The day begins like a sheet of paper waiting for words. Its composition won’t go digital until later, when darkness comes again. Two bald eagles sit together on a carcass near the road as I go speeding by, wishing I could stop and view them on my route to Slate Run for a visit. The day begins like an exercise in writing.
Dylan’s “Stuck Inside of Mobile…” beams in from a satellite and fills the car with song. A hunter, face behind a woolen mask, stands with shotgun in the middle of the Blackwell Road in front of me as Bob sings of an uncontrolled “Grandpa” (just before he died) who builds a fire on Main Street and then shoots it full of holes. Yeah Mama, I’m glad to be driving on, along the curves and through the holes of surrealistic day, the end not yet in sight.
I’m late to a meeting of the Slate Run Sportsman group. Someone there says, “You weren’t supposed to go fishing yet,” and I reply, “What month is this, November?” Just because the days are shorter doesn’t mean my brain has to stay on track. Soon, Marion presents me with a gift of artificial flies, their beauty hooked inside my day, a promise of fair seasons yet to come.
I’ll meet Jim at the Hotel Manor, pull out from the Penn State/Minnesota football game displayed above the bar, and hit the water. Word follows word; sentence follows sentence; no one follows anyone (thankfully) through the chilly hours (34 degrees F.!) of the Slate Run Gorge.
The stream flows like a fullback on a Saturday mission, ready to be downstream and away. We cast our players carefully– yes, Green Weenie, Prince Nymph (formerly known as Isonychia), Pheasant-Tail, and Egg– Jim laughs at the notion of an artificial egg rolling over bedrock like a football or a song, but it’s the only pattern of the day to lure wild brook and brown trout to their table.
The day ends quickly for the anglers’ page. The sun, like a warm fire high above the wooded gorge, banks itself prematurely, fills with dark holes of the universe as we head homeward, breaking down our gear, thankful for yet another opportunity to fish.
Later, I’m reminded of a phrase from the writer, Henry James, who said, “Letters mingle souls.” That ideal, a letter from an ordinary day, is cast for you, my readers. And like so many others now in cyberspace, it welcomes a response– in words or in a thought.