The Art of Observation

I took the girls for a stroll the other day. A growly bear, her friend, and a 4-year old with a fake phone who tells me she wants to “test” somebody. I can only assume she meant text. Yikes! How quickly they grow.

Growly bear walking down the street

I coaxed them away from MineCraft with the promise of fluffy whipped cream topped hot cocoa. I know I’m not supposed to reward them with treats…but, come on, I really wanted one!

Hot cocoa with whipped cream

After the required twenty minutes of swings, merry-go-rounds, and slides at the city park, we headed back home…the long way. With test tubes in my pocket, I convinced the girls to follow the river path. A plan hatching in my head to gather soil and water samples. I’m dying to see this stuff under the microscope. What, exactly, lives in these waters? Because nary a squirrel, bird, or bug did I see.

The ground is semi-frozen. The only signs of life are small blades of grass pushing their way up to the shrouded sun.

Ice in the soil

At the river, the fog is ever present. A heavy mist clinging to the air, adding to the bitter chill. The water is so clear. So blue. It’s practically glacial in color. We could be in Alaska, if I didn’t know better.

Foot bridge over river

I want the girls to pay attention. To tell me what they see. I hand out the test tubes and they separate, moving in different directions. Mini scientists exploring the surface, and dipping their instruments into the icy waters. Bits of dirt and slime topped off with clear mountain water. I’m preparing myself, and them, for fishing season. A time when my observational skills are tested. What sort of bugs live here? What stage of development are they at? Where are the eddies? Can I spot any fish in front or behind any big boulders?

Water so clear you can see rocks beneath the surface

That’s the challenge of flyfishing. You can’t stay in your head too long. At some point you have to push through the mind chatter and pay attention to what’s going on around you. It’s the art of observation. It’s what I’m most looking forward to. Well, that and the exhilarating rush of snagging that catch and screaming, “Fish on!”

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4 thoughts on “The Art of Observation

  1. I never realized how much you love fishing. My Dad used to fly fish, but I never learned how. Maybe I can tag along sometime and try it out. Oh, and I love the growly bear photo!

  2. I am so very much looking forward to testing my observational skills. My fly rods have only left their tubes twice in the last five years. Taking backseat to the camera and lens. This year will be different.

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