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.