Friday, April 25, 2014

You Can Go Home Again

Brook trout and dandelion greens, quintessential components of late April in Maine, are finally available. I dug the first mess of dandelions last week and at the same time, caught several brook trout.

My meal that night was completely foraged and home-grown. The one non-foraged item was some of my home-grown and home-canned corn, a real treat that I save for special occasions. In partaking of this, I knew that the winter had officially passed and spring was here in truth and deed.

I have a little anecdote to share today. This warmed my heart and I hope it touches readers in the same way.

This morning saw me upstream on a local brook, by a little waterfall, happily catching and releasing 8- to 10-inch brook trout. I kept two for dinner. On my way back, nearly to where my car was parked, I saw two youngsters fishing. These boys were probably 10 years old, give or take a year. They had caught nothing and neither would they, since the place they were fishing held no trout. I knew that because I had tried it earlier.

I greeted them in passing and one of the boys politely asked, “Mister, do you know where we can catch some trout?” This was the kind of question I wait for people to ask, especially youngsters.

Pulling the bigger of my two trout from my creel, I held it up and said, “I sure do.” The boy’s eyes grew as big as saucers. They were that excited over the prospect of catching a few brook trout.

I told them exactly where to go and how to go about it. With all the ambition, hopes and dreams that 10-year old boys have for trout fishing, the two began running to the appointed location. There, I’m certain, they made lasting memories, catching handsomely-appointed brook trout.

But there’s more to this than just my satisfaction of directing two youngsters to a productive trout hole. The boy who asked me if I could tell him where to catch some fish somehow reminded me of myself when I was about his age. Many years ago, when I was 10 or 12, I had a trout fishing buddy and we two would walk for miles in search of trout. Distance and time meant nothing to us. We only cared for the sound, smell and ambiance of the stream, and the trout that it held.

There was the essence of magic for us in the quest for trout. Along the way, of course, we learned many things, not just regarding trout. We saw nature because we encountered it firsthand. It’s amazing what a person can see by walking, rather than driving. Our trout fishing times were part of our early education.

The boys today had no way of knowing how they had helped something in me to come full circle. But they fulfilled an important task. They allowed me to see myself…myself and my buddy Dan, as we were so very long ago.

Who says you can’t go home again? 

Here's a note to Don from Enfield. I answered your comment. Just go to the April 15 blog post to see it. Sorry I missed it earlier. Tom. 

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