Spent today fly fishing in the mountains with a couple of friends and the legendary Hugh Hartsell. (And no, since a couple of you will ask, I did not run into “beautiful, smart and godly fly fishing woman” today. But you never know when she might appear.) Hugh was kind enough to wade in alongside me to coach and lend wisdom on “all things trout.” 62 years of fishing on the rivers have taught him much.
He’s like the Trout Whisperer or something…
He sent me out with a fly of his own making: the Smoky Mountain Blackbird.
It works if you work it.
The catches were small, but stunning. God’s handiwork, spoken into existence. His infinite creativity on display in a sliver of life held in my palm. I know He could have just made them all plain, grey and neutral…
But He didn’t.
He fashioned them for cold mountain pools. He streamlined their bodies for stability and strength. He splashed color and dappled patterns and matched them to their surroundings to the point where, when motionless, they are almost invisible.
But early this morning, when lowering that first little trout back into the flow of the water, the sun hit him just right. He was ablaze with beauty.
I stopped my movement and literally gasped.
He was gasping for his world, and I was catching my breath having been given a glimpse of his life below the surface.
I faced him upstream, gently placed him into the ripples and felt him revive instantly. He left my palm and became a phantom again.
I straightened up, gazed downstream and considered how a small fish could make me feel very small amid the wonder of it all.
Waded a mile of streams.
Tied enough clinch knots so that my fingers will be working them in my sleep.
Learned that if you think you see a strike, react. “It’s always a fish,” says Hugh. If it’s not a fish, and you react, you were just mistaken; if it is a fish, and you don’t respond, you missed a catch.
Found out that many trout will spit out something alluring the very moment they discover it’s fake…which is more than I can say for most humans (myself included).
Discovered if you take the time to correct something before it becomes a bad habit, you’ll progress faster later. Take the time to do it right.
Just like life.