Friday, November 23, 2007

laugh wise heart

laugh wise heart

laugh wise
heart and always
seek again
the thing you seek
gentle little man
playful and kind
thoughtful sprite and
gift to us
gift to the needy too
freezies and baba
bunn-bunn and bath-time
hop and run skip
and jump
roll over us again
your light and your
heedless blessing
to the broken hearted
and even
the very happy
love is too weak
a word gratitude
too shallow
come now
time for walk
kick the ball and
the park swing is

i did not know

i did not know

i did not know
what beauty
was before
you smiled or your blue
eyes opened and for
the first time
fixed me found me
father yours
lost like you are
adrift in your sea
just like you and
as you struggle and fight
to swim out
through confounding
currents and swirls of
unbidden cryptic
frenetic chaotic faces
only ever and rarely
finding harbour
in your clear gaze
and your smile and
the hope that
you find it too
when i smile
when i laugh
with you

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

November's Bounty

If I have to identify one theme from the past few days, it must be parenthood. Oddly enough, that's still not the title of this entry. Let me explain.

First, this past Sunday and Monday were an excellent reminder of how plentiful the rewards of November steelhead fishing can be. Second, as spending time with my sons often prevents me from venturing out, November happens to be my own father's birth month. So, it is a positive irony that I got to share Sunday fishing with the man for whom I must have cost many fishing days myself, as a tot. This month gives me a lot to be thankful for!

But now, about the boredom. It was excessive at times, truly. It's funny how the long minutes and hours of fishless drifting tend to vanish from our fishing stories. Very few trips are without a lull, where one starts thinking about lighting another cigar, maybe sharing a beer or switching spots, making a coffee run to Tim Horton's, remembering that last month's phone bill isn't paid yet, and what did I do with the remote for the DVD player because I'd really like to find... plop! the float goes down and our mind is back; usually too late as we swing a crushed bit of bait up out of the water and into the muck on the ground behind us.

In fact, my dad almost tripped on his own feet when it happened to him Sunday morning. His floundering and near dive into a patch of wet sand is what woke me out of my reverie. He missed the hit, but it was just as well since the fish eventually did make it around to visit us. We were fishing on an eastern lake Ontario tributary, and these rivers get like that: one minute you almost believe that there never existed a single fish in the history of the river, and the next you can barely keep them off your offerings. Once the fish rolled in, dad and I managed to land over a dozen chrome bright steelhead in less than an hour and a half.

Other than the fact that we pretty much had the entire river to ourselves, thanks to our patience, the highlight was shared between a missed behemoth that would probably tilt the scales at 15lbs and the stupidest NY escapee imaginable: he was hooked and landed three times (we recognized him by the strange upward angle of his snout and the diagonal scoring on his left cheek - he also happened to be the only dark fish of the lot). I will let you guess who missed that big one. But does it really matter? Both dad and I got a good look at it, and we both held our breath until it finally got free.

Sunday was different only because I was in Western NY, by myself (all my prospective fishing partners having had other things that needed doing), on a river that has a decided advantage in mykissian quantities and therefore offered more opportunity for donut redemption.

The morning was good, the late morning and early afternoon dismal and crowded, and the late afternoon was chock full of fish. I got to resume my photographic experimentations of actual fish, instead of (as above) floats lazily bobbing, or marsh vegetation (as below). About those lovely pictures, I snapped so many of them while waiting for steelhead on Sunday, that the batteries in the camera died on our second fish. Irony?

Another marked difference between NY and Ontario tributaries is that very few of the odd, truncated mutants that are often encountered in NY are ever seen in Ontario. One of the hens I caught on Monday was not only abnormally short, but so dark as to make me believe that she might already be mating.

Finally, though I spent less time hauling in fall steelhead than I did waiting for them and wondering where they'd got to, when they did show up they were available by the gaggle. Both rivers I fished afforded me stretches of good luck of the kind where, after unhooking one fish, your next drift had barely started before you hooked yet another.

These poor fish, these second, third, fourth and fifth comers; they are unfortunate. They can't fool you as you dream of them and wander in your thoughts with glazed eyes. You are ready for them, and your reflexes are warmed up. The float pops down, and you know exactly when to strike. Your nerves are charged for action, yet you are calm. You are excited, but you are very much at ease.

You are steelhead fishing in November, enjoying rich bounty.


Thursday, November 08, 2007


The last few days before a long awaited fishing excursion are like the scent of fresh bread. In some ways it is better than the moment that comes after you first shred through the new loaf and scoop onto a warm slice a melting glob of butter, to bite into the steaming, delicious flesh. The scent itself always evokes the first bite that springs from the dream idealism, although the bread is not fresh for long, can be too hot or not of the kind that its fragrance had promised.

I dwell in the scent of it now. Already the hours drag. The minutes eek each small tick as drops from some old tap, with a rust clogged, slow, slow drip.

The promise of the coming novemberine days is almost palpable; it is felt in the crenelations of the brain like current rushing under one's scalp: dreams of fish dancing like fish, who disappear from sight as soon as the fisherman's silhouette rises through the clear water.

Outside I hear the rain patter on the glass like impatient fingers tap tapping the ever nascent question "is it time now?" Is it time to wake up, now, to set the rod and tackle in their designated sacred space by the cooler in the trunk, and roar the engine to life?

Can the long awaited morning be here yet? And will there be enough rain?

Is it time now, to break out the sandwiches I made for lunch, to savour them and as I chew the fresh crust, ponder the brilliant morning that was and the memories that were made?

No. Not yet. The oven's just warming up, and the rods are sitting still, by the door, waiting.