Tag: Nature’s Teachings

Grand Slam…Thank You Ma’am!

Grand Slam…Thank You Ma’am!

I had to break out the waders. Fifty-two degree air temps and 59 water temps…and wading in the shady gorge of the creek. While I missed the water-to-skin contact I so enjoy wet-wading, today was a day for wading pants.

A little doe, a white-tailed deer, walked along with me in the morning fog and light. (sigh) It was a little over a mile so I was sufficiently warmed up by the time I made it up the elevation of the trail to the place I wanted to access the creek. That was under 30 minutes. It would be another hour and a half before my dance partners were ready to begin our waltzes.

But first, upon entering the water, the first touch. Hands to clear water in deep gratitude. Heart open to the connections…water, rocks, trees, moss, fish, insects, human. Oneness.

Wading, casting, wading, stopping and looking with awe. Wading, casting…more awe, more smiling. And then, my dance partners were ready. But would only respond to one specific kind of dry fly. Not a stimulator. Not a caddis. Nope. Nope. Nope. Small parachutes, please. Purple dubbing…yes! Olive dubbing…yes! But only small parachute adams flies.

Okay. Whatever makes you all happy. When the dancing started, boy did we dance!

There had been 7 rainbow dances. Then a brookie danced. And I was like….I have another half mile or more of creek before I exit….COME ON BROWNIE!!! My mantra became, Come on Brownie! Two more dances with rainbows….the first time I’ve EVER said… Oh, another rainbow. I had my heart set on a slam…the three trout in the national park: rainbow, brown, and brook. The audacity of me to be disappointed when a wild trout decided to dance with me. I caught that snobbery immediately and made apologies.

And then….from right under a big stump, a flash of energy took the dry fly and I set the hook and Mr. Brown Trout erupted from the deep pool to grant me my wish: A GSMNP Grand Slam! The honey-colored belly flew through the air and I erupted in a loud WHOOP!!!

I was so psyched that I ended the day in a long, large pool–free of overhanging anything–and just worked on long casts. The creeks I fish are small and have so much growth overhanging or pushing in on the sides, it’s rare to be able to stretch out that beautiful loop. But I did and the rock where I was standing had a trout hiding there that eventually tired of my big boot being so close and slowly swam away. Ah, my pet rainbow.

There are always moments that remain frozen in my mind after such a perfect day. I reflected on them as I hiked down the trail: the light filtering through dense leaves and fog as I wade upstream; a trout rises a few feet from my boot to wait for the fly floating down the run…as it surfaces, it rolls its eyes toward me and at the last minute refuses (smart trout!); a rainbow I release as I kneel down on the rocks–I do this to keep the fish in the water as I remove the barbless hook–and the trout just stays in the shadow of my knee…so I continue to kneel and observe the trout just inches from me but nearly invisible…so perfect is their camouflage…I finally touch its tail suggesting it move on so I could stand up; the monster trout that swirls at the bottom of a big pool that rises to my fly and then dives back down and continues swimming around, totally ignoring my fly (another very smart fish).

Walking down the trail in the return to ‘reality,’ amidst all these beautiful reflections, I nearly stepped in a big pile of bear poo. Back to reality, Simone!

If you’d like to join me in an alternate reality of the fly fishing kind, I offer holistic fly fishing guide service. Most of my clients are women, new to fly fishing; but, anyone is welcome. We focus on the connection of life within the creek ecosystem, rather than how many fish are caught. Hone your skills, learn as a brand new beginner or just come along for the woo-woo…I create a safe space to learn and practice being a wading woman.

Dreaming with Elk

Dreaming with Elk

It happened again. I awoke in the wee hours of the morning dreaming of elk bedded down all around my home and then, late this afternoon, I came upon a large gathering of elk as they begin to come together for their annual autumnal rut festival. According to a national park volunteer I spoke with, today was the first day of their gathering. And they told me in my dream.

A few years ago, not long after I moved back to the Smokies, I awoke and in a half-waking/half-sleeping state, I felt hot breath on my face. None of my four-legged companions was the source of the hot breath. I felt an elk standing over me, breathing in my face. Later that morning, I came upon a massive bull elk standing on the side of the road, as if he was waiting for me.

It has happened more than these two examples, but these were the most intense. 

I’m not sure how consciousness works, but I do believe we have helpers that show up in all manner of forms. The elk and I definitely are in sync. And I am deeply grateful.

Today I saw a cow and her calf in the river and they reminded me of Wading Women, my holistic fly fishing guide service name. They became the newest members of the team…wading women, indeed! 

No matter what species were are labeled, we all go to water for nurturing, healing, for life-giving fluids. Several elk were cooling off in the chilly, mountain water as it was in the low 90’s here in the Smokies. I’m in total agreement with them…let’s wade!

