20 April 2007

April is the Cruelest Month

A month ago, I wrote about the crazy mix of weather that greets us each spring here at 6,000 feet in the northern Rockies. This has been another such week. As T.S.Eliot put it (in The Wasteland),
April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

The week began with sunny skies, a few lovely thunderstorms (the first of the season), and a fishing trip to the Jefferson River with AJ. He had an argument with his folks and wanted to bring a few fish home for supper as a peace offering. Smart boy. No matter how pissed Gram would get with my teenage behavior, she never failed to appreciate a mess of fresh trout. Like Paul in A River Runs Through It, grace is upon the successful angler no matter his sin.
AJ caught one brown trout that was a little on the small side, and shouted out to me (as I was wading in midriver, and feeling that barbed wire snag in my waders bleeding cold water onto my ass), "Kinda small... should I kill it?" I shouted back that he should do what his conscience would allow. Next thing I knew, he had a rock in his hand and after a quick, sharp blow the trout went on his willow "stringer." As our dearly departed friend, Kurt Vonnegut, would say, "So it goes." Nice mess of fish, anyway, including the big whitefish.

Next morning we woke to a beautiful blizzard that dumped six inches of heavy, wet snow in town (and a foot or two in the high country) and had me doubting my decision to put the skis away. Trouble is, I get in enough trouble with the time I spend fishing. Or skiing. Not sure if I'd still have a job or marriage if I engaged in both during the same season. Life is choices, eh? Well, we are VERY happy for the snow--we came into spring with a moisture deficit, and then warm weather stripped a lot of our snow from the high country. The trout of August will be thankful for every foot of snow we receive from now until June.

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