"There was the kind of wind burned happiness that comes from accomplishing not much but a few fish out of good water; no real point to the day just spent beyond the simple fact of its new existence." - Allen Jones, "Big Water, Big Fish" from the Big Sky Reader
The past year or so has been an interesting one for my wife & I. We were set on something that would determine a lot about the next phase of our life. That something isn't so certain anymore (our mistake for thinking that it ever was), which has led us to re-examine what we want out of our lives together and what the future holds.
A few years ago, when we decided to settle in, we were anxious to homestead, to let our roots take hold and to become a part of a place. Our family was close by, our good jobs were within a short commuting distance, and we felt like we could live here for quite some time.
Now, we find ourselves possibly looking at packing up our things, hitching what we can onto our backs, and doing a bit of exploring. This exploring could start within a year, 3 years, or ten. We just don't know anymore, and we are getting OK with that. However, I want to be prepared to leave when/if we decide to.
I was lucky enough to spend my twenties pretty much living out of a pack, working for the Park Service and The SCA, traveling and camping, eating burritos for three meals a day, and changing jobs and locations every six months. It was awesome and probably the best education I've ever received. However, I always have a slight pang of regret when I think back on all the places I lived and worked and, here it is, how much fishing I missed out on. I just wasn't a fly fisherman back then. I had a fly rod, but the only fly I knew how to even slightly use was a wooly bugger. Colorado, California, Maine, brook trout, cutties, big rainbows and wild browns - I missed out on all of them because I was too busy with other things. I don't blame anyone or anything, fly fishing just wasn't in my blood like it is now.
Which brings me to why I've been fishing so much. If/when we decide to pack it up and move on, I want to be able to leave this place knowing I explored every blue squiggly line I found on a map. I want to be able to KNOW this place. By knowing a place, I mean understanding its contours, its folds and schisms, smells and taste, its winter breath and summer sweat.
Looking back over this past year, I can assuredly say that I'm well on my way to truly understanding this small section of Pennsylvania. I've found some beautiful stretches of water, some with well worn paths along them, others still brushed in with thick rhododendrons and deep plunge pools. I'm beginning to become a blue line junky, constantly pouring over maps and tracing the curves of each blue line I see, day dreaming about the trout that may hide below it's surface.
...& some final numbers for 2014.
"...Numbers add up to nothing..." - Neil Young
Estimated # of trout caught & released - 155 - a mixture of Rainbows, Browns, Brookies, Native, Wild, & Stocked.
Streams fished - 24 different streams, 3 different states (Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia)
Days fished - Approximately 50.
Months of the year fished/caught trout - 12
Headspace created - infinite
Here's a nice little ditty that took me fishing the other morning. "Walking' Down the Line" by Sean Hayes.
Sketches & scatterings. Rooted in Pennsylvania along the Susquehanna River.