Highway 4 revisited: finding my cast
Driving down the road listening to Bob Dylan sing the blues, I was thinking that he drops a word at the end of a sentence or phrase like a fly fisherman drops a fly. Sometimes it’s meant to drift along your stream of consciousness, and other times, it lands lightly, ready to take off again.
I didn’t hesitate to accept the invitation to attend the book signing and reception at Villa Gigli in Markleeville when my friend, Denise, called. The folks who own Villa Gigli are two of the most talented and sophisticated people I have ever met. Their restaurant/art gallery is written up in “Sunset Magazine.” People come from the Bay area to eat there. And, it’s about five minutes away from one of my favorite fishing holes.
At least it used to be one of my favorites.
But then my husband and fishing buddy of 20 years passed away, and in the year and a half since then the only thing I have been able to catch is a cold.
“Been fishing lately?” cheerful friends ask with a smile.
“Yeah,” I answer. I refrain from telling them just how excruciating retracing the steps that we used to take together has been. Like a million paper cuts.
I identify with the character that Mat Damon played in “The Legend of Bagger Vance.” After losing his platoon in WWI, the former champion golfer couldn’t do it anymore.
“You’ve lost your swing,” Bagger Vance (Will Smith) advises him. “You’ve just got to find it.”
That’s me. I’ve lost my cast.
It’s Memorial Day, a day for memories. But this time I am determined to find my cast. After the book signing, we take off.
My little dog, Hymie, runs along with me. He’s excited just to be there.
We walk the path that runs along the Grover Hot Springs stream and approach the hole I know holds a trout.
Eying the current and the surrounding branches and snags, I cast my Panther Martin below the spot so that on the retrieve, the whirling blade will entice the wary trout.
For once, it is successful. The trout communicates with a satisfying quick couple of tugs, and the contest is on.
Well, it’s not a huge contest. But with the spring current and the snags, some finesse is required. Once he tired, I brought him in.
It was a sweet pan-sized rainbow.
“OK, little fella, go and grow some more,” I said as I released him back into his home.
I couldn’t keep the fish that helped to get my cast back.
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