Short Story by Barbara Kasey Smith
People I’d like to share with you a love I have for nature and a sport that I’ve loved during many trout fishing seasons in a lifetime in various mountain stream areas in Virginia. There’s one thing that needs to be said first, “Fishing is a sport that takes patience, skill, walking and a lot of waiting; and if you don’t have these traits you’ll probably not enjoy this fish-story but you may enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way.”
I’m a lover of nature, critters and anything that God put on this earth for people to enjoy. There’s nothing greater than walking beside or in a sparkly running mountain stream gazing at all the beautiful creations we’ve been given to enjoy. Nature and critters bring peace and harmony that feeds the soul bringing me shear happiness and peace.
Pulling on a pair of waders and stepping into a mountain stream where water is as clear as glass and ice cold, walking and looking down at different colored rocks, lush moss edged with blue and white wild violets clinging to riversides and coupled with mountains of vegetation providing a magnificent view of scenery, critters and providing humans who love nature a total exhilaration nourishing and feeding the body to desire more of its glory.
It’s as though the river whispers and hums and the mountains gift me with a feeling of security, peace and love as big arms hug me while I splash through the water. Watching a wild turkey in the distance spanning its massive colorful tail feathers as it hides her baby chicks beneath as she parades alongside bushes. Watching as she cuddles them tighter and tighter under her wings as if it’s a beautiful colored parasol of security keeping them from prey. Rays seep in capturing the beauty of the varied tints to paint a scene of sheer beauty and for the passionate love that critters have for their young.
I cast my line back and forth through the rivers bed hope to see a flicker of beautiful colors flip and flop through the air as I catch a beautiful rainbow trout or spotted brown trout or brook trout. I love seeing the magnificent colors of the rainbow trout as the sun hits it in the air as it’s caught…it’s a scene as beautiful as a rainbow arched in the sky.
I believe in nature and sports it brings tranquility to the soul and heart of a human. The smell of the mountains is tantalizing and enticing it draws in a “true” sense of odors only experienced deep in the woods. It’s a woodsy smell that captures and draws me in like the aroma of a fragrant flower.
I watch as my line squiggles under a tree root…a nibble tugs at my line, again and again, I zip and zap until I’ve snagged it, allowing it to fight and tread toward me as it splashes through the water; and I cannot believe my eyes, “It’s a beautiful speckled brown trout,” it’s a big one, my heart’s pounding as I hook it on a chain and continue on down the stream whipping my line back and forth trying to entice another one.
Trout puts up a forceful fight and I love to play with them giving them some lead-way with the line to take it and run with it because I love to watch their vigorous fights…it’s amazing as they tread the water flipping and flopping stubbornly letting me know it’s not going to be caught so easily.
Something startles me as I hear an unusual noise in the trees; I scan the ridge slowly and then look above me where a huge rusty snake hangs over my head. Eek, Eek, I pray it doesn’t drop on my head as I shiver in disgust! I’m not an alarmist but I must confess I rush along the slippery rocks, looking back on numerous occasions to ensure it’s not following me.
Trout fishing is not easy…they’re intelligent and skillful as can be, they can steal a person’s bait in a heartbeat; and if they become familiar with a certain type of bait, forget it because it’ll never take the bait. They are fresh, clean and beautiful as they swim, it’s amazing to sit and watch them go up and down a brook cling under rocks when they can.
I slip up and fall into the rippling ice cold water, try to get up slip and fall back in again and again…trying to hold onto my rod. The rocks are slippery I cannot get a grip and I keep repeating the tries until I’m thoroughly wet but loving every minute of it. A person could say, “Look at her, she’s gone swimming!”
I continue down the way as I spot the prettiest little face peering at me from beside some bushes, it’s the face of an angel…a raccoon, its face is outlined in a deep dark black and it appears to know I’m watching it. Oh to capture this face…what a beautiful photograph it would make. Paws appear to rub something in them as if washing something to eat. Its fur is sort-a striped and then the black outline makes it stand out like its face is an ashen grey…beautiful is what I call this one.
Here I am alone and fishing in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Hugh’s River when suddenly I hear splashing of the water like a horse or cow is running through it…I look back and there’s a massive blackish brown bear plodding through the stream. I’m in awe and I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do…I’m right in the middle of the river. I’ve often been told to be quiet and slip out of the water and try to get as far away as I can and as I try this, I slip and fall into the icy. I hear this thumping in my brain…I’m trembling from the icy and with fear and whispering, “Calm yourself, stay calm, get up and walk up the hill…get to the main road if you can.”
I make it up the hill and when I do the bear turns and comes up the hill a short way down the way. I’m now about to panic!! I’m afraid to breathe I don’t know if the bear saw me…I lean against a huge oak pressing my body into it as far as I can. I hear feet like patters coming fast along the path behind the trees and then roars like I’ve never heard before and I hear a noise ahead and see two small cubs making a funny noise as they hear their mother roaring…”Ugh, what am I going to do!”
I’m tensed and praying she’ll go by and not see me clinging to the tree…whew, not a glance at me she’s headed for her cubs. I ease out and begin walking the other way as fast as I can, coming to my truck and deciding it’s time to get out of town. I certainly don’t want to play tag with a bear that has cubs and this signals go and don’t look back.
Barbara Kasey Smith is the writer of this short story and it’s based on her love of God’s creations and her love for trout fishing.