May 26, 2010

Twenty Days...

All things come round to him who will but wait.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Winter has passed the torch to spring. She knows, and obediently strips the high ground of its white mantle, then stands back to admire her work.
I shift a restlessly in my tying chair, eyeing the calender on the wall above my vise. Above each new month I have written the number of days until my home water, my river, will be able to receive me again. This morning, I know the days are passing, albeit with a seemingly calculated malaise, and I am enthused about the prospect of my early season reconnaissances. Curiosity overwhelms me. I so look forward to my re-discoveries. Especially this year.
Flows are already at late June levels. This is a blend of both good, and bad news. Winter, due to the presence of la nina', basically took a vacation, leaving only minimal snowpack above the drainage systems of the river basins. Temperatures were abnormally high, and most of the moisture fell in the form of rain, even in the usually high-snow areas. And, although we are ahead of schedule as far as run-off is concerned, the spring, at least so far, has been an unsettled period of rain, lower than normal temperatures, and plenty of wind. Nature always gets the last say, it seems. She manages to balance the scales somehow.
I think about the river as the summer passes. This year will certainly see record low flows, even with the Army Corps of Engineers at the helm dictating flows out of Couer'd Alene Lake. yes, we will always, since the building of the 2 dams upriver in the early nineteen thirties, be at their mercy. Priorities evolve around the need to keep lake levels at a heighth whereby the landowners are guaranteed access to the lake via their boats and their docks. Everything else downstream suffers a bit because of this, because some things will just not be available to change.
But, as I've mentioned before, the trout of the Spokane are survivors. Not only do they maintain, they prosper. And now, pulling another softhackle from my vise, I am again visited by the that wonderfully puzzling dilemna. Where will I go first. Where will I decide to swing the fly that for years has brought me such success.
It's almost time to begin again. And each year brings with it the anticipatory state of exhilaration. Time passes. I pass with it, conscious of the forgiving nature of new beginnings. Of lessons learned.

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