Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January's Black Cloud

There are winters that seem to breeze by without much drama or strife and pretty much transition from fall to spring leaving me wondering where all the snow went. This in not one of those.
It's only January and already I've been skulking around here with a scowl befitting a monster villain on Scooby Doo. I haven't resorted to throwing things yet, but I can feel it coming. It's that black cloud again and I know when it gets here, it can be awfully difficult to shake. Otis the Wonder Dog has been staying pretty close and keeping an eye on me... frequently putting his feet up on my painting chair and giving me doggie kisses because he knows. He always tries to help, dropping his favorite ball on my foot and wagging his tail.
Keeping my mind busy with work here in the studio has kept me productive, but done nothing to improve my disposition. It was 22° outside and the forecast was calling for highs in the single digits most of the next 10 days. I really needed a break.
Knowing it would not be any warmer for the next week or so, I put my fishing bag in the truck and headed for a trout stream. At the very least, I would get some fresh air in my lungs and work some of the cobwebs out of my brain. Of course I was hoping for a trout or two, but that was almost too much to ask on a day like this. Still, I need to get out and go through the motions.
As it turned out, the fish were cooperative and I managed to catch a few. It seemed strange to hear myself laughing on the deserted stream, but the trout made me giggle. The sting of frigid air on my hands after releasing them was another story.
For 3 hours, I moved cautiously along with the wind and snow biting at my face. I'd make a few casts letting my flies cover the better areas of the pools, take a couple of small steps upstream, and make a few more casts. I knew the trout would be very near the bottom in this cold water and my flies were constantly hanging up on rocks, sticks, and leaves. But every once in a while, the line would pause and I'd lift my rod to feel the dull throbbing of a fish. Of course, under normal circumstances this would be nothing remarkable. Today, it was shear joy... if for no other reason than the contrast of my mood just hours before and the absurdity of fly fishing in such nasty weather.
I had planned to fish until dark, but could no longer feel my feet. It wasn't far back to the truck, but when I got there, my wading shoes were frozen solid. With my cold fingers operating at about 30% dexterity, I had a hell of a time getting my boots off. The wind was picking up and there came a sense of ergency to get this done. I really wanted to be in the cab of the truck getting warm!
By the time that was done, it was beginning to get dark. I carefully put my fly rod back in its case and stored the reel in my fishing bag. The truck had been running, so it was warm inside and I huddled inside letting the heat soak into my body. Again, I heard myself laughing. It's no wonder people think I'm freakin' nuts!

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