Maturity doth make weather wienies of us all.
Not all that long ago, an oft-expressed sentiment by yours truly was that “I would rather fish than eat.”
The bottom line being that in the hierarchy of activities and pursuits, wetting a line on a stream, lake or river always would trump shoving food in my pie hole.
Several people have predicted that some day they’re going to find my skeletal remains at a fishing hole, my business hand still clutching a fishing rod.
The resulting coroner’s verdict will be that the victim had “starved and/or frozen to death” with a footnote that “his fishing buddies said that he wouldn’t quit as long as the steelhead or salmon were biting.”
Wind, rain, sleet, snow didn’t matter any more than the gnawing hunger pangs and stomach rumblings.
Just one more cast, and then another. OK, just a couple more.
The single-minded determination is described as “dedication” by those who hold the same passion and “utter lunacy” by those not similarly afflicted.
So it was with a remarkable sense of disbelief when the following exchange occurred during a recent get-together over breakfast with one of those who, if anything, is more fishing-addicted than myself.
Me: “With the clear weather the past couple of days, the rivers ought to be in pretty good shape. And with the rain before that, I bet a lot of winter steelhead came in when they were up.”
He: “Yep. If anything, the water should be lower than normal, and clear. And the fish are definitely in.”
Me (hesitantly, looking out of the window at the frost-caked shrubbery and passers-by encased in heavy jackets and huffing clouds of steam into the frozen air): “So, do you want to go over this Saturday?”
He: “I don’t know? We could. Do you want to?”
Me, grasping at straws: “I really have to put those new mud flaps on the truck after I broke that one on the driver’s side.”
He, smiling and looking, what is that, relieved?: “Yea, I’ve got some stuff to do, too.”
OMG, what’s happened to us? What have we become? Is this what normal looks like? Or is this sudden-onset, weather-related sanity a temporary condition?
OK, so maybe just drive over for a couple of hours to check it out. And since I’m going, might as well take the rod and waders. Don’t need to pack a lunch, though.
After all, it’s too cold to put on those mud flaps.
Now that’s putting things in perspective.