Rose moles all a stipple

Spent most of last week fly fishing in the driftless region.   I would get up early and be on the streams in time to watch the sun come up.  Last Tuesday it was cool and overcast.  I spent a deliciously long time on one slow-moving pool filled with Brook Trout.  They were a mere ten to twelve feet in front of me.  I would lay a cast out, strip two of three times, and then feel that wonderful confidence-building tug on my fly line. 

The next day that same pool had rising trout, but not a one of them was interested in what I had to offer.  That's the fascinating thing about fishing a small spring fed stream.  There are times when everything is just right: the sky, the wind, the water, the appetite of the fish and the contents of your fly box.  But come back an hour later and everything will have changed.  So you live for these few redemptive moments.  

The entire semester was washed away last Tuesday morning.  Gone were the anxieties about work, about teaching, about getting another year older.  Instead, all I had to do was watch for rising trout and concentrate on a light touch with my cast.  I took five Brookies out of that pool.  Put every one of them back, too.  Of spring-fed creeks the writer and fly fisher Ted Leeson writes,
That a great many cultures have endowed springs with numinous properties--curative power, rebirth and regeneration, prophesy and oracle--is scarcely surprising, and that they would have been regarded as sacred seems almost inevitable.  Water is the ancient emblem of spiritual purification, and its symbolic power to absolve is as old as the need to be forgiven.
There are probably more productive uses of my time than fishing, but right now  I can't think of any.

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