Friday, April 1, 2011

Opening Day 2011

My dream just before waking up on April 1 was that the snowstorm had gone out to sea. Reality, of course, was far different. Nonetheless, my pal Tony Wieman and I decided to go out trout fishing anyway, since there was at that time only about one inch or less of snow on the ground.

We first visited the spot where we always go every opening day. This is in a kind of chasm and the only way to reach the water is to climb down a steep, rocky bank. But today, the rocks were slippery and it was probably foolish of us to attempt the descent. We did it anyway and made it to the bottom unscathed.

But the fish didn’t bite and soon, we agreed to go to the next stream on our opening day list. Snow began falling harder and now several inches hung heavy on trees and shrubs. Still, we proceeded down the brook, this one much easier to negotiate.

And fortune smiled on us. The little brook was filled with fish and we caught all we wanted, only stopping when the snow became even more difficult to contend with. It was okay by me, too, since my fingers were so wet and cold that they had lost all flexibility. And our pants legs were soaked on account of walking through snow-covered brush. In other words we were miserable. But happy.

It was strange to be on this stream on April 1 and not have the opportunity to check out what wild plants had sprung up. Usually, false hellebore would have poked its pointy, tightly packed head out of the fertile, streamside ground. Buttercups, too, at least the foliage, would be in evidence. And usually, an early-arriving woodcock would flush from the place where early woodcock always find earthworms to eat.

But not today. The trout were there and so were we. But no woodcock, no plants, just cold, wind and a lot of heavy snow.

So that was opening day 2011. I’ve seen them as bad and also, far better. It makes little difference, though. These are the wayside marks for nature’s calendar and that’s the calendar I pay most attention to.

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