Skip to main content

Hemlock Cathedral

The morning fog was lifting in the mountains and the sunlight had began to filter through the trees. I turned off the asphalt highway onto the gravel road. The only other vehicle in the parking area was an old International Scout, so I took a few minutes to check it out as I slung my pack over my shoulders and grabbed my hiking staff, and then started walking.

I walked for a few minutes, and up ahead, I saw an old man and a dog. The man was sitting on a big rock, and his dog was just standing there beside him. The old man looked to be in his seventies, he had a wild grey beard and a floppy hat and glasses as thick as Coke bottles. His shirt was unbuttoned to his navel, and had white chest hair and a gold rope chain hanging out.

"Beautiful day, ain't it?" he said.

"Yessir."

"Looks like you're headed to the top," gesturing at my pack.

"Guess so," I said, "You too?"

"Nah, this is enough for me. But I can't think of a holier place to be on a Sunday morning than up here in these mountains."

I was relieved that he wasn't going any further. I didn't want anyone finding out where I was going.

"Nice talking to you," I said as we parted, then I pushed on.

A while later, I cut off the foot trail and made my way through the laurel hell to the creek. I tried my best not to leave any clues as to how to find the place that I was headed to.

When I got down there, I unpacked my six-piece flyrod and box of flies. The smallest Adams I had was a size 18, so I tied it on. I tried not to cast any shadows on the water and keep myself concealed as I approached the water.

Thick hemlocks and rhododendrons shaded the branch, keeping the water dark and cool. I gently dappled the fly on the water's surface and gave it enough line to drift down into a small pool. Just the slight twitch it made when I touched the line with my fingertips was enough to get one of the native Brook, or speckled trout, as we call 'em here, to pop my fly, and pulled the fiesty little devil in by merely lifting the rod tip. I held him in my hand just long enough to admire his greenish back and mottled red and yellow specks on his sides.

He fled back to the shadows, and I just sat there a spell, looking up into the trees all around, and listening to the water gurgling over the rocks. The old man was right, I thought, there is no holier place.

Comments

  1. The eyes of a native trout nearly grow outside the body , so beautiful and so small !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true, 'big eyes' I heard a fellow call em one time. Most people don't know they exist. That's probably a good thing though. Thanks, Pudd'n.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

After Dark

I stayed up way too late last night. Chase called on his way home from work and told me that we were going catfishing. That's usually how things like this begin.

My brand new son- in- law Bryan was going too, although my daughter wasn't crazy about the idea. No worries though, she would stay at our house and await his return. She ended up asleep on my side of the bed until we got back. Apparently, their agreed upon curfew was 11:30, and he did his best to keep it despite Chase's nudging him to stay longer. My son has no concept of time when it comes to fish, whether they are biting or not.

So there we stood in the dark, on a bridge that crosses the Tyger  River. Every creature that flies or creepeth upon the ground was out. The noise from insects and frogs in the surrounding swamp was deafening. Chase was our catfish guide. He'd brought all the rods, bait and any tackle we might need. Chase's bait of choice was chunks of chicken breast marinated in his secret formu…

A Letter To My Father

Two years ago, this very night, you were still here among the living. You had no idea of what was to come in the early hours of the morning, but I know you had some inkling. You'd been talking about it for a while, and the Sunday before, I was told that you 'd made things right.Your mind and body were weak from fighting to hold onto your spirit, but your spirit was so much stronger, and it was determined to be set free. Your pain would soon be over, but you liked to fight, always did. You were the most stubborn human being that I have ever known, and I know that at the end, you were no different. I'm sure it wasn't your choice to go, despite all those times you cried, saying you wanted to die and be put out of your misery. When the medics had worked so long on you and decided to give up on you, your heart started back beating, as if out of spite.  I wonder sometimes what those last few hours were like for you. I wish I could've been there for you, like all the time…

Working Together

My dad passed away on this date, three years ago . I'll admit that I still have a hard time with it, knowing that I'll never see him again or talk to him in this lifetime. You always hear that time heals the heart, and the pain has faded some, but you never truly get over losing a loved one. What I am left with are the memories, for better or for worse. In my head, I can faintly see his face, can almost make out the sound of his voice among the the many others that have stayed with me through the years. Sometimes I try to remember certain things he said, and when I can't, it drives me crazy. There are things that I have wanted to tell him since he passed, but can't. I have questions about things that only he would know the answer to, but I am left wondering now for the rest of my life, with no access to that answer. I've ran into trouble with a car engine, or air conditioning unit, or electrical panel, and my life- line that was always just a phone call away, is no…