Thursday, April 17, 2014

Early Lake Report: On A Mission

When you get up it looks like it might clear off. You throw the tube in the pickup, work until Noon, and head for Early Lake.

The wind is blowing hard from the Northeast, with a cold edge to it. You shoulder into it and go to work.

You strip a shiny, green-bodied muddler through the chop and soon pick up the first fish.

You slide him onto the stringer.

You're on a mission. An elderly couple with a taste for trout has asked if you would bring them some, now, in the spring, when they're cold and firm and tasty. They feel bad asking; they know you're catch and release. But you feel good saying yes.

The muddler is getting the job done. The trout are indeed cold and firm--and pan-sized.

A pair of Red-Necked Grebes has been making big, noisy circles around you. Every Spring one shows up all alone and wails piteously waiting for its mate. When the mate finally arrives they both wail joyfully at being together.

You finally catch their raucous calls on video. You're amused to read in Peterson's Field Guide to Western Birds that when not on their nesting grounds they are "usually silent."

The wind isn't slowing down. It's turning out to be one of those March days you get in April.

The swallows appear to be enjoying the wind, and you enjoy watching them master it.

You pick up the fourth fish.

As you net the little Rainbow and get it onto the stringer the wind blows the tube over the fly line and it snags on something under the seat. You don't really need a break, but you need to get the line loose. So you take a break.

You look for Bighorn Sheep; some years they have come down to the water's edge here.

Back at the tube the midges are swarming. You're amazed to think that the swallows can track these diminutive insects in a stiff wind.

You saddle up and kick back out. One more fish to go.

You decide to try a little bead head woolly bugger. You troll it and strip it. It gets some bumps and follows, but no hookups.

So you tie on another muddler. A couple of casts and you've got your fish, and your limit.

You seek out a sheltered spot under the willows and clean the trout while sitting in the tube.

You kick out, pack up, and hand the trout to your friends at their kitchen door.

They're happy. You're happy.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hats Off To You, Mr. Robinson

Hats off to Jackie Robinson who, on April 15, 1947, broke the baseball color line when the Brooklyn Dodgers started him at first base.

Robinson said, "A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives." Each time I see my sons on the athletic field I am grateful for his courage, and for the impact he is having on their lives 67 years after he walked out onto Ebbets Field. And I hope his example will shape their lives well beyond the athletic field.

Leo Durocher, the Brooklyn manager in 1947, said of Robinson that he was "a Durocher with talent." He greatly admired Robinson, and made it clear to the other players on the Dodgers that he would trade them before tolerating any opposition to Robinson's joining the team. 

Robinson also said, "I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me...all I ask is that you respect me as a human being." Durocher told us more about what Robinson meant by respect when he said of him, "Ya want a guy that comes to play. This guy didn't just come to play. He come to beat ya. He come to stuff the goddamn bat right up your ass."

I hope my sons will learn from that example as well.

Hats off to you, Mr. Robinson.

1955 Topps Baseball Card

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bad Moon Rising

Just dropped over to EarthSky. Glad I did. Big news!

There will be a total eclipse of the full moon tonight, April 14 - 15. Mars, the Red Planet, is the closest and brightest in 6 years, and will be visible near the red moon. Look for the star Spica, too.

This is known as a Blood Moon. Some people, of a particular religious or superstitious bent, believe this moon, and the three other Blood Moons occurring in 2014 and 2015--four in a row--are signs of the Apocalypse. Yes, that Apocalypse.

If you insist on getting all worked up about that, fine. Go for it. But if you have an open mind and are interested in learning more, you might find this link helpful:

I've already said on this blog that I'm a believer. And I believe that the End of the World is the Creator's department. I hope to be ready, whenever it is.

Meanwhile, I will be praying. I'll be praying that the skies are clear over north central Washington State tonight.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

"Out on the Flats" by Leonard Nathan

For Matt, on his birthday.
1961 - 2004

Out on the flats, a heron still
as a hieroglyph carved
on the soft gray face of morning.

You asked, when I seemed far away,
what it meant but were gone
when I turned to you with an answer.

Nothing mysterious—hunger,
a taste for salt tides,
distance, and a gift of flight.

"Out on the Flats" by Leonard Nathan, from The Potato Eaters. © Orchises Press, 1998.

A Dream of Trout Lake

I'm not really dreaming of New Zealand. I'm dreaming of Trout Lake, my true home water, opening soon in a reality near me. This preview from a review is from early June, 2009.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

"The Cats" by Ann Iverson

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To find such glory in a dehydrated pea
on the tile between the stove and fridge.

To toss the needs of others aside
when you simply aren't in the mood for affection.

To find yourselves so irresistible.

And always in a small spot of sun,
you sprawl and spread out the pleasure of yourselves

never fretting, never wanting to go back
to erase your few decisions.

To find yourself so remarkable
all the day long.

"The Cats" by Ann Iverson from Come Now to the Window.
 © Laurel Poetry Collective, 2003.

Youth Sports Post: A Busy Spring Continues