Over a period of several afternoons and evenings, I’ve been shuttling between the fields near home and a trout stream just beyond the ridge. The aging farm fields near the house are reverting into mostly woodland, and the trout stream changes every year, meandering through the sands and gravel banks, doing what it pleases, how it wants.
As my life reverts to a schedule shuttling between home and the work place, I also try to interweave the fields and waterways as before. I need to stay active out there and see myself as a player in the changing game of nature. I keep the tools of “lo-technology” close at hand, i.e., the walking stick, camera, fly rod, and binoculars. Any one of these tools is like a shuttle for this life.
Whereas the stream had recently been a hotbed of fly-fishing activity for wild trout, thanks to a dash of cooling rains, the water level was down again tonight, and fishing was a minimal affair, though not without its pleasure. Several brook trout and a brown, small but pretty, rose to the dry fly, though I may have done better with a wet.
Roderick Haig-Brown, the renowned Northwestern fly-fisher of late, once said that there’ll be days when fishing far exceeds your expectations, and there’ll be days when fishing is a total wipe-out, but either way, the outing is always better than a stay at home. I agree, considering that the risk involved usually has a pay-off and at least some degree of pleasure, but disagree in the sense that staying home can also be rewarding– especially if your sense of home includes the territory just beyond the door.
For example, the fields of home provide a little education and a dash of fun whenever I set my expectations in line. At times, the fields and forests can provide as much satisfaction for me as the streams and rivers do. And so I say, long live the fields and streams of home. Long may the Weaver of Existence shine upon your hills and valleys, shuttling the warp and weft of your enjoyment, wherever it may be.