September 8th, 2008

One More Time
By James Castwell

Spring, for me anyway, always brings wondrous new hopes and visions of things to soon come. Things not even imagined, but yet, understood by my heart. Sights and sounds, places and people and happenings. Events of the future A future soon to be grasped. I love spring and look forward to it during the developing months harbingering it.

And then it is all too soon spent. Poof. What happened? Where did it go? Did it happen? Did I not see it develop and take shape, materialize? Did I taste it and smell it and feel it and hear it? Did I like it? But, now it's summertime. Of that I'm quite sure. One could hardly miss summertime; hot, muggy, bright sun. The sounds and smell of the hot days that cling to the evening and won't let go until midnight. Summers are all alike. And then comes fall.

You know what fall is. It is the real thing. The actual season that follows Indian Summer. It is a complete change of everything. Temperatures. Sky color. Day length. Night coolness. Everybody's activities. Work, school, jobs, recreation, sports, hunting, fishing, loving and living. It is a time to go the other way on the equinox. What came, now goes. What is now, changes. I am always confused by fall. So was my father, he was born on the first day of fall and we would always discuss it.

Baby ducks which had been born in the spring and have now grown to flyable size would lift off in the morning and head for a picked over corn or wheat field only to get themselves blasted to smithereens by my father, myself, several close relatives and a few thousand Mississippi flyway shot-gunners as a natural ritual of fall. Duck hunting. Legal. Normal. Family tradition. Baby Pheasants fell heir to the same fate. We killed them. We ate them. Deer hunting did not happen in our family until I took it up on my own. Then I did it too. Shot them and ate them, both with the gun and the bow.

Fly fishing for salmon developed in the Great lakes and I was there with a few hundred thousand others. The fish would return in the fall to spawn and could be found lurking about in estuaries of their natal streams and drivlets of water there they had been deposited as fly. They now return to spawn and die. Was it considered sporting to catch one while it was on a fish bed and in the actual act of spawning? Of course not. If it was only a foot away and you were not sure if it was going to spawn, or about to, or just had, or maybe would tomorrow, then was it alright to catch it? Certainly. Catch it: heck snag it. That idea lived a long time.

As for me I stayed with methods more often considered fishing than gathering. Of course there was trout fishing in the fall and it was the most inspirational. A spawning Brook Trout is about the most colorful creature God ever painted. A brookie looks great all year, but only in the fall does he seem to get a fresh Simonize job and take on an attitude that the ladies can't seem to resist. He saunters about the side seams of his stream like a lad in a zoot-suit, a man of leisure hanging around a lamp post on a Saturday evening, gold tooth twinkling in the gleam of the blinking neighborhood lights.

He heads up the small alleys, noses into the tiniest of possible haunts. Cool water lures him from the hot summer waters he has endured. I know for a fact that the small creek and spring he now enjoys will be gone next year. Slated for sure destruction by development. A mall is coming soon, late this fall to be exact. Parking lot, big shopping center. The nuisance spring that feeds him his cool water now will be blown apart and be no more. If he does spawn his fertilized eggs will never survive and if they did there would be nowhere for his young to return to anyway.

With measured skill and patience I lay down a perfect presentation of a tiny dry fly. He rises. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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