Thursday, November 21, 2013
The plan was to pack up the gear and have the truck ready to roll the evening before, allowing me to stumble from bed and into the driver’s seat with a minimum of fuss and delay. But our neighbors from the lower ridge dropped by and a pleasant afternoon visit turned into an impromptu dinner, which then morphed into a late night shooting-the-breeze and solving-the-world’s-problems session out on the screened porch. Fine friends, good food, and regular refills tend to precipitate such things around here.
So, instead of an early departure, I awoke the next morning, fuzzy-headed, unprepared, and went about gathering the waders, rods, and piles of paraphernalia that follow me to trout waters. The task, and the fuzz, put me on the road an hour later than I had hoped.
Okay. Maybe closer to two.
On those days that I head west, into the Appalachians, I normally get away before the sun makes an appearance. Day trips that require a three or four hour drive, each way, demand a wee-hour start so the crossing of the bridge downstream of the house is typically done in darkness. It turns out, that’s been a blessing.
For what I saw this particular morning as the sun rose out of my truck bed made me question why I was leaving. I won’t try to describe it. I don’t have the skills.
Let's simply say that the old axiom “Don’t leave fish to find fish” seemed to apply to streams as well and I considered turning around, putting the pickup back in the driveway, and strolling down to wade my home waters. And while there’s no trout there, I felt certain I could coax a sluggish largemouth from the cool Piedmont flow. To be sure, I’d find no prettier surroundings to the west.
But I was already on the road and the trout stuff was packed. It seemed foolish, at that point, to return. In truth, it might have been foolish to have packed it in the first place. I spent the day wondering.
Wondering, and vowing that, next time, I'd be sure to be long gone before first light.