One of the ironies of my life is that the modest success I have achieved writing about the Maine outdoors has made it harder and harder for me to actually get outside. I won't say I'm chained to my desk, but you get the idea.
Open water fishing season (as opposed to ice fishing season) begins on April 1, but this afternoon was the first opportunity I've had to take my fly rod down to the little river that runs behind my house. As always happens on my first trip out, I discovered that the riverbed had changed over the winter. The early spring floods had carved a deeper overhang on my side of the Megunticook and uprooted a big tree across the way. The waters had pushed tangles of birch branches against the midstream boulders. And the mud bank was littered with flotsam and jetsam: a bass fishing lure (missing the hook), the amber shards of broken antique bottles, a plastic worm container.
In April I fish for big rainbow trout that sometimes drop down out of the lake about two miles upstream, but today I got skunked. I can't say I put much effort into my fishing, though. Mostly I worked to recover the muscle memory of my fly casting and watched a phoebe flit amid the alders. It rained for a while and then the sun briefly appeared before the clouds closed in again.
As I stood on the riverbank, I wondered about the little changes I was seeing in the landscape and who else had noticed them. Probably no one. That's the way it is with so many things in life. We are what we pay attention to. Today, I was the river.