Thursday, March 18, 2010

Rainbow Days...

Every now and then, things just click.  It doesn't happen very often, but sometimes, in the midst of darkness, God seems to heed your cries of "enough already."  One of the ministers at my church refers to these times as "rainbow days," days when we experience "God sightings."  I'm not certain, but I think today qualified. 

For awhile, I've been forcing the issue with God.  Personal challenges have taken their toll on me, and I finally came to grips with the notion of ceasing to try and will everything to happen on my own.  It's not a matter of giving up, per se, but definitely one of relinquishing control of outcomes.

When I get to the point where I don't know what else to do, I instinctively turn to fishing.  It throws me into at least a few hours of intense concentration, where I can focus on nothing other than the moment at hand.  Sometimes it results in fish, sometimes it just results in some fresh air and some mental rejuvination.  It's selfish, I suppose, but it works for me.

Today, the result was not only a change in perspective, but a couple of really gorgeous, wild rainbow trout.  I fished a stretch of water where I've frequently had some success, but normally catch very small fish.  Everything seemed to be aligned for me - mild temperatures, a nice mix of sun and cloud cover, and a dearth of other fisherman giving me the solitude I so often crave when I fish.

The fish weren't exactly jumping on everything I threw at them.  They were rising all over a calm stretch of water where the calm current allows them to be particular in their feeding - plenty of bugs on the surface give the fish in this area a target-rich environment.  During a trip to the same stretch a couple of days ago, another fisherman suggested I downsize on the flies I was using.  He thought the patterns were on target, but were too big.  So, I did my best to match the bugs on the surface with the smallest Adams pattern I could find.  Nothing.  I threw small BWOs at them.  Rises all around, just not to the bugs I was throwing.  Switching to a cream-colored pale dun pattern, I didn't fare any better.  Finally, convinced that my imitations were still simply too big, I ventured fifty yards upstream where fish were still rising to the surface, but doing so in much swifter current.

Suddenly, the "rainbow day" effect kicked in.  Literally and figuratively.  A small 'bow jumped at the fresh BWO I tied on, quickly easing my frustration and whetting my appetite for more.  A few short minutes later, the BWO was consumed  by a hit from an aggressive trout.  I set the hook and applied just enough pressure to firmly secure the trout to the fly.  A few minutes later, I landed the biggest trout I've ever pulled out of this particular section of the Poudre.  What a beauty!

I returned the beautiful trout to the current and watched him bolt away. Having destroyed the fly, the trout forced me to replace it with another fresh BWO of the same size. The trout continued to feed off the surface as the sun began its descent. I chuckled as one launched himself completely out of the water. I made note of the spot on the river and placed a cast just upstream. I drifted the BWO carefully over the remaining splash, and sure enough, a trout nailed it. Again, an aggressive hit that made the hookset fairly simple. Not quite as large, but quite possibly the prettiest fish I've ever caught. I love the coloring of rainbows at this time of year.

Just as quickly, the fish stopped coming to the surface, save for a random rise every two minutes or so. I smiled and marveled at how lucky I can be sometimes. Five minutes from home, yet light years away in my own mind.

It was just enough today. Enough to regain perspective, and enough to remind me to be grateful for what I have. And almost enough to make me forget how miserable my March Madness bracket looks after a mere day of action in the Big Dance. But that's just basketball.

A rainbow day indeed.

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