Thursday, March 27, 2014

Two Poems By Robert Frost

The Frost Farm, Derry, New Hampshire


Well-away and be it so,
To the stranger let them go.
Even cheerfully I yield
Pasture, orchard, mowing-field,
Yea and wish him all the gain
I required of them in vain.
Yea and I can yield him house,
Barn, and shed, with rat and mouse
To dispute possession of.
These I can unlearn to love.
Since I cannot help it? Good!
Only be it understood,
It shall be no trespassing
If I come again some spring
In the grey disguise of years,
Seeking ache of memory here.

"On the Sale of My Farm" by Robert Frost
from Collected Poems, Prose, & Plays.
© The Library of America, 1995. 

Image by Katy Elliot


Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.

"A Prayer in Spring" by Robert Frost
from Collected Poems, Prose, & Plays.
© The Library of America, 1995.

“I kept farm, so to speak for nearly ten years,” Frost wrote a friend. “I can see now that I went away to save myself and fix myself before I measured my strength against all creation.”

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Remembering Oso

Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the survivors of the deadly mudslide in Oso, Washington. The tragedy has the potential to worsen: 16 bodies have been recovered, and eight more located, but as many as 176 persons remain missing.

Rocky Ford Creek Report: Bad Trip

I made the decision on Monday to head for Rocky Ford Creek instead of the Methow River. I thought there was a much better chance of actually catching a fish there. But there wasn't.

In fact the whole trip kind of sucked.

I've thought about this. Seems like every fishing trip I read about online is awesome. I don't know about you, but that's not my reality. Sure, I buy into the bumper sticker philosophy that "a bad day fishing is better than a good day working." But the fact is, there are some bad days. And sometimes what makes them bad isn't that you didn't catch anything, but that the day just kind of overall sucked.

It has been said that to say everybody is special is another way of saying that nobody is. Same with fishing trips. So, compared to the really special trips I've been on, this one, well, kind of sucked.

It was one more day that wasn't wintry but still wasn't quite spring-like; that wasn't cold but still had a chilly edge to it; that wasn't dark but was drab, with a washed out light filtering through the high overcast; that wasn't windy, but that had a variable and gusty breeze that kept messing with your cast. And it was a day that had the first mosquitoes of the year.

It wasn't crowded, but there was just this one guy who came out of nowhere through the cattails and moved into my space. I had wandered a few yards down the bank, so he came in and set up right next to my jacket and bag. It would have been OK if he had just said something like, "Oh, excuse me, are you fishing here?" But he ignored me. He even kept his back to me when I walked over later to pick up my stuff. Jerk.

I was fishing dries. Little dries, big dries. I got lots of hits. Slow hits, business-like hits, explosive hits. But not a single hookup. It was like they were ghost trout, the hook going right through their ghostly lips. What the heck?

So then the guy, who is fishing an indicator rig, catches a fish. And then another. Now, I might have tried an indicator myself at some point. I usually do. But I sure wasn't going to after that. No, I dug in with my dries. Dry or Die.

But it still irritated me that I couldn't fish with an indicator now because of him. Each time he was reeling in his fish, this pelican came paddling over to see if he could get in on the action. I've heard of pelicans taking trout right off the line. I was really hoping I'd get to see it in person.

Yeah, by then I was in a pretty bad mood. And yes, I'm pretty sure a bad mood can turn any day into a bad day. But sometimes you've just got to go with it.

So I fished a muddler to close out the day. It's my favorite way to fish, and in past trips it has paid off, especially after the light goes down. I enjoyed it, in an angry, aggressive kind of way. I even became optimistic. But the fish didn't turn on this time, and at twilight I packed up and headed for home. Fishless.

I had to wonder if it was because I had tied up a special fly the night before just for this trip, and then forgot it, leaving it sitting uselessly on my desk at home.

It wasn't a terrible trip, but it didn't satisfy. I saw this pelican's mate show up downstream once. She perched on a mid-stream rock. He swam over and immediately tried to mount her. She was having none of it, and sent him packing.

That's kind of what the day felt like.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Youth Sports Post: Doubles

There was more baseball today--a doubleheader. Speaking of double, here's an unusual double play. A double rundown. I worked this video up so members of the team could look it up online. It was a definite highlight of their double victory day.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Youth Sports Post: Baseball Season Opener

The latest sign of Spring appeared Thursday: High School baseball.

It was a chilly day, and there was still a little snow left along the backstop.

But there were more signs of Spring: midges from the nearby river swarming in the sun...

And Violet-Green swallows--my first sighting--swarming on the midges.

Jeremiah and the team were visitors at the same nearby town that suffered a loss from our soccer team this week. And they suffered another loss from our baseballers, a shutout that shut down early because of the ten-run rule.

Jeremiah played well. I was proud as could be.

If you want me in the next few weeks, I'll be driving back and forth to baseball and soccer games.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Family Post: Soccer Season Opener

Spring sports have begun. The first soccer game was Tuesday in a nearby town, and I lost track of how many goals we scored. They scored nil. But the season will get a lot tougher very soon.

Isaiah did well. He loves this game. The good news is he has worked hard and made great improvement, and is a starter on the varsity squad. The bad news is he has worked hard and made great improvement and now finds the high school game, with all that interference from the coaches, frustrating. If only he could go straight to the Premiere League, or, if necessary, the Sounders!

Kids today. They want it all on a platter.

But I'm proud of the kid. And I'm glad he can dream big. And I'm confident he will work it out and achieve his dream, one step at a time.

So here's to Isaiah and the Tigers, a good season, and a great first step.

Monday, March 17, 2014

"Where Go the Boats" by Robert Louis Stevenson

Illustration by Clara M. Burd, from A Child's Garden of Verses, 1930 Edition.

Dark brown is the river,
Golden is the sand.
It flows along for ever,
With trees on either hand.

Green leaves a-floating,
Castles of the foam,
Boats of mine a-boating—
Where will all come home?

On goes the river
And out past the mill,
Away down the valley,
A way down the hill.

Away down the river,
A hundred miles or more,
Other little children
Shall bring my boats ashore.

"Where Go the Boats" by  Robert Louis Stevenson from Selected Poems. © Penguin Classics, 1999.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Road Trip: The Methow

I hit the road on Friday and drove for awhile along the Columbia to the mouth of the Methow.

I headed up the Methow. I had to pass by a few good spots that already had fishermen in them. But I knew about this spot, and it was deserted.

In January 2011 I had come up here exploring one frigid day as a cure for cabin fever. This is what I found then.

And this is what I found on Friday.

It was a gorgeous day. The river was perfect. I worked over the same rocky run several times with different flies. Prototypes One and Two got a shot. So did some small, dark stoneflies, and a pretty little black and white streamer. It was great fishing.

I finished up looking upstream and wondering what was around that bend...

And then looking downstream and wondering the same thing.

The day had everything except fish. But that may come. I'll certainly be back to try again.