Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Solitude and friendship

For no real reason I will, on  more occasions than not, end up fishing by myself. My husband works long hours at his job and only has Sundays off. So if I want to head out during the week or on a Saturday I go it alone. It isn't a big deal because after teaching chemistry to 125 students each day; well, I do appreciate the solitude.

No bells. No silly excuses for no homework. No administrative foolishness, nothing. Just pure peace and quiet. My time on the river is time for me to appreciate the beauty that surrounds me while waiting patiently for that tug when a fish hits my fly.

When the opportunity came to help teach a fly fishing class to a group of gals I jumped at it. And so I had a day of, "Girls Gone Fishin'" and it was a blast. But it didn't stop there.

A couple of the gals wanted to get together and fish once a month or more if we could figure out the time. We chatted up a date and meeting arrangement and yesterday was it. Meeting time was 5pm at UpCountry in New Hartford and it was simple; show up if you wanted to and we would head on out to the Farmington River.

The weather didn't really cooperate as it started to rain on the drive over but fish don't care, they are already wet and besides, I had a rain jacket. But if you know me you would already know that a little bit of rain doesn't bother me at all. Thunder and lightning will make me walk on water but rain is not a problem. Cold? Hell, I love the cold even more. I have a great picture of my waders with a coating of ice that formed on 'em while I was fishing for steelies on the Salmon River in Pulaski, N.Y. So rain? No problem.

Lisa was the only gal that was able to get out for the evening. We headed up to a spot and chatted while we put our waders on and chatted on the way to the river. Once at the river we each took a spot and fished. She moved this way and that and I did some of the same. We would call out with some inane comment once in a while but mostly we fished.

At one point I thought I heard a noise so I looked up to see Lisa releasing a fish. I couldn't help but smile at how much fun she seemed to have. She netted it, took a look at it, removed the hook and watched it swim away. Then she looked up with a big ol' grin on her face and gave me a thumbs up. She was thrilled.

While we fished we saw that the steel blue clouds were parting, allowing the light from the Strawberry Full moon to break through. The light from the moon would make the river appear as a dark ribbon against the wooded background. Then, as if on cue, the bashful moon would cover up with the clouds and we would have to wait a couple of minutes before she appeared once more. We saw some blue herons swing down the river looking for a fishy tidbit and Lisa remarked how prehistoric they looked with their long necks and silent wing movement taking them up and down the river. There were birds flitting over the water snapping up the sulfurs, caddis and blue wing olives as they made their first flight after emerging. These fly catchers would careen about and you would think they were going to hit the water when at the last second they would change course and head to a tree branch. The coolness of the air reminded me of fall despite knowing it was June and I actually started to feel chilly.

I couldn't help but feel jealous - that guys must fish with their buds for pretty much the same reason. You all get together, head out, joke, laugh and do foolish stuff but in the end you get to fish and the companionship is a bonus. But for us gals it is not so easy as there aren't that many of us that get out and fish. I don't know why that is and I suppose it will remain a mystery of life.

So we fished until dark and headed back to the river bank. We started another conversation on the way to our cars, talked about the evening and other things before each of us headed on home.

Solitude, friendship and a river. What a great combination.

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