Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Benefits of Restoration (or, Quit Your Whining)

For the past two years, trout have been laughing at my expense.

I've taken to riding my bike to work as often as possible.  It's a blessing in many ways.  It keeps me on the verge of becoming physically fit, although my Saturday night soccer games prove that I haven't quite crossed that threshold yet.  The biking also does wonders for my mental fitness; particularly the morning ride, during which I cut loose the background noise that seems to seep into my subconscious during the night and prepare to think and communicate with some semblance of coherence throughout the day.

More than anything, the morning ride takes me along the banks of the Poudre for miles before I have to veer south into town. Just as I begin the morning trek, I cross under a bridge that serves as a boundary line between some public and private access areas of the Poudre.  I've fished every inch of water on the public side, but being respectful of private property, I stop at the very last inch before that imaginary line in the river.  Naturally, I see trout rising freely, with impunity, 25 yards downstream from the demarcation.  I'm certain they're smiling at me as they do so.   

The trail crosses over the river again about a hundred yards later, drawing another demarcation line between private access and no access.  On the "no access" side of the trail lies a natural preservation area, with a tasteful, subdued sign reading "restoration in progress, no access allowed."  In other words, Flywriter, don't even bother dreaming about what might be in the water for the next mile or so.

I have to admit, the restoration area is like a big never-never land.  Each morning, I stop at the end of the bridge, just before the bike trail extends into a flat prairie for the next mile, and glance into the forbidden forest.  I have no idea what lies in the water downstream from that point, and it kind of drives me nuts.  There's no doubt in my mind it contains some big fish.  I envision them all congregating there, safe from the heavy fishing pressure their brethren endure just half a mile to the west.

Still, I'm all in favor of the restoration project.  If nothing else, it allows my imagination to wander.  And today, just at the edge of that forbidden trout-haven, I caught a glimpse of the results of restoration:

The trout will probably keep laughing at me from the safety of private access and "no access" water as I pedal away the morning cobwebs, but somehow I'll keep arriving at work in a better mood.  Each day, I'm restored, and restoration's a good thing.

Riding to Wonderland...
The Flywriter


JDH said...

I love this one, John--great writing! And some nice pics of the deer too. That morning ride sure does sound nice. Lucky you to take it all in and enjoy what countless others just drive right by.

JEG said...

JDH - Yeah, it's amazing what kind of perspective a little humility brings to your life. Kinda keeps me grounded as to what's important anymore.