August ends today.
The days now feel clipped short, like a bad haircut, except the difference between a good haircut and a bad haircut is about two weeks while it's going to take about nine months for the days to grow out to a more manageable length.
I like the sun to rise as I'm rising. I like to tuck it in before I go to sleep. The fact that shorter days irritate me is indicative of my black hole-sized ego. How dare the natural order of the universe fail to cooperate with me!
Last week six of us went to Montana. The unmarried kids are all very busy going about and getting their own lives which gives me relief but makes MrZ a bit wistful. MrZ wanted a family vacation while there is still one to be had. Everybody agreed to go: Moose would drive to Deer Lodge from Mullen, Nebraska, where he is working; Beanpole would adjust his depressive, antipodean sleep schedule to fly with us; EE would call in favors to cover her shifts at work; YE, who doesn't reach voting age until January, would stop texting long enough to pack a bag. It was asking a lot of young people, I felt, to drop everything for seven days, but that feeling is probably a projection of my own reluctance to travel.
Being there, I like; getting there has become a chore. It's all I can do to refrain from mooing as we're winding our way through security. Standing arms-over-head in the full-body scanner, I'd like to writhe and wail, feigning full-blown electrocution. I want to squeal and moan with mock delight during the post-scan pat-down. I demonstrate Trait 1 of Adult Children of Alcoholics, the fear of authority figures, with a well-concealed snarky attitude. I cooperate like an overly happy expert and I have wicked thoughts while doing so.
Fly fishing has been on my bucket list for decades. I guess I was remiss in erasing this item after I discovered that fishing in general -- bobber fishing or spin-cast fishing -- was no longer high on my list of pleasurable isolating activities.
As a kid, catching a mess of lake perch got me out of the house while the drunks were sleeping it off, and often kept me out of the house after they had risen and were shuffling about sipping coffee to medicate their hangovery irritability. I would catch enough small perch for my own breakfast, quietly clean and cook and eat them, quietly clean the frying pan and the stove-top, then, with bratty noisiness, I would scram out the kitchen door and back to the fishing hole to catch free bait in order to please others. If I brought home a bucket of bait, we all could fish for pike later in the day.
As an adult, I've fished only as often as necessary to teach the rudimentary skills to my children. I suffer a bit of a survival hang-up, I guess. My kids will be able to feed and clothe and shelter and doctor themselves after Armageddon, I've made damn sure of it. I still enjoy being in fishing places, but I just don't need to do any fishing.
I caught a handsome cutthroat trout during the first ten minutes of a several hours-long float-trip down the Blackfoot River. This amazed me because I had been thinking it would be difficult, that it would take hours of developing skill and timing and perfecting my cast. It took only an awkward, unpoetic flinging of tackle onto the water's surface followed by a firm raising of the rod to twelve o'clock promptly after the fish took the bait, and then drawing the hooked fish closer to the raft by pulling steadily on the yellow line. Our guide placed a rubber landing net beneath the fish, held it there just long enough for me to say, "Hello, handsome fish! Thank you, handsome fish! Goodbye handsome fish!" The guide then flipped the handsome fish off the fly and out of the net without handling it.
I was happy that nobody touched the fish as human hands can easily damage a fish's slime-coat. The slime-coat helps to protect a fish's health. Messing with a fish's slime-coat would be like force-feeding a human a long-term diet of refined GM wheat and high fructose corn syrup: goodbye immune system!
Anyway, that's it. I am done with fly fishing forever, unless these End Times get so bad that I can't buy local line-caught walleye at the food co-op down the street from my house. I may take up fly tying, though. Or I might only join an online fly-tying discussion forum so I can look at pictures of "Mckey Finn on Steroids" and "Flare Gill Pigfish" for free and in the privacy of my own home.