We’ve used fire in the past, as a symbolic cleansing of the year gone by, and also as a welcome to the year ahead. A good fire also provides entertainment, along with the possibility of excitement.
After leaving a job I’d held for more than 10 years, 2018 was like waking from a dream (see 1000 words + 1 Picture). Depending on who whispers in your ear, you might hear it is just as well I am gone because I was stealing or that I was growing pot behind the septic mound. You might hear I was rude to a trespasser or that I punched a little kid in the head. You might even hear that I had spent an entire decade doing nothing but fishing “all the time!”
Only one of those things is even close to true. I may have, once or twice, spoken less than cordially to trespassers but the way I figure it, if you are where you don’t belong and someone who does belong asks you to leave, getting lippy ain’t the way to go. No matter what, though, everyone got to go home with a story (see Quill Gordon and the Nonesuch Mountain Howler).
The days were getting longer by the time I landed, a mile and a half further up the mountain, at a place nicknamed “Little Siberia.” When not clearing exits and digging paths through the snow, there was plenty of time to decompress and unpack before the sap started running and sugaring season got underway with a stretch of weather in the 60s at the end of February.
Back to back to back Nor’easters brought six feet of snow to southern Vermont in March and the sap didn’t run for 24 days straight, giving time to finish unpacking and to re-organize a collection of old sporting magazines. Of course, this provided plenty of distraction from the task at hand and I was struck by the contrast between an old Kodak ad and the modern world of instantaneous communication (see Pictures Don’t Lie and Neither do Fishermen).
The weather eventually broke and the sap ran again, but not before people on snowshoes, carrying shovels, had dug up the hillside, freeing lines from the deep, deep snow. Pleasant (for Vermont) spring weather returned, the arch was stoked, and celebrations ensued. City fashions just can’t stand up to the apparel of Vermonters during Mud Season and our parties hold their own against the best of them (see Stepping Out in Style…).
Time passed differently with the old sign posts gone. Ice-out, the return of the loons, the reappearance of anglers, and the first hatches of midges took place as they always did, but spring comes late to the top of the mountain and I became attuned to different signals to mark the passage of time. With no beds to make, toilets to scrub, or boats to bail, the days stopped blurring together and it was possible to notice things like turtles migrating across the yard on a sunny afternoon.
Anglers have waxed rhapsodic about “home” waters for years. I’m sure I’ll write it a love letter some day but my old home water was no longer home and there was not one twinge of guilt as I boarded a plane to fish somewhere else for the first time in way too long. Here’s to friends who not only believe everyone deserves to fish, they insist upon it. They feel the same way about drinking whiskey and eating bacon. I love them (see Castwell’s Curse is Lifted).
And then it was summer, spent mostly picking up work, pecking at a keyboard, and poking around a new watershed. None of that furious pecking resulted in anything for these pages until October when, all of a sudden, I realized it was fall. Again, the passage of time (see Lapse).
Another year, another trip around the sun, and here we are. Many thanks (and sincere apologies where necessary) to those who have visited these pages since we kicked things off with a craft project in December of ’07 (see A Craft Project With My Friend, Eugene). That’s longer than I held my last job and I still don’t know what to call it. I guess I’ll stick with “blog,” although one former acquaintance told me he had enjoyed my “little web thing.” I can only hope and assume he was talking about The View from Fish in a Barrel Pond. Since then, I am also on Instagram.
So, what sort of fire was employed to bid good riddance to 2018?
It was an interesting year in these parts and the only direction to go is forward. To everyone reading this, Eugene, Purly, the rest of the gang and I wish you a happy and healthy 2019!