It Came From a Dream

There’s nothing like a wild free-flowing run… The statement seemed so obvious to me that I almost disregarded it. I was in Rhode Island for several days, enjoying myself but absent from the Opening Day of Trout Season in New York, so when the statement came to me along with streamside imagery in a dream, its directness and simplicity loitered till it struck me in the heart.

Blackstone River, Pawtucket, RI. For better or worse, the Industrial Revolution in the U.S. began here.

My absence from the opener wasn’t any big deal. I’d be home soon enough. It wasn’t as though I had totally missed out on fly-fishing over the previous months of winter. In fact, my fishing seasons didn’t have an “opener” any more; I hadn’t really felt one since the days when I was young. For me, baseball season has an Opening Day. Fly-fishing, on the other hand, has me casting year around wherever it’s legal and the trout are willing. Still, something nagged at me and said, you know, you might be having fun right now, but wouldn’t it be nice to get back on the stream?

Dining Room, Wm. Vanderbilt “Marble House,” Newport, RI. When the brain is gilded with gold extravagance….

So, it came to me in a dream: There’s nothing like a wild free-flowing run… Like a first warm day in spring, with low, clear water pouring off the slopes… The statement seemed to mirror my growing interest in the distance between reality and dream, between the actuality of fly-fishing and the dream of fishing under ideal conditions. I find that the distance between the two concepts is an interesting place to be, one that warrants some consideration as a writer. And, in rare cases where dream and reality seem to be one and the same thing, well, darn if it doesn’t feel like heaven for a while.

Osprey nest, adult gone fishing in a wild, free-flowing run…

I’d get to that wild free-flowing stream as soon as I could. For now, I had other obligations to fulfill. Everything arrives in its own sweet time, they say. I enjoyed a visit to Providence and Pawtucket and Newport with my daughter. Back at home I had readings and book signings to prepare for. I still had hours set aside for teaching and other duties. There were good things and fair things (and foul things, too) in the nature of each day– but damn, there was nothing in a fly-fisher’s heart quite like… a wild free-flowing run.

a clammer on the Narragansett flats…

It was fun to watch the gulls drop clams onto the rocks to break them open at lunchtime…

Brent Franklin recently found this small gem in White Oak Canyon, an artful incorporation of that wild free-flowing run…

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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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10 Responses to It Came From a Dream

  1. Brent says:

    Nice to see something quite familiar in that post! Before the year is out, I’ll be more familiar with Alyssa’s new haunts, too.

    Reading this, I realized that the “wild, free-flowing run” could almost be a metaphor for the daily experience of human life, with all of its insanities and inanities. Nice little piece, and a happy Opening Day to you!

  2. Dale says:

    Hi Walt who painted the stone it looks neat! Hope to see you at the meeting sat.
    Oh don’t forget my book I look forward to reading it!

  3. plaidcamper says:

    Walt, I hope you find many wild, free-flowing runs as the seasons shift, and that your reality mirrors the dreaming – as near as is possible in these interesting times…
    Splendid gull photograph!

  4. JZ says:

    So, there is nothing like a wild free flowing stream. Hard to argue that Walt, but there is a lot of magic that takes place in everyday moments. Reality often runs along side those candy dish dreams. People just don’t realize it! Through this blog, you serve-up those moments all the time. Thanks Walt for sharing another deeper prospective….

    • I hear ya, JZ! With open senses and an attitude, there’s magic to be found in the everyday, as well. I’m looking to rediscover it wherever, real soon. I hope you had a good session with those trout magicians recently. Thank you for the kind words, my friend.

  5. Bob Stanton says:

    This probably won’t surprise you any, but I often dream about streams. In fact, two in particular – one very real, the other a figment of my subconscious (probably what Freud would call the wish-fulfilment dream). The real one flows through a state game lands for nearly it’s entirety and is subject to the pressures of both logging and oil extraction. The loggers have come close enough that I could see a sweatshirt that they’d left behind while I fished from the opposite bank. The drillers suck water from the stream in summer, even when there is scarcely enough for the citizens of the drink. To call the dreams I have had about the health of this little stream nightmares might be a bit much, but they’re certainly not pleasant. To say that I feel a little proprietorial about it is fair though. My dream stream is just that, a little fly fishing Shangri La that must exist somewhere. Not too near, not too far, but behind a veil that wards off the all but the true pilgrims. Big trout, small trout, doesn’t matter, as long as they’re willing to take a well-presented fly. I know it’s out there somewhere, right?

  6. Bob, I’m not surprised that you have dreamed about streams. I suspect that such dreams are fairly common among serious anglers. The subject of these dreams is no less than the sustenance of life (clean water) in the form of beauty, itself. And I’ll wager that the wish-fulfillment stream, the ideal water (thanks to Freud, Jung, Izaak Walton, et al.) is dependent on the stream that shows the stress we humans place upon it. Yeah, it’s all rather interesting. As for your Shangri La Run, my bet is that it’s out there alright, waiting for one of your well-tied flies and another snag-free cast of the line. Go get it, Bob.

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