How to Buy a Fly Rod

Here we have a pair of Minnesota fly anglers on a week-long June dry-fly trip across northern Michigan. Weather-beaten and unbathed, in damp waders and muddy boots, they’ve stopped at Gates Au Sable Lodge mid-afternoon for a cheeseburger and some flies. As we join them they are on the grass in front of the shop. One of them is casting a well-worn but beautiful rod, while the other holds the sock and tube.

TOM:  Geez, I like it. What do you think?

ADAM:  It’d be the nicest rod I own.

TOM:  Me too. But you’re the one shopping. Wow, that does feel nice.

ADAM:  No I’m not. I don’t need a new four weight.

TOM:  Here, give it another cast or two. How often do you get to test-drive a used Thomas & Thomas? Check out the hand-painted logo.

ADAM:  I guess it would make a good souvenir. To go along with my signed book.

TOM:  Now you’re talking. And it would be perfect for those Southeast Minnesota streams.

ADAM:  Also true. Are you seeing these loops?

TOM:  It makes us look like good casters.  You know, we’re only a few minutes from the Holy Waters. You could buy it and we could go christen it right now, before we have to post up for the night.

ADAM:  Can’t argue with that.

Transitions

Fishing to hunting; fall to winter; fog to frost.

Catch-and-release to shoot-and-eat.

Night to day, and back to night: northern Minnesota’s November daylight period is such that an angler or a hunter daily witnesses both the sun’s rise and set, and not through an office window.

Natural rhythms are felt deeply.

Yearly traditions of people and places, touchstones, tell us of those things that change and those don’t.

Slow Down, They Say

Excerpted from midcurrent.com:

There is a stoplight on my way to work that happens to be in front of a mortuary. There are always a few flatbed trucks idling in the lot, each loaded with one or two wrapped pastel-colored caskets, waiting for the morning delivery manifest. more “Slow Down, They Say”

Overcast

Many words have been written about the stark beauty of a sunlit snowscape. There is a lot to say for one. The North Woods are at their aesthetic best, perhaps, under a cleansing blanket of fresh cold powder that dazzles the eyes and frosts the pines and spruces, turning them almost black with contrast, especially in the post-snowfall deep cold that settles in and makes the air itself seem brittle and crystalline.

more “Overcast”