The dawn came with a cool breath of wind that shook the surface of the beaver pond into ripples of strawberry, gold, and blue. I breathed in the chill of the air, listening to the hum of the dragonflies skimming the water and the occasional splash as a trout lept to catch an insect.
I scanned the water, and cast just upstream of the circling fish, watching my line catch the morning sun in a shining arc.
The world is alive all around you, on a morning like this. Beavers downstream slipping in and out of their dams, the calls of jays in the branches, harsh and sharp. I even saw a family of deer, catching glimpses of their tawny hides slipping in between the tree-trunks. You’re just another part of it, if you try. If you stand still, and let it all move around you.
No bites on the line. I whipped my rod back, pulling it upstream again. The rest of the family would still be asleep, unless anybody felt like getting up this early. It felt like I had the whole world to myself. Still nothing. I barely minded.
I thought about the smell of cooking trout. Tonight, when it was time for dinner, I’d have a few trout cleaned and ready. I’d butter a pan, set it over the fire back at the yurt; I’d set the trout in and fix it up—nothing fancy, just salt, pepper, and lemon. My mouth watered. I cast again.
I would hardly mind if I caught anything, to be honest. If I came back empty-handed. That wasn’t the point, really. It’d be nice if I had something, but Hell—didn’t I anyway?
Still, I thought. Don’t give up yet.
The quiet air was heating up. Across the water, the deer had moved on and the jay had found what it was looking for. I pulled at the buttons of my flannel shirt, loostening the collar and rolling up the sleeves. The clear water flowed past me, cool on my legs. The sun was almost up now, and the bugs began to clear away. Now or never, I thought.
I whipped my rod back and cast again, letting the fly sit just above the circling trout. I focused, willing them to bite. Just once, I thought. Just once.
There. A tug. Just one, a quick one. Then another, and I knew I’d got one—I pulled back, hauling in the thrashing trout, and a big grin spread across my face, like a little kid.
Looks like trout for dinner after all, I thought. I could almost taste it now.