Cold Turkey

Last Saturday I made a brief visit to Naples Creek. The signs weren’t looking good. Again I found low clear water, which means poor fishing on the Finger Lake tributaries for anyone looking to find larger trout. And then the snow and wind intensified.DSCN2295

Predictions for the holiday week were dour: cold and snowy, with the fly-fishing season placed on hold. Leighanne and the kids would visit friends and family in Virginia.  I elected to stay home to keep the fire burning (and the animals fed) and then to join my sister’s family, along with brother and mom, for a day of feasting. I would miss my chance to autumn fly-fish in the southern mountains where the wife and kids were visiting, but I would try not to complain. After all, the fall season had been excellent until now, and the sudden ice and snow (which used to be the norm) seemed a small price to pay for all the good times spent outdoors in recent weeks.

DSCN2250I don’t know if my fly-fishing is an “addiction,” or not, but observers might very well say it is. It seems that if I don’t get my massive quota of days per year on the stream, then something is out of whack. “Something” is off the rails, and it can’t be me, correct? Sure, I fuss about the “down time.” I’ll look at the broken fly rod that needs repair. I’ll tie a few soft-hackle flies and dream about the excellent caddis hatches found a couple of months ago. I’ll pick up an old fly-fishing book and reread a certain chapter for the nineteenth time. I’ll check the weather forecasts for another upcoming week and wonder if I’ll really feel like casting when there’s ice forming in the rod guides.

I don’t know if this is an addiction or not, but it feels as though it could be. There’s no DSCN2227halfway house for me.  I’ll just have to open up some unused doorways in my life while keeping one foot in that doorway known as “fishing.” For truth be told, I can’t just pack it all away and go “cold turkey.”

I’m reminded that I’ll soon be at a table where the roast turkey will be passed around, and where I’ll join family members I haven’t seen in a while. I’m not a big fan of holiday bird but I’ll probably take a slice to be congenial. It’ll be good to step outside the usual parameters and to sit with people who are kin. And when the talk begins to slip and slide into the shadowy realms of politics and social media, I’ll go tight-lipped as a wary brown trout and be thankful to have had a good year fishing. I’ll try to appreciate all family and friends, and be damned grateful to have them around.

DSCN2199Cold turkey? No thanks. I’ll find a way to keep my life on the rod and line. With that being said, best wishes to all of you for a great holiday season.DSCN1775DSCN2293DSCN2240

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About rivertoprambles

Welcome to Rivertop Rambles. This is my blog about the headwaters country-far afield or close to home. I've been a fly-fisher, birder, and naturalist for most of my adult life. I've also written poetry and natural history books for thirty years. In Rambles I will mostly reflect on the backcountry of my Allegheny foothills in the northern tier of Pennsylvania and the southern tier of New York State. Sometimes I'll write about the wilderness in distant states, or of the wild places in the human soul. Other times I'll just reflect on the domestic life outdoors. In any case, I hope you enjoy. Let's ramble!
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6 Responses to Cold Turkey

  1. Les Kish says:

    Hi Walt, Happy Thanksgiving. Time to re-stock the fly box. I tied a few soft hackles the other day too. Better tie a few scuds too……

  2. Thanks Les, and same to you. A few scuds for trout enticement over the winter sounds like a good idea. The spring creek may be the only game in town.

  3. Alan says:

    Walt, that yellow and grouse looks good.
    Happy Thanksgiving

  4. Thank you, Alan, and have a great evening at it.

  5. Ken G says:

    The hardest comment to make on Thanksgiving… That’s pretty good turkey and the stuffing too.

    I’m afraid I no longer sound sincere.

    The addictions of our youth are long gone Walt or we would be. Gotta keep one or two around. Fishing and cheap cigars for me. AND, I actually had a couple of beers yesterday. That makes me one shy of a six pack for the year so far. Far cry from those years past.

  6. Those addictions are either gone, Ken, or we’ve gotten wise enough to turn down the flame beneath them so we don’t get scorched and totally addled. With fishing, however, I think I’ve turned up the torch as high as she’ll go. Cigars I’ve kicked, but I enjoyed them, along with a pipe, during my middle years. No more tobacco. Beer (esp. home brews) will be close at hand till I’m 80, if I get that far.

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