Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: REMEMBER (10/19/17)
- TITLE: Of Brookies and Bluebells
By Mike Hill
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My “something” is the color blue. But not just any blue. Two stimulate my emotions. One coolish, the other warm. First is the blue on a brook trout. None you say? Go ahead, google up a picture – find the red spots – look at their haloes. The other blue – the warm one occupies the tail of a redfish; yes, Paul Prudhomme’s cheeky fish made famous by blackening spices. Slightly more ephemeral, it seduces, but as much as I'd like to talk about it, I’ll focus on the brook trout and its often unnoticed bluebell blue.
The apex brook trout is one colorful dude. A mature male in fall spawning garb is a breath-taking sight. This hook-jawed aristocrat swims holy waters that tumble down timeworn, mossy boulders older than life itself. Look past the garish white rimmed red pectorals and the molten gold belly. Look at the spots. Isolate the red ones. Open up a little and notice the halo around them. There it is – that elusive haunting blue. Easily overlooked it is but a wisp - barely there. The blue goads, speaking private words, laying bare the mysteries of the ancient dancing waters.
A similar reaction occurs when viewing stunning sunsets and opulent sunrises. Open-mouthed, admiring the dramatic oranges and pinks, a little voice directs me to look past the fiery glow, past the beauty, to find the essence of life. Look past it, and you see God’s fingerprints on creation. This detailed imagery explodes into a kaleidoscope of past and present. God’s magnificent canvas transcends my 21st-century reality. Experiencing God's creation, perchance I will dream the dream of the other dreamers.
Trout is a four-letter word that starts with “T.” To be more precise, it should be a four-letter word starting with “C.” Scientifically they are chars. Call them what you wish, these incredibly lovely fish are the essence of all that is wild and beautiful. Fragile, mountain trout have little tolerance for the human presence. They point back to another time, one of simpler days, straightforward ways, when streams were pure, forests uncut, and the human presence was minimal. To visit such a world, even for a brief span of time, is to know the sort of inner peace and contentment which makes mist-shrouded mountains both mystical and magical. I call it my Immersion Therapy and readily acknowledge losing a corner of my soul to its enticements.
There are at least two roads in life – one of land and the other by water. One quickly learns that the land journey is harsh and raucous. On the river, however, life is a bit more dangerous yet more edifying. There is a need to experience things that are bigger than us, things that just don't need us. Being humbled by a untamed wilderness, dwarfed by towering lofty mountains fulfills this intrinsic need. It is necessary to reset our minds upon who is actually in charge. Cleansing souls, a river puts problematic egos into proper calibration. Little moral lessons are deposited in psyches as gently as a mayfly alights on water.
There’s something ethereal, almost euphoric, about catching sight of a mountain brookie at home in his perfect mountain pool. He maintains position with minimal energy expenditure, occasionally sipping a fragile, diaphanous winged mayfly from the surface film. Suddenly, there's an imperceptible movement, a flash of white indicates an open mouth, a fluttering mayfly disappears. Nothing is left, but ever-expanding rings in the water's surface. This scene demands no drama; this is the unclothed circle of life. The brookie returns to his ambush position, blue haloes intact, oblivious to changes he caused.
Observing from the edge of that pool was a boy. A boy filled with the wonderment of nature, yet questioning what God had for him to pursue in life. Disentangling himself from this harshly profound embodiment of life and death wasn't easy. Reflecting on the image for a moment, he marveled. Eternally changed, as an emergent man, he welded the moment into his consciousness. I had no need for a camera; confident I'd remember. I'd forever associate that moment with God's creation touch.
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