The sun warmed my skin as I stalked the edge of the lake, looking for a likely spot for my prey to be hiding