Music to Fish By

When I read about fishing I tend to read about trout fishing, even though there are no trout streams in Illinois and I don't fish for trout.

The words of the trout writer/angler immerse me into their world.

Mesmerizing descriptions of the surroundings of where trout live, whether a lake or small stream, paint wonderful pictures for the brain. You become part of the story. You can smell what they smell, feel the sun warming your skin as theirs. Glistening droplets of water created by leaping trout at sunset sting your eyes like pin pricks.

You sit along the shore when they do, taking in the beauty of the surroundings. Watching the bug hatches rise and the trout that rise for them. You rummage through their fly box, a part of the decision making process on what would be best to entice a trout and allow one to be hooked and brought to hand.

If they describe it right.

Bass writer/anglers on the other hand tend to write product spec sheets.

Inevitably the trout writer/angler will describe the music playing in their heads while out enticing trout. Various composers will be sited... Brahms, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy and Bach will all get mentioned with the more adventurous siting Stravinsky or even Phillip Glass. Of course the music of the composer is somehow directly related to the beauty and serenity of the surroundings.

While standing out in the river at sunset tonight, I was standing in crotch deep water listening to the river breathe.

Yes, rivers breathe.They subtly rise and fall and if you stand still in just the right place you'll hear the tone of water over rock change every couple of minutes. If you're extremely observant, you can actually see this happen as the water depth over the shallow rocks changes slightly.

There were just enough clouds out tonight for the sun to paint yellow, pink and red. To the east a full moon was rising in a deep blue sky over trees whose top tips were painted gold with the setting sun.

Music began playing in my head, it's always there in the background somewhere. It breathed like the river, rising and falling. I could swear there were speakers on shore somewhere playing the music out over the river, I hear it that distinctly. I always do.

I usually fight the songs in my head to quiet my brain. This time I just let it go, to play in it's endless loop till it stopped on it's own. This could take hours at times, but I had no place better to be.

Ducks and geese careened up and down the river, silhouetted by the deepening blue of the sky. Subtle yellow mayflies were hatching along the shore line and disappearing on their flight up stream. Cicadas were changing to tree frogs and the song just kept on playing.

I sat on a boulder a couple of feet out from shore, watching the last of the sun disappear from the tree tops. A slight haze of bugs rose off the river like fog. Dimples were forming on the surface of the water from feeding fish. The last of the sun vanished and the light of the full moon took over.

I let the song play over and over. It lulled me and I could feel my heart rate slow, my breathing become regular and relaxed.

It was another wonderful sunset on the river after all.

And the song played on.

Music to Fish By

To each their own.

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