Time flies whether you’re having fun or not but, for a frog, time’s fun when you’re having flies. And never forget that, while time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.
The subject of time attracts hyperbole, as when things take “forever” or when someone is “always” doing something, which you and I both know is impossible (reflexive, unconscious activities like breathing excluded).
I spent more hours fishing this year than in any of the past several, which is interesting, having spent those years living less than 200 feet from a lovely lake stocked with trout. No matter how much I did or did not fish, I could never have spent as much time fishing as the legends suggest (all of it), especially considering how much time some tellers of tales spent on the same lake themselves (hardly any).
It has been said that the time one spends fishing is not deducted from the time one is allotted on this earthly plane so, if the legends are true, some of us must be nearly immortal. Time spent in the company of cigarettes and whisky and wild, wild women* may be another matter entirely, so some of us will probably have to just call it a wash.
No matter how one perceives the passage of time, whether an event is over in an instant or seems interminable, time is but an illusion, according to Einstein. To some it is like a chunk of amber, while to others it is like a river. Sometimes it is like both.
I caught my first Arkansas River brown trout just upstream from there, many years ago. Standing there this summer, both feet planted firmly in the here and now, I was, for more than an instant, most certainly there and then.
Somehow, floating a stretch of the Shenandoah for the first time felt familiar, but there was also a sense the river was timeless and no one had ever been there before.
Other than a few forays further afield, across ancient hills I wandered this summer, close to home, poking around the upper reaches of two small watersheds folded into the Green Mountains, somewhere in Vermont. Dry spells and high temperatures meant finding secret places only brook trout know, knowing myself that when I found them it was probably best to leave them alone. Finding them would have to be enough.
But that was then and this is now. The whisper of a breeze has become the moan of the wind through bare branches as a raw October rain brings down the leaves. Maples, birches, and ash stand naked, their wet bark a dark backdrop for beeches and oak, still hanging chartreuse and mahogany with all shades in between. That brown leaves can glow still astounds me.
Leaves change color when they stop producing chlorophyl and cease to function and it is Vermont’s non-functioning leaves that draw people from all over the world each fall. Trees stop taking up water when their leaves cease to function and, as a result, runoff increases and seasonal rains get rills and brooks flowing as full as in spring. The brook trout begin to stir and gather, waiting for the signal it’s time to spawn.
I like to think that signal has something to do with tannins in the water, from all those non-functioning leaves finally giving up and letting go. There’s not much better for making leaves give up and let go than chilly rain so, while it may not be such a good day for group tours on buses, with palms and faces pressed against fogged-up, rain-streaked windows, a rainy October day is a darn good day for brook trout as far as I’m concerned.
So, why have I spent several hours in an effort to take up five minutes of your busy day with a ramble about fruit flies, Einstein, brook trout and trees?
After nearly five months, I figured it was about time.
Regular readers of these irregular posts know that sometimes there are little treats at the end, inserted as a sort of reward for having slogged all the way through.
First up, Red Ingle and the boys with a little ditty about the dangers of John Barleycorn, Nicotine, and Women (wild, wild ones), a song my mother taught me:
Now, a time lapse video I made this summer of a datura bloom opening on the deck one evening (I also have lake ice and syrup making videos on YouTube):
Show’s over. Move along.