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Friday, June 17, 2011

two sticks and a little girl

Happy to finally have a few days outside after the wettest spring on record, my grandaughter and I were exploring the creek. Turtle Creek that is, named after the indian war chief. A creek prominent in both local history and our families history. The creek holds my uncles ashes and four generations of Coomers have fished, swam, caught bait, trapped and explored it's waters.

We began floating sticks down the creek, a simple Winnie the Poo sort of thing to do.
And compulsory as any kid will tell you, The Rules plainly state that the first thing you do as a kid upon reaching a creek is throw in a rock or float a stick. Somehow this evolved, as these things will do, into a race. Each of us urging on our stick as they raced down the creek and between two large stones and out into a small pool.

Sometime in the middle of the second race I remember thinking, "now pay attention". For you see this was one of those things that count, that matter, and I'll remember forever. And I wanted to remember it clearly in my old age. This beautiful five year old running down the bank in her white dress with bright polka dots, cheering on her champion stick and splashing water everywhere with her pink plastic sandals. It was one of those Norman Rockwell type moments where everything is perfect in the world and I was supremely happy.

In her wonderful book, Wild Comfort, Kathleen Moore tells of writing down everything that makes her happy for a year and keeping them in an old Easter basket. I know these moments along the creek belong on my list. Thinking back on life, the things that ended up really mattering are never the ones we think will be at the time. We never remember getting that overdue job done at work, paying that bill or running around doing a thousand other things we think are so important at the time. Looking back, I remember being snowed in with my wife soon after we had met, laughing around a campfire with my dad and uncles, racing sticks with a little girl.

As I grow older I seem to become more sentimental. I think when your younger you have a tendency to think you will always have these things. That people you love will always be there, wont grow old or grow apart or die. Nowadays I find myself wanting to freeze time, keep things the way they are and hope they don't change.

But of course everything changes, people die, flowers wilt, even mountains wear down given enough time. I dont know why but the prospect of a great circle of life with everything returning to it's source is as likely to provoke deep sadness in me as much as awe. Im just one of those people who want things to stay as they are I guess.
For puppies to stay puppies and little girls to keep their innocent joy in just being alive and not have to face the dreary prospect of growing up.

In 500 BC, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said you can never step in the same river twice. This has never been more apparent than this year. Old places on the river, friends really, were gone. Changed by the constant floods of this spring. Spots I had fished for years and knew like the back of my hand were gone, rearranged. The basic order was still there, recognisable but like an old friend you haven't seen in years a bit different. And not just sand and gravel, the old Stubbs Mill bridge which Ive pictured here a half dozen times had a big sycamore wrapped around the old stone foundation and a crack ten feet tall knocked out of it. I emailed a photo to the county engineer and the next day a dozen trucks were there working on my old friend. I'm a bit afraid to see what they've done to one of my favorite fishing holes.

I dunno perhaps I'm well on my way to becoming one of those grumpy old bastards who pick out a time when things were perfect and nothing else will ever be as good. Thank goodness for little girls and their ability to make you treasure the moment, the right now. If age grants any wisdom at all maybe it's in it's ability to make us realise some moments are treasures and we need to cherish them because they may never come again.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Live Bait on the Little Miami


Last night I fished a big eddy on the inside of a bend in the Little Miami with cut bait on one rod and nightcrawlers on the other. Its about head deep with swift water running on the back side. A good spot when the weather gets hot. Food, oxygen, and a bit of depth to protect the fish from the heat.


My dial scale said seventeen on the carp.


I caught three nice channels all on a piece of sucker cut about 2x2.


I must have caught ten of these guys on the nightcrawlers


And two buffalo, also on nightcrawlers.