No, the Cold Dew isn’t some new trout stream I’ve discovered. Rather, it’s a mini-season designated for early October by the ancient Chinese. The ancients, like those of us responding to shorter daylight hours and to longer, cooler nights, took note of the changing foliage, the coloration of leaves, the cricket’s chirr, the owl’s hoot, and the dewy grass that soon would crystallize into frost. It seemed like a small season within a season, and it’s also a time to activate an angler’s blood grown weary from weeks of summer lethargy.
Fishing the Cold Dew is about returning to a place I love, returning after heavy rains and house work, after polarizing forces in the social realm attempting to make a hash of my existence. Ah, but fly fishing! Catching and releasing trout, focusing intently on the moment of a drifting fly– what a simple thing of beauty, solitary action that engages one with something greater than the human world alone.
The heart is frugal, tight with friend and family connections, happy with the land and water, the dimensions of a soul that keeps one active and involved. My age brings autumn thoughts, for sure. But why feel limited because of our mortality? Everything dies, we say, but the dead say nothing. Fishing the Cold Dew brings refreshing balance.
“You should have been here last week!” says a local angler sitting on the river bank, his glazed eyes peering at the rapid flow, at great fish leaping tight-lipped toward the water’s source, ignoring fishermen’s repeated casting, every effort snipping one more strand of hope. “You should have seen the fish we caught!” Arrggh… The Incompleat Angler bangs a head, figuratively speaking.
Away from the crowds, it felt good to be on the water once again. The autumn caddis seemed to pirouette and twist away from the surface tension, getting notice from the browns. They skittered like an old man wobbling over river stones, alert to late-year possibilities, to the struggle of staying balanced both in heart and in the mind.