While away the Old Year passes, snow has drifted, up to most people’s asses, or just above my knees, and the flakes are still falling as darkness settles in, just a tad later than it did yesterday. With a long night ahead, and nothing to do tomorrow but move more snow, this is as good a time as any to
inflict upon present to you a look back at the year that was 2012, here at Fish in a Barrel Pond. I do this not because I think you’ll enjoy some misty-eyed reflection but because, if I know my readers, some of you weren’t paying attention the first time around. I also know it’s the kind of thing that bothers Mike at Troutrageous! to no end.
January was nearly half over before the year’s first post appeared, in which I received a package from Sweden and shared another story not about fishing (See “A Package from Sweden and Another Story Not About Fishing“). I will post a review of the DVD in that package one of these days, but I’ll tell you now that I liked it and it was sent to me by an especially notorious character, Marc Fauvet, Master of the Limp Cobra.
(Speaking of cobras, the man in the Story Not About Fishing once tipped over backwards in his office chair, which is interesting to begin with because it means there was a chair that didn’t collapse catastrophically beneath his bulk before it had a chance to even think about tipping over. Four of us watched it happen but there was no way to stop it without someone getting crushed. Stuff fell off the walls when he hit the floor and the Styrofoam cups on his heavy wooden desk spilled their coffee all over his Important Papers. We wanted to help him, right then and there, but he bellowed at us to leave him the hell alone so we ran. He was still mad at us from the day before, when we had maneuvered him onto the platform of the big drive-on freight scale in the shipping barn. One by one we had stepped off, leaving him there by himself so we could see just how much he really weighed and we almost got away with it, too, but someone gasped when the indicator on the scale settled down, and when Robbie saw what was going on he flew into a rage. Now, it was a day later and he was on his back, stuck in a chair (the impact really wedged him in there good) between the wall and his impossibly huge mahogany desk, turning purple and screaming at us as we tripped over ourselves trying to leave. We were, after all, working for the world’s largest importer/exporter of exotic animals and knew very well that when something the size of Robbie goes down it is sometimes best to just get the heck out of there and let the situation sort itself out. We did sneak back in a few times to check on him before he finally rolled onto his belly and got to his feet, but we spent the rest of the day in shifts, one of us posted by the door, with a tranquilizer gun and a pair of heavy-duty winches. You know, just in case.)
The rest of the first month of 2012 included video of wind-whipped Snow Wraiths, litter bugs from New Jersey, a delightful poetic interlude, some interesting ice, a visit to the frostiest place I know, and I posted a piece about the pursuit of perfection on The Backcountry Journal.
A warm spell and heavy rain at the end of the month brought minor flooding, with excess water following new channels created the previous summer by Tropical Storm Irene. Not all those channels were authorized, and some even got bigger, so the first few days of February were spent stacking sand bags, which is why They Call Me Mr. Sandy Pants. On the bright side, the water could not have been colder than it was.
High drama and danger played out, as coyotes and otters crossed paths in the cold, and A Story of Life and Death, Written in Snow is one of my favorite posts from 2012.
March brought more death in the snow when a hawk took a blue jay right outside the window one morning while I drank my coffee. I also posted pictures of a bobcat in New Hampshire and a fisher outside the chicken coop. March also brought Town Meeting Day, an early ice-out on the lake, and even more Mud Season as spring sprang forth, but my favorite post of the month has to be New Gear, for Fishing Guides Only, featuring remote control electric vests for unruly anglers.
Most of April was spent preparing for the upcoming fishing season. Only one post went up all month but it was a doozy and quickly became one of our most viewed posts, ever. Check out the now legendary Quill Gordon and the Nonesuch Mountain Howler.
The month of May saw a grand total of 0 posts as the season got underway and the anglers of the Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society returned. June, however, began with the realization that time flies whether you’re having fun or not in a post that included spiders, mayflies, and a mouse skeleton, as well as the answer to the question, “what would Quill Gordon do?” Other posts included a robin attacking an eagle, along with the first big hexagenia of the year and a visit by a famous fly tyer who I forced to drink moonshine by placing the sealed jar on the table.
July was a busy month but a certain amount of fun was found when it became my turn to fish with a special bamboo rod, built by Fall River Rods, as part of a promotion through the Outdoor Blogger Network. My solitary post for the month was Bamboopalooza, Part I: Fall River Flyrods “South Fork” is Not Your Grandfather’s Rod.
That brand new bamboo rod was fished alongside a whole bunch of older bamboo rods before it was sent on its way, and in August I posted Bamboopalooza, Part II, shortly before an obligatory anniversary post, One Year After Irene.
We will just say the month of September passed quietly, because you wouldn’t believe the truth if I told it, but my frustration with my fellow man was evident in October when I posted The Fish are Easy and then forced myself to stop and take a look around at the pretty fall foliage. I also took a few minutes to explain why I wear steel-toed drinking shoes, just in case anyone was wondering.
The season ended, here at Fish in a Barrel Pond, and the anglers all went home but I spent the first part of November taking care of details, sharing some of the romance of my job by posting Bacon Grease and Rainbows, which took off, thanks to a mention on The Trout Underground (thank you, Tom!). Since then, though, things have been pretty quiet around here, especially since the lake iced over, just after Thanksgiving.
And now there will be three posts in the archives of December, 2012, with the first being my Game Camera Resolution (to use it more). This will be my final post for 2012, mostly because it just didn’t seem right to end the year with my last one, New Product! Political Discourse Paint by Number Kits!.
It seems to me that times are hard enough as they are, even without all the over-stimulation we provide ourselves, and the conversations I hear and read convince me that places like Fish in a Barrel Pond are more important than ever. Places where it’s okay to not get a cell phone signal or have wi-fi. Places where the stock quotes are older than three seconds and the reporting doesn’t happen faster than the news actually develops. Places where the most exciting thing you hear all day might be the song of a thrush just before dusk, and where someone who actually does get a signal might be tempted to leave his portable device in the car for the weekend, just to see what happens. Places where such people might be pleasantly surprised to find everything on Sunday is pretty much the same as it was on Friday, in spite of all the important notifications they might have missed, and where the trout don’t care who you are or what you do or how much your rod cost. Places where, if something were to happen back home, you might as well stay and fish because there’s not a darn thing you could do about it anyway.
I hope my readers are able to get away from it all, as often as possible this coming year, even if it only means turning off the phone while you sit in the yard, watching squirrels but, who knows, maybe you can sneak away to your own Fish in a Barrel Pond for a while. I would like that very much, because not only is this blog dedicated to everyone who gives in to the urge to get away from it all, especially anglers, but also to the brave men and women who take care of them when they arrive.
I wish you peace in 2013. All of you. Really.