Mike Stevens: Still Looking…

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The opening day of trout season came and went in a rush. It always does.

The night before there is the anticipation, the morning of perhaps a nice breakfast in a fire hall or church basement then the season opens. The first timid question from a youngster, “Is it time yet?” Someone answers, “Not quite.” Then upstream there is the first “Plup” as bait hits the water, more follow, quickly, one after the other, a staccato burst fired around the pond or lake, across a stream. The first fish comes out within moments accompanied by a round of whistles and applause. There are fish in here and wiggling before us is living proof.

Time marches on and before a few days have passed the infectious thrill that is the first day of trout season has dwindled, perhaps even gone away not to be rekindled until next year. Now come the devotees of the sport, the diehards who never give up, who never say quit until the first snowflakes fall and line freezes on a reel. Then there are the others.

They come to pull up a chair along a lakeshore or on the bank of an agreeable stream. They wet a line for sake of ceremony hoping that the fish will ignore it, will find some tender morsel more to their liking upstream and far away. The real chore of the day, you see, is not to catch fish or even to attempt it beyond the staged presentation. No, the real reason is to be there to enjoy what goes on in the quiet aftermath of Opening Day. There is much to see but it is often ignored for lack of an audience.

The thrill is gone but not for those who choose to look for it.