[Reflections from a time on or near the opening of the regular trout season in New York State]
A beautiful day with sun and bluebird song… just before the weather crashed and brought back snow and wintry temperatures.
April Fool’s Day, not a time of cosmic harmony.
I fished the headwaters of Naples Creek, above the circus of fishing tourists wielding their plastic nets, red wigglers, egg sacs, spinners, and (yeah) artificial flies.
Okay, I participated, loosely, in a religious event. It was gonna be different this year. The winter had been warm; the spawing rainbows had largely dropped back to the lake already; the crowd would be relatively thin…
The crowd was thinner than it usually is, but still kind of fat. I headed up Tannery Creek, Reservoir Creek, Eelpot Creek (upper Naples), Grimes Creek, and “Crapper Creek,” where I took took a tumbing slide down a high bank and, oh so fortunately, landed unhurt.
Instead of seeing a band of stars flashing across my eyes, I saw leaping trout on a bridge (even though no one else seemed to be catching large rainbows this day). I saw the muskrat that swam from an undercut, intercepting my drifting fly then swimming into another hole upstream before the hook popped free.
I saw loons on a local marsh and farm pond. Actually my wife saw them first, a few days after the “Opener,” but maybe I was seeing them in preview as I lay there on the mud of Crapper Creek. Who knows. It’s nice to see these migrators whenever or wherever they appear.
I saw, again, the first bloodroot flower of the season. It wasn’t a great specimen. It was partly closed and a bit disheveled so I didn’t bother taking a photo. Instead, I thought of the flower as recorded in Earthstars, Chanterelles, Destroying Angels, my new book of poetry. I rose from the bedrock of the creek and climbed back toward the car.