Sunday, February 15, 2015


This is the third and final (for now) guest post from my buddy Chad. He is a great writer, fisherman and father. I hope you enjoy his work and style as much as I do. 

these are the dull drums of winter.  grey after grey rolling over, spliced through with bluebird bone chills.  the impossible unstoppable encroachment of the shelf ice over the stream edges.  your local shrinking from the cold and the wind.  and then finally, how can anything possibly live in there?  

the water so cold its black, so cold its perfectly clear.  the water is so thin between the shelf ice, the water that is still there.  all sentiment settled like sediment and the winter fishing is done.

but still, it is what you are, so it will be done.  and all hopes boil down into practice; of drifting your size 18 nothing nymph where you could possibly imagine a fish holding.  the practice of the minds eye, that other sight.  you are glad to be out with such low expectations.  you are glad to be out.

sunday mornings of my youth were spent in church.  carried there by the faith of my mothers, a station wagon, and no car seats.  the strong faith i always envied and wanted.  so genuine and so iron clad.  through all storms, something to lean on, and be carried by.

as i grew, i grew away from the church.   this to my mothers chagrin.  but one thing that has always stuck with me is what i learned to be the reasons we pray: to say thank you, to say i'm sorry, to ask for help, and to say i love you.

sometimes my mother will ask me if i went to church on a weekend, and i'll truthfully say i did not.  she will respond that it is my soul, chad.  which is a sharp and well placed arrow.  

but i do go, when the smell of old incense fills the silent congregation and my mother takes her place to the right in the pew we always sat at, i smell the cold winter air and take my place.  i cast and cast, all alone.  every one of those casts are prayers, and all four kinds at that.  not the stillborn dreams of a nihilist, but the honest prayers of one who is faithful.  if you keep doing it right, something will finally take, and you find your higher power.

sit on a rock and listen to the winter wind come.  hear it from a ways off, and then see it in the tops of the trees as it nears, then feel it on your face as it joins with the song of the river.  kneel and cast and listen.  It is resonant, lovely, gentle and strong; the sound of these hymns.  

the colors of a winter trout, lit up like stained glass in the church window.  and against all odds, i have it in my net.  a small thing, but one to pour your faith into and be faithful to.  and i dip my hand into the stoup of the river, the holy water, to cradle my faith and release it.  my mother and i, both at church.

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