Tag: fly fishing

Elk for Dessert

Elk for Dessert

I awoke feeling out-of-sorts, a little off. I had a nice yoga practice but that didn’t remedy the feeling. I worked a couple hours and then felt Nature calling. Strongly. The sort of call I dare not ignore the magnetic force pulling me.

Heavy clouds threatened rain, but radar showed a decent window of dry air so I loaded up the fly fishing gear and headed to one of my favorite creeks in the Smokies. It was another relatively warm day for late February and I expected mayflies and caddis to be hatching after a week of higher temperatures.

As is often the case, I ‘listen’ to a place on the creek that’s calling me: an idea pops into my mind, someone tells me where the hoards of fly fishers are and I avoid that area like the plague,  or I simply feel how my body gets excited when I think of different places. That’s what happened today.

A couple weeks ago, I discovered an area new to me. When I thought of that place today, my body felt like it lit up with electricity. A long hike? Okay. Let’s go!

During the nearly two miles to the entry point, I worked to keep my mind quiet. I simply asked to be shown what I needed to see and invited animals, ancestors, angels…all the fun friends…along for the hike. 

Evidently the trout felt the same electrical current that I did because they were on fire! Mayflies were hatching in the first large pool I visited and the splashes and leaps had me jumping as I sat eating a snack. I caught and released two rainbows there and then put away the rod and sat on the green, mossy bank and ate an orange. If I catch one or two fish in a pool, I move on so everyone can get back to doing what they do best—gorging on insects.

Every trout I caught today was fat and strong-looking. I think they must be chunky from a week of sucking in massive quantities of hatching insects. I felt honored to be in their presence and sent them all on their way with massive amounts of love and appreciation.

After nearly three hours, I noticed the sky was especially dark and rain was probably coming soon. I found an exit from the creek through the woods and connected with the trail in my downward hike out. It started raining, but only lightly like gentle kisses on my cheeks.

Follow the energy is a bit of guidance I keep receiving over the past couple of months. When I feel tired or ‘off’ I just follow the energy of my body and mind and notice what’s happening. On the way down the trail, I had over two miles to track the energy in my body. It had completely changed from when I started, when I questioned if I should even be doing anything. I felt amazing! Light, energized, clear. Just three hours earlier I thought I was possibly coming ‘down with something.’ Yeah…down is right. Too much computer. Too many spreadsheets. Too much in my head. All downers to my energy.

One of the things I’ve been exploring, with a mentor from the UK, is that powerful place where my skills, talents, and passion intersect with the needs of the world. I’m wanting to feel passion about the work I’m doing, feel I’m making a difference, connecting with what I love and sharing it in a way that is helpful to others. 

Today, as I was walking out, I heard: Follow the energy, how have you changed? When I listened again to my body and felt the huge shift within myself, I felt that part of the answer came clear. Be outside more. Interact with Nature more. This is where I feel completely whole, completely at one with myself and all life. Do this! 

That sounds great, right? The part I am missing is where me feeling this amazing, after 3 hours of Nature exposure, helps others. Maybe just shifting my energy, shifts the energy around me and thus helps others. Or maybe the Earth feels my love and that’s where my skills and talents touch the needs of the world. Maybe taking people outside and helping them deepen with Nature is the way forward. I honestly don’t know. But I do know that when I follow the energy, every time I take myself outside, into Nature, I am healed in ways I don’t fully understand.

Anything that helps me feel so in tune with myself and Nature, that helps me experience Oneness, and clears my mind and body so completely, is my way forward. I don’t have to know how all of that helps the world. For now, I’m just going to keep doing it. Keep hiking into creeks and rivers and dancing with trout and water and moss….and receiving the bounty of beauty that surrounds and infuses me. And saying thank you, thank you, thank you.

As I drove through the park in a post-wading blissful state, I stopped for an elk jam. I pulled over and from inside my car observed the herd. I heard myself say, This is like dessert after a perfect meal. Elk for dessert. 

I was fully fed and nurtured as I hiked and waded over five miles. I feel alive, hours later, as I sit watching the mountains and feeling gratitude for such powerful Medicine.

Letting Go

Letting Go

There is a nice bit of split creek I’ve never been able to reach. Honestly, I’ve never tried. One side has a steep bank with slower water, the other a channel of fast water. A gravel bed is in the middle. It always seemed out of reach. 

A couple days ago it really called me, so I walked down the bank past the area and checked it out. There was a large, downed tree that could act as a hand hold to cross a shallower part of the creek where it splits and a large rock I could climb and slide down the other side to reach a dry gravel bed. The only problem was I wouldn’t be able to climb back up the rock and wasn’t sure I could cross the slower part of the creek to exit the steep bank because I couldn’t see the depth of the creek. 

Even with the uncertainty, I felt compelled to take the risk and let go of my fear. 

The log provided perfect support as I used it to help me across the creek. I easily climbed the rock with my fly rod and wading staff in one hand. It wasn’t that far to the gravel bed but the only way down was to slide on my rear and just go. So that’s what I did.

I let go.

I reached the dry gravel with ease with a smile on my face. In surveying the creek depth, from the level of the surface, I saw that I could easily wade across and climb up the bank when I was ready to leave. Funny how I couldn’t see that until I took the risk to let so and slide to the other side.

How many times do we hold on to fear and refuse to take chances because we don’t know what’s on the other side. The thing is, we don’t know until we take the risk. When we let go of fear we open ourselves to all possibilities. 

Being ‘Reel’

Being ‘Reel’

The wind caused me to choose a slightly heavier fly rod. It was the first time I used it after it was gifted to me from the hands of an experienced and well-traveled fly fisher. I stripped line off the reel, did a slow backcast, paused for the loop to unroll and then sent the line forward. As soon as the dry fly kissed the water’s surface, a rainbow trout grabbed it and danced with me. As it arrived in the water at my feet, I gave the line slack and it unhooked itself and swam away with a no-contact release…my favorite way to end an encounter.

I considered it an auspicious way to receive the new rod and reel into my care. I think the rod was happy to feel the sun reflecting off its deep, translucent green surface. And the reel had its first-ever experience doing what it was born to do. 

Three hours of wading in the creek—under sunny, unseasonably warm air—was filled with rising trout, leaping trout, pouting trout, and the utter beauty of the Smoky Mountains. Water levels had dropped enough to once again make wading one of my favorite creeks safe and enjoyable. But I kept thinking of the reel. And the rod, but especially the reel.

It was a special purchase many years ago—a collector’s item of sorts with a special finish from a high-end manufacturer. My friend told me, when he gave it to me, that it had never been used. When I took the rods and reels he gifted me to Little River Outfitters, the guys there enjoyed each piece I shared with appreciation but especially the Abel reel and the Winston rod. Daniel helped me pick out line and backing that complemented the finish and suggested pairing it with the classic Winston. 

I wonder how the reel felt, after waiting all those years to fulfill its purpose, to be on the water, attached to an experienced rod, holding line and catching trout. I felt the balance of the pair as I lifted them to make that first cast, the smooth delivery of line, and the action as the fish engaged. The reel is a click and pawl reel, having no drag. Every reel has a voice and its voice is a growl, but after our time on the water yesterday, I think I heard a bit of a purr of contentment at being what it was born to be.

How many of us have waited and worked, hoping that someday our talents and skills align with work the world needs? What would that look like? What would it feel like to be ‘reel’ with the work we gift to the world? To be doing what makes our heart sing…or growl…or purr.



It became more just wading up the small creek rather than constantly seeking another small pool to cast into. Occasionally, I’d unhook the nymph and let it and the dry fly move through the air, but really I was just enjoying the profound beauty of the mist, the light rain, rushing water, and moss-covered rocks. 

The air was 57 degrees and the water was 50 degrees. As I waded up the creek, the typical fog–that so often thrills me in the Smokies–started to form over the water. The softness of air enveloped me with light moisture as it kissed my face and hands. Everything else was under waterproof cover. 

I saw only one trout and it was a brookie that danced with me until I freed it to carry on in the watery realms. But today, it was simply a bonus to connect with a fish for a few moments. Otherwise I was absorbing the beauty into my cells, feeling the peace of mind that comes from being in the present moment. 

It always amazes me what two hours wading a mountain stream does for me, to me. Hours later, I’m still feeling the creek water move through my body, the mist caress and envelope me as it did the rocks and trees. And I’m already excited about returning, to the creek…to myself.

My Bones Remember

My Bones Remember

My bones remember Oneness as they move over ancient moss-covered rocks, through clear, rushing water.

Space within me becomes everything reflected in the quiet, still pool or the bright eye of the swimming trout.

Each cell mirrors the gnarled roots reaching, drinking deeply and branches soaring, dancing into blue sky.

If I looked for a lifetime, I couldn’t find anything within me that isn’t singing harmoniously with this place.