Months of quarrels and quandaries, intrigue and innuendo, distractions, misdirection and outright prevarication finally came to an end and I found myself, one November morning, strangely relieved it was over yet wondering what the heck had just happened. It seemed surreal and nearly beyond belief, but once sober enough for thoughtful reflection, I knew it was very real, indeed, believe it or not.
The adrenaline wore off, shock set in, and I had to sit in order to contemplate the new, horrible, sad reality.
That’s right, friends, another season had come and gone here at Fish in a Barrel Pond.
The banshees of winter wail outside the door, the lake froze-over three weeks ago, and anything stuck to the ground now is stuck until spring. The camps are again empty and quiet, smelling only of cold air and anti-freeze in the drain traps. A little happy dance has been done, a nap has been took, and as I catch up on my reading I can’t help but notice that this job, once more, failed to make any major publication’s list of “Best Fly Fishing Jobs!”
It used to disappoint me that Caretaker of an Old Fishing Camp wasn’t considered a desirable job — even though it might lead to competition from other wannabe trout bums — but now I am glad.
Glad for you.
After all, if this job can reduce a guy like me to tears, I shudder to think what it would do to a normal person.
A post appeared in these pages last June, titled “Pink and Purple Pictures Because People Are Like Pistachios“. The pictures are pretty and the title alliterative, but it must be admitted that people are not really like pistachios, at least not the pistachios in this particular bag. Instead of spitting the bad ones onto the floor in disgust or feeding them to the cat, these pistachios must be delicately placed back into the bag, in order to experience them again and again.
People are people, I suppose, and a bad pistachio is a bad pistachio anywhere you go. We all know most pistachios are fine, but some are not, so have a slug from a mug or maybe a pull off the jar and pass it around. I find it helps some with the taste.
Another analogy that has been used for people is snowflakes, as in, “We’re all unique individuals, just like little snowflakes!” Lewis Black puts it a little differently, but we’ll still go with snowflakes today, just to see what happens.
Some are fancy and frilly, sophisticated at first glance but soon revealed as fops with serious flaws. Some are broken, swirling erratically, unbalanced. Few are perfect, most far from it, and some that look good from a distance lose a fair amount of charm when held near. Some cling to neighbors, joining together in new designs, while some adorn themselves with the shattered discards of others.
Some are globular and drab, never given the right conditions for optimum development. Others retain some of their once-lovely former-selves while bearing scars and carbuncles imposed on them from without. Their environments change and so do they, looking like something altogether different while retaining their essential snowflakeness.
Sometimes, gathered in their thousands and millions, they create beauty sublime, but especially large gatherings (or the wrong gathering in the right place) can just as easily wreak havoc.
The last straw, or the final feather, is easy to identify, though only in hindsight, as a back breaks or knees buckle. An individual snowflake, however, is never responsible for an avalanche but, as any snowflake can tell you, it sure is easy to get caught up in one.
The season is lovely and the holidays are upon us but it’s cold enough outside to freeze boogers, so I gaze through the frost on the window, take another sip from my mug and say to all my little snowflake friends out there, “Get the hell off my driveway!”