another season. It’s a time to reminisce. To oil a gun. Dress some flies. Patch waders. Think about the hearty taste of boiled coffee, the music of stony riffles and the intensity of deep pools, the glasses of whiskey in small town bars where only local people gathered.

Between the seasons is that time to go to that place where you keep the stuff you take with you to the outdoors, to sort out the memories and listen to their stories. To enjoy them all. Those experiences – as familiar and comfortable as your old boots, and always feel just as good – are a celebration of the things, the places, the stories that make us all a part of what we did, a sense of who we are, and why. They are the tableau of a life well lived, and appreciated.

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