One of the advantages of starting the day at 5AM in a life where you never have to leave your property; is you can be flexible with your schedule. So after the chores were done, the dogs walked in the woods, the coffee drank, and the cats disappointed, again, with the new brand of cat food I got on sale… I put my rod, sling pack, and net in the back of Holland Taylor and drove to the river.
By 7:30 I was standing knee deep in the Battenkill, my canvas work pants, soaked to mid thigh, even though I had them rolled up to the knee. Once I get my feet wet, it's anyone's game - I will wade chest deep without waders if I get a hunch. It's summer and my farm is a five minute drive away, so I will chafe the hell out of my thighs if it leads to a good story. That goes for anything, really.
Damn, I was happy. Happy after this past miserable, pacing, winter to finally be out in the sunshine, shoulders tanning in a sleeveless shirt, casting to brown trout without another person anywhere around. Bliss.
I avoided my favorite fishing spot all weekend. Fly Fishing isn’t exactly a team sport, and I didn’t want to spend the day moving so kayakers could launch their boats or hearing kids scream at the swimming hole or being generally observed or seen by anyone, at all. I just wanted to be in the river, all wet thighs and hope.
Shortly after switching from a dry fly to a sinking stonefly, I got the biggest trout ever on the line. Holy Crow, folks! I could see him through the clear water of the Battenkill, the size of my FOREARM! I thought I had him, and started scrambling for my net when I felt the line go slack and saw the glint of the brass on the stonefly laugh at me.
The big one unhooked himself and I didn’t even care, it was so exciting! I’ve never caught a BIG trout while out bumming on the river. I’ve only ever brought in small to medium-sized guys, but this was the kind of fish you could brag about. He got away, but I had that short game of tag and saw what what possible, and for an optimist like me, that’s enough to burn a morning trying.
I stuck around for two hours, walking up and down to other holes in the river, sometimes wading out in the middle of it and casting long shots into the rivulets. Sometimes crouched in little brushy places where casting is impossible, and like Huck Finn you just drop a line with a strike indicator and pray.
This is something I am learned in the last four years of dating women and in the last four hours of this Tuesday: don't bother with the ones that aren't interested. Don't suffer the loss of what never was. Don't cling to broken lines. Cast elsewhere.
I can say this much, I had fun, and while I never did get that horker back on the line, I caught a nice little brown trout and netted him in the morning sunlight.
Now I’m back home, and writing to you, a habit I’ll keep doing daily if encouraged. Yesterday’s post was somewhat mundane compared to the previous day's and let me tell you, radio silence until nearly 5PM when one person sent a single dollar over PayPal and thanked me for teaching them the word Kailyard. That's all it took, folks. I was obligated to write today - per our agreement. Happy to oblige. Hope you like hearing about fish.
Some days I will want to pour my heart out. Some days I'll want to be silly. Some days, I'll want to talk about chasing dreams down the river in the form of fish too big to handle on a 4x leader, but I’ll be here if you keep encouraging me. That’s a promise.
Thank you to the two people who encouraged me to write today! I have decided this is how it's going to work:
When I post a blog it has 24hrs to earn at least one dollar. If it doesn't, then I am not going to have any obligation to post the following day and continue this daily writing streak.
If someone realizes I stopped writing, and a day or two later sends a dollar to "buy" a new post, that aint going to work. I will write again, but you don't buy hours of my time for a dollar. It sure as hell is appreciated, and it will help keep this fever dream of an adult life going, but there's zero obligation to rush to write something after that 24-hour-window closes.
So get your support in while the writing is going strong, cause once I realize this is taking away from the work I need to do to stay here, it's on the back burner. If I can grow my audience and make my writing a chunk of my income, hoooo.... it's going to get weird, deep, and great 'round these parts.
I'll keep this daily posting up as long as a single person spends one dollar the day the post is live. If not, we all get a nice break and I'll come back when I've got something to say. If someone sends a big contribution, you'll get something big and juicy. That seems more than fair to me. And if you don't like this system, that's fine and I don't care. I'm entirely optional. Paying attention to me is not, and never will be, a requirement for any part of your life.
What is interesting is that coming out post happened because I had to write that morning, and that's what was on my mind. Today, fish. But tomorrow? Who knows!
If anyone has questions they want addressed as a blog post, email them to me. Or send them on Instagram, where I am the most active. However, I'm not interested in hearing about is how your husband won't let you have chickens (divorce him) or what's the best perennials for your zone 5 garden. This isn't that kind of blog. You know who to ask about that stuff. I want your big questions. Anonymous is fine, and more fun. I won't include your name or location.
I just wanted to be clear that no one has to pay anything. I will still write here and it's always available for free. But if anyone wants to volunteer to venmo/paypal at least one dollar, it means I will write a post the next day. If no one does, then I'll update when I feel like it. Might be the next day, might be in a month.
Please understand, that I do not mean a dollar for every post or from every reader! I mean, quite literally, if a single person anywhere in the world sends a single US dollar, and that's all the money I earn that day, I'll write tomorrow.
Venmo: jennawog (preferred)