I am a John Gierach fan, have been ever since I discovered his “Sporting Life” column inside the back cover of “Fly Rod & Reel” magazine. I started reading him about the time that Nick Lyons stopped his “Seasonable Angler” column in the identical location inside “Fly Fisherman” magazine (at least that’s my recollection of the timing). I now own about five of his books, which are really compilations of essays on angling for trout and a bunch of other things to do outdoors. I will own all his books someday, but for now I have enough to re-read them every year or so.
In his book, No Shortage of Good Days, Gierach has a chapter titled “A Good Year.” In that chapter he quotes Annie Dillard as saying, “There is no shortage of good days; it’s good lives that are hard to come by.” As winter was pushing its way into fall I had picked up Gierach’s book and was reading two or three chapters before bed each night. I thought my last trip on December 6th would, in fact, be my last until next March or April (I did not post a blog on that trip), but reading Gierach’s description of winter fishing the east-slope of the Rockies inspired me to visit Cold Creek this morning as the sun was rising. Besides, the weather turned unseasonably warm in Vegas with daytime temperatures pushing 70 degrees, and fishing in the wee hours of December 23rd would seem to favor absolute Cold Creek solitude… something I have not experienced for quite a while.
The temperature, according to the Trout Truck, was a balmy 38 degrees when I arrived at the pond this morning. But, as predicted, but for the wild horses I had it entirely to myself; no campers, fifth-wheels, or ATVs anywhere in sight. I was able to enjoy the serenity and contemplate the events of this past year. As for the fishing, I had seven hookups but just three were brought to hand. I played the four I lost for a while, but their battle-worn mouths didn’t hold up too well. All were feeding very deep in the pond; hookups were practically on the bottom. I will say that one of the three was a pleasant surprise, not in the sense of size, but its coloration was still pretty vivid compared to the other two. Must have had good genes from somewhere in the hatchery spawn.
It has been a good year, with many blessings from The Lord. There is much to be thankful for here. I am most thankful for my son, Doug, who overcame his personal struggles this past year and reasserted himself into our family, and back into “life” in general. I am so proud of the man he’s become, and I thank God every day that Doug is my son.
In fact, all my sons have been blessings to me this year. Each of them is thriving, working a good job, and taking care of their business. Even my youngest, Evan, has found part-time employment while starting his freshman year at college, becoming one of his store’s top sales persons. And speaking of school, while Evan started his college adventures this year, Emily also started kindergarten. Emily seems to be very pleased about going to school, even if getting up for the 7:55 AM “first bell” can be taxing most mornings. Emily is blessed to have brothers who love her, and who are willing to babysit her on those occasional nights when we can’t, or don’t want to, take her out with us. And it doesn’t hurt at all that their girlfriends love to shower her with attention, too.
On the table in our foyer is a family picture from last January. On the matting that accents the picture are three verses from Psalm 127:
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,(Psalm 127, NKJV)
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.
As for me, personally, working on our 35th year of marriage is a milestone worthy of a blessing, I should say. Denise has been the love of my life for as far back as I can remember (would you believe 6th grade), and to have shared all these years with her is a testimony to her generous, patient, and forgiving ways. All in all, we’ve had a great 35 years that most would covet, and I pray the Lord gives us another 35 on the down side. And work was as stimulating as ever in 2014, filled with challenges and new directions. I can sense, though, that I’m beginning to long for a new start, and so being within 2-years of retirement eligibility has begun to free my mind toward other possibilities, but most of all spending more time with Denise and our family.
As to the fishing, which this blog is mostly about, 2014 was a very good year. Best of all, fishing Dacey Reservoir with my brother Bruce and son Doug was a special treat. In fact, the four days that Bruce visited was extra special for me, probably because it was the first time I recall we ever fished together. Of course, Wayne Kirch was especially generous this year, culminating in my feature article published in Southwest Fly Fishing magazine. A standout year on the water, all the way around.
So, while the fishing was very enjoyable today, two days before Christmas, my thoughts were reminiscing of a year with no shortage of good days. I pray that God blesses you in the same way.