It has been three weeks since I last waded a river, three weeks since my soul has been soothed, my spirit replenished. It seems that winter has become serious about reigning in that spirit, to the contrary of any prior uplifting forecasts.
It is beautiful in the mountains this morning, with snow clustered heavily upon the arms of the forest. I cannot be certain how much fell until after sunrise, when I’ll don boots and take it to task with the shovel, though half a foot at least has transformed our landscape.
The next two days tempt me, as they are the only days in a coming week promised to rise above freezing. The West Branch has the warmest flow, though still in the thirties, but wading is a precarious thing right now. Though I cannot guess their reasoning, NYC has increased the dam release substantially since the dawn of the New Year. Below Hale Eddy, where the border waters are open for fishing, the river flows at more than 900 cfs, not excessive for summer fishing, but enough to increase the dangers of wading in January. A slip, a dunking that’s invigorating in July, can be deadly now.
Temptation tests my judgement.
Clearing the driveway will have to suffice for my exercise today. A pair of older books have been added to my library, with hope for another, so I can continue to fish the rivers of the Golden Age. Polishing bamboo rods is always an option, though the rods fished often this past season have already been cared for. What I wouldn’t give for the opportunity to visit a fly shop, to talk fishing with like-minded souls for a time!
Evening approaches, the last rays of the sun light the ridgetops, and I sit and scan the surface. The simple beauty of the mountains and bright water delights. The mist rises in the cooling air and I wonder aloud: will the hatch come? Soft moments. The anticipation rises as the sun sets. So many evenings, yet never enough!