If nature be thus cautious to preserve...

I didn't catch a satisfying amount of fish on my end-of-the semester trip this year.  Couldn't get my head in the right place for some reason.  Took eight dumb hatchery trout out of a stocked stream on the first day and then struggled for the rest of the week.  It wasn't until my final few hours on the water that I began to feel in tune with what I was doing.

I spent  the better part of last Thursday morning at French Creek, a catch and release stream restricted to artificial lures.  Nothing was rising so I ended up drifting an assortment of nymphs past some snotty trout.  By 9:00 am, the weather began to cooperate and the sun went behind some thin clouds--just enough to make the day seem a bit more promising.  Even so, only one over-anxious nine-inch Brown came out to play.

When the fishing is bad you have to find your solace elsewhere.  I watched a bald eagle tending its young in a huge nest, saw some wild turkeys and even came face to face with a mink, who stared truculently back at me for a few seconds.  The day, the isolation and the sound of a stream running over rocks had to be enough.

So it's only now--a week later--that I can begin to really appreciate the moment.  That day on French Creek just means more now.  Wordsworth, I expect, might have something to say about that.


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