Updated: Nov 2, 2022
"Accurately recalling an entire day of fishing is like trying to push smoke back down a chimney, so you settle on these specific moments."
This month's post is a little divergent from my usual blog style. I have included two pieces of prose from my journaling notebook and a Japanese style poem called a Tanka. Most people are familiar with a Haiku, well a Haiku is simply the first 3 lines of a Tanka. A Tanka is meant to convey a mood or event with a 5,7,5,7,7 syllable count in 5 lines. Anyway, I hope you enjoy... maybe it will remind you of time spent in your own woods or the walk to your favorite home waters....and as always, I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Feeling at Home
(field notes from the woods)
When you first enter the woods it is quiet; like returning to an empty residence that you have been absent from for too long.
There is stillness.
Maybe you hear the ringing in your ears, a jet overhead, a slight breeze moving the leaves above. One by one, the animals begin to dismiss your presence. The magpie is first. The crow and woodpecker, a red tailed hawk. A bumble bee, a grasshopper. A chipmunk begins to chirp. An elk bugles in the distance. A chickadee. The cricket begins his evening serenade. A northern flicker alights upon a branch above.
You are home once again.
(a Japanese Tanka while stuck at road construction, llano is Spanish for a grassy plain)
A hot western wind
Dry bits of grass in movement
Smoky clouds drifting
Antelope cross the llano
My feet in cold trout water
(observations of a forgotten fence row)
There is a row of cedar fence posts no longer in use as such.
Now lacking the armature of twisted wire, the cedar fence posts stand, still straight and proud and strong.
Over many changes from spring to summer to autumn and winter, the willow and aspen trees have matured and fallen; returning themselves gradually to the earth.
Resolved, the cedar posts driven into the ground neatly in a line many decades prior, continue to stand century, ever ready to be recalled to their duty.
I pass the cedar fence posts on my way to fish at the river.
It's a small thread of precious water.
A spring creek quietly flowing down from the elevations, except in spring when the melting snow causes it to sing loudly from its swollen banks throughout the mountain's valley.
It is where the livestock, once safely contained behind the lines of the cedar fence posts, watered themselves in the summer heat.
Wild fish caught from the river nourished the sheepherders, on evenings such as this, cooked over open flames through the course of the warm grazing season.
The end of day, spent without care, laughing faces illuminated by the flickering flames of a campfire.
Stomachs and hearts full.
The cedar fence posts watching over the flock, keeping the animals close and protected.
The sheepherders have long gone, but the cedar posts carry on, standing silently, almost invisible.
Herds of elk now make their way past the cedar fence posts to drink at the river and I pass by to fish for the native trout,
saluting the steadfastness of the cedar fence posts as I do.