First of May.

Every May I’m reminded I’m allergic to sycamore, standing on a gravel bar, a sneezing, snotty mess. That and the fact I’m wet wading, that two months without a haircut leaves me looking somewhere between Jack Torrance and Ernie McCracken, almost assures no one will bother me, no matter how busy the stream is.

And it is busy- busier than I’ve ever seen. Two cars parked below the access, spotless SUV’s with roof racks and rod tubes and stickers plastered across the back glass. Three cars in the parking lot, though one is an older couple hiking along the road. A guy nymphing downstream as I sat with a beer by a logjam, contemplating the movement of water and the practically imperceptible downstream march of riffles and pools relative to an overhanging tree whose roots you had to clamber up before. He doesn’t believe I caught anything on anything larger than a #18. The first solo female fly angler I’d seen in this part of the world, working a deep pool as I walked the road. I long ago promised when I did, I wouldn’t act as though they’d fallen from outer space- I watched for a moment, and waved. Can’t blame anyone for getting out the first nice day in a while- not hot, not rainy.

I sit with an open fly box in my lap, surveying gaps which still need filled, and realize this is the closest I’ve come to a normal day since the beginning of March. I need those periodic reminders- life is crazy, fly fishing keeps me grounded.

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