Tag: Simone Lipscomb

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.



I didn’t know what to say. 

It took a while, but gradually it began to sink in and memories began to flash and emotions arose. Friends…Hans and Renee at Lulu’s with the surprise Freddy and the Fishsticks free show during the oil spill….Greensboro and the dive club—building and setting up a tiki bar, offering refreshments to strangers passing by…the concert at Auburn when I was attending college there…Raleigh and lightning so bad I thought we’d all die on the aluminum bleachers…Pensacola and my pal Milton…Jazz Fest in New Orleans…so many amazing memories of concerts, but that’s just a small part of the sweetness.

Jimmy Buffett was basically a home-town boy, from where I grew up, that used his smarts and talent to soar to the stars with ideas and creativity. He built a freaking empire of Parrot Heads and was able to capitalize on fun and sun and letting go of worries. He did something incredible with the life he was given. That’s impressive…and inspiring. 

As I reflected on JB today, I saw how his music is interwoven into the story of my life. And so many other lives. What a legacy to leave behind.

He brought an intense focus on loving the Ocean, one of my passions.  He championed manatees, as he supported Save the Manatee Club. He connected us to our Mother Ocean. 

(When I was documenting the oil spill along the Gulf Coast in 2010)

When I asked Siri to play Jimmy Buffett this morning this is what I heard, “Mother Mother Ocean, I have heard your call. Wanted to sail upon your waters since I was three feet tall, You’ve seen it all, you’ve seen it all.” That song was a reminder of my call to dive under the surface and experience the underwater world of coral reefs, humpback whales, dolphins…the salt has always been in my blood. It’s my favorite song written by Jimmy. (A Pirate Looks at Forty). 

Growing up on the Alabama coast, so much of the soundtrack of my life was JB’s music because I could relate to what he was singing about…the salt air, open water. His poet’s soul called to mine, and helped me walk the path of my heart.

I’m not saying I continued to listen to his music so much after I rounded 50. I didn’t attend concerts since the last one in Pensacola with my buddy, Milton. It became too much, too many people, too much chaos. The thing I love about his music wasn’t in the mass of drunken people. As I grew into middle age, I found his music became more of a foundation that led me to songwriters he worked with, so my musical horizons expanded and I met people like Will Kimbrough, who wrote with Jimmy, and creates amazing songs, and Mary Gauthier, who wrote Wheel  Inside the Wheel, one of my favorite ‘JB’ songs. 

It seems a lot of musicians are leaving us these days, yet they leave behind a legacy of music that continues to feed our souls and help us reflect on our lives. The reflection on my younger years seems to happen on a deeper level every time one of our legends crosses over into that endless place of dreams. Unwinding from where I am now, I journey back to growing up on the Gulf Coast, relationships, friendships…life choices that completely changed my life’s trajectory because I chose to live fully, jumping in with wild abandon. 

Congratulations JB on a life well-lived. And thank you.

All photographs by Simone Lipscomb, except the one of me and that was taken by my brother, Lance Lipscomb.

A Surprise on the Creek

A Surprise on the Creek

A few feet from me, the trout rose to the surface and sighted the fly as it slowly drifted down the run. It was like an athlete carefully watching as a ball was hurled toward it and then…BAM! It caught the fly with a quick slurp. 

I’m always learning from the trout magi. Something new is revealed each time I wade and wander in the creeks and rivers of the Smoky Mountains. But besides having really good interactions with trout today, I recovered something I lost a week ago, when the water was running higher and I couldn’t reach it. And I couldn’t have been happier.

Last week, I was casting to a beautiful, deep hole, over a seam of really fast water. The elk hair caddis—with an orange hot spot for sighting—was popular with the trout that day. And then, a cast drifted a little too close to a submerged log and got stuck. I had no choice but to break off and leave the fly. It was too dangerous to wade across and rescue it. 

Today, the fly was waiting for me and the water was down a lot. I cast to the pool first but was so excited to see my fly, I stowed the fly line and waded across to retrieve the fly.

The hair and feather creation was really soggy but as soon as I waded back across the creek, I changed tippet and tied this lucky fly on. I squeezed it mostly-dry and added some gel flotant and off we went, casting and dancing with trout. 

There’s something so fun about finding something I thought I had lost. Even though it was a little fly and I hadn’t thought about it since losing it last week, it gave me great pleasure to rescue it and use it to interact with trout again.

As I waded and cast, I pondered the metaphor of re-discovering something in life that we thought was gone. Maybe an idea or dream, a skill, a friend, a job. Sometimes it’s about physically ‘finding’ a lost object, but other times it might involve re-claiming a talent or simply remembering to pause and let our heart feel love, gratitude.

The idea of letting go has been in my mind and heart lately. Letting go of how I expect or want plans to work out and being present enough to navigate daily from an informed present moment instead of trying to guess what the future holds and make decisions from that weird place. 

I was bummed about losing the fly last week, but didn’t waste energy fretting or worrying about it. I simply let it go. And then, I was thrilled it was there waiting on my return today. It’s a little ‘thing’ but holds space for much bigger ideas about letting go, waiting on the right timing, waiting on better conditions before proceeding. 

What have you rediscovered lately that has been a good surprise? How has it affected you?

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.