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Warm thoughts are enough to vanquish otherwise gloomy day

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POSTED May 13, 2009 1:50 a.m.
I talked to a buddy in Redding on Friday night.

His contract was not being renewed. I left my house at 9:13 pm. It wasn’t so much a trip to just be there for him, but also for myself.

Yeah, I can handle it, I’m only given as much, but that doesn’t mean fly fishing on a new river with an old friend won’t help.

Saturday was in the mid-80s, so after breakfast we made the epic trek to the river my buddy (who still has Montana plates) had never fished. We were parked within four minutes.

I scolded him for having fish so accessible and for not having so much as a fishing rod with which to hook them. I gave him my trout set up, keeping the eight-weight for myself, and we delicately waded into the current.

Within minutes he admitted I was smart to at least have shoes and long pants on, but once he couldn’t feel from his knees down he said it wasn’t so bad.

I crept down river to an obstructed corner. I put my face to the surface and looked under the tree that prevented my view. A lazy pool was just on the other side, the perfect place for a trout to mistake my fly for food.

I floated a replica of the bug that, along with its cousins, had tried to burrow into my ulna, right into the calm part of the pool. Then, as the stars of the universe aligned, a massive silver arch leapt from the river headed right toward my fly.

Feeling sorry for me, the fish telepathically communicated that he would give me a break and provide a good story on my inaugural trip to the new river.

It charged…

I never noticed the boat. I was too transfixed on the eminent battle to realize that a hundred some horses worth of engine were pushing fiberglass and two fishermen to the same blind corner at full speed, not realizing the deal I had with this fish.

The trout fled for safety, and I stood, now within full view of the two dudes that refused to acknowledge they had just ruined my day. They continued on their way without at least the “Oh we didn’t see you, but we are sorry” wave.

“You ready?” I asked my buddy, who was pounding his third Red Bull of the day in an attempt to circulate warm blood to cold parts quicker.

We hit the river Sunday without even eating, just grabbed a couple cups of coffee and off-brand granola bars.

“I got something that might help you out today,” I said, hoping to ease his suffering a bit.

I tossed him a pair of Xtra-Tuffs that I had cut with a knife into sandals.

“Hey, they used to be boots. Think warm.”

He thought warm — we both did, and still lost all feeling in our toes. Fortunately it was 90 degrees out, and the warm asphalt of the bike path made our feet feel less like amazingly flexible wooden blocks on the way back to the truck.

It was a bright, warm spot in an otherwise figuratively soggy day.

Sometimes that’s all we get, but it was enough.

To contact Jeff Lund, e-mail aklund21@gmail.com.
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