Misery. Misery and abject disappointment. Everything was going wrong. For one, I was taking a vacation day when I really should've been taking a sick day. My voice, or what little croaking squeakiness remained of it, was comical at best, and now it was snowing. Not just a little dusting to tickle a dryad's toes, but a real dump with flakes that kept getting bigger and bigger, and more and more numerous.
Mike's knuckles where as white as the snow outside, as he gripped the steering wheel. Every now and again a moan of despair would issue from him, or an epithet: "if I knew it was gonna be like this..." Right. Apparently no one knew, because most of the regional weather forecasts, for the small geographical area in which we were now facing the probability of having to unwillingly prolong our stay, were in disagreement. Some called for snow, others for rain, others for ice pellets. Some called for lots of snow, others for just a little. As I looked out the window, it looked like those who predicted "a lot" were the ones to bet on.
But any storm meets its match in madness. And the madness that was (and as far as I know always will be) upon Mike and I was acute desire for winter chrome steelhead. We drove on, narrowly avoiding a ride home in a tow truck, and we reached our destination.
Our destination didn't look too great. The water conditions were not as advantageous as we'd hoped them to be. There was at most, as we looked down on the river's swollen flow, 10 inches of visibility. This is just barely enough, at the best of times; but this was not the best of times. This is mid December, and we are only a week away from the shortest day of the year. The water was surely freezing, and the fish were sluggish. We intoned the winter steelheader's mantra "oh well, we're here, so...." On came the waders and the coats, out came the tackle. One good thing: the snow had turned to rain.
Yes the pictures do give it away, but they are the ending and not the beginning or really even the middle. We searched for fish most of the morning with little luck. We went down, and then up, and then a little bit down from up. Down from up is at about 11am, a cold, wet - nay bone drenched - and despondent 11am. It was so wet that you'll observe several blotches on the shots I've provided. Also, Mike's camera gave out by 11:30am. Too wet. Too cold. Turn me off.
At least by then, we were on. And how on! Only restraint, brought about by mutual interest in eachother's catch, kept us from aspiring to a constant state of "double header." Our restraint, I might add, was also inspired by the fact that Mike and I don't get to fish together much these days. We work very different hours, and I tend to be busy with Laura and the twins on weekends. So, each fish we caught was truly shared. We both enjoyed the other's catch as much as our own.
Did I mention that the fishing got good? This is the elixir; which is anything you love to do, when you do it, it cures you. Bear with my grammar for a while. It cures you of despondency and of physical ailments. This steady stream of fish, some bright, some not so bright, cured us both respectively. So Mike's knuckles wouldn't be as tight on the wheel on the uneventful drive home, and the cold I've been sporting for the last week feels like it's finally going to fade away.
My voice isn't back yet, but I know some people who won't find that terribly disappointing!