I’m grateful for the visitations, for the shared dreamtime experiences with elk. For their strength, power, and stamina—majestic rulers of the forest. Thank you!

Please note: none of these images were taken in close proximity to the elk. They were either taken with a telephoto lens, from a safe distance behind a big tree, or actually from within my car and the elk were alongside the road. The national park asks visitors to stay over 50 yards away (150 feet). Anything that disturbs elk or causes them to move, is against park rules and can result in fines and arrest. I have accidentally come upon them on a trail before and it’s a very strange feeling to realize you are completely surrounded by elk without even seeing them when you were hiking. This time of year, as we approach the ‘rut festival,’ we must be extra cautious as the bulls can be very dangerous when they are fighting for their gals. Please don’t harass any wildlife in the park. Let them remain undisturbed. Please.

Twilight on the Creek

Twilight on the Creek

In that liminal space of twilight, the woods awakened. Gone were the busy people intent on a destination to a waterfall, a bridge, a mileage count. Here, the spirits of the woods emerged again to dance.

Thresholds…places of betwixt and between…places of power. Dawn gives way to light and brings hope and illumination. Twilight leads us to deeper and darker places, the richness of the Unknown opens before us and awakens us to the journey inward…deeper into our fears and hesitations.

I entered the water at twilight with the simple intention of coming back into balance. Alignment with all that is. Letting the water caress my feet and hands…coming home to myself. Arriving back ‘in’ Earth. 

As I stood in the water at the base of the falls, fireflies began to dance through the cool, night air. They guided me back down the trail as night enveloped me with Mystery. 



The gate is a threshold that offers a portal to a magical world, a green tunnel overhead and clear, flowing water underfoot. A place beckons where the outside world is left behind and the seeker can receive precious gifts of the present moment.

Fly fishing small mountain streams offers so much more than interacting with trout. And while dancing with trout is amazing, it’s the relationship cultivated with then entire ecosystem that brings us to gain understanding of Oneness, connection, balance.

When wading and casting, one doesn’t have to concentrate on doing any specific mindfulness practice or yoga asana to find balance. It naturally occurs from being completely present. This comes from immersing not only the feet into cool water, but the entire self into the experience of staying upright on slick rocks and keeping the fly out of rhododendrons overhanging the creek. And submerging into the absolute beauty of wading through the green tunnel.

When only focused on numbers of trout caught, the entire experience of passing through the threshold into the magical world can easily be missed. Anyone can splash through water and drive themself relentlessly to pursue fish. But only those souls who understand the true gift offered by the river and rocks and trees, will come to know the Medicine offered by fly fishing.

Photo by Anna O.


I call it holistic fly fishing and offer guided experiences through my business, Wading Women. Holistic fly fishing is based in balance of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of the experience. It is an approach founded in awareness of the environment and interconnectedness of all life. Our excursions are based on creating a nurturing, safe place to learn and connect. It’s all about deepening our relationship with Nature and all life by wading and casting…Wading Women. For more info visit the Wading Women website.

Photo by Anna O.
When Rocks Sing

When Rocks Sing

The large bolder in the middle of the clear, rushing water was the perfect place to sit as I tied on new tippet and a new fly. As I focused on tying the knots, attention given completely to the task, I felt vibrations coming from the rock through my body. Must be the rock transmitting the water’s movement, I thought.

On I waded until I found a much bigger rock to sit on for my snack of dark chocolate and almonds. As I chewed the nuts and sweet treat, I felt the same thing. I’d never felt vibrations from a rock before…not like that. And yes, the water was moving but, still. 

So I sat and felt the rock trembling and wondered if it was my body shaking…but no, it was definitely coming from outside of me. 

What must it take for something as solid and heavy as a rock to reverberate with the energy of water? I’ve been at large waterfalls and felt the earth shake from large volumes of water. I’ve stood on cliffs over 700 tall on the west coast of Ireland and felt the ground shake far back from the edge as waves crashed into shore. So yes, it’s possible for earth to transmit vibrations of moving water. I had just never felt it on the rocks in the creek.

It’s rather amazing, really. Something as hard and heavy and big as a large bolder can convey the language of water through vibrations. And, I’m guessing I could have put my ear to the rock and heard the music of the interplay between rock and water through the rock’s interpretation of those vacillations of sound waves…of energy.

In my meditation before sleep tonight, I closed my eyes and listened to my body. It felt energized and alive, in perfect balance. That usually happens after four or five hours of wading and casting, but tonight I noticed something different. It was as if my body still held the vibration of the rock…the music of the rock…and continued to emit joy from that profound song. 

While I truly love dancing with trout and the relationship I have with them as they swim to flies I tied and refuse or try them or swat them or ignore them, it’s experiences like I had today–when rocks sing to me and I am still enough to feel the music–that nurture my life, my self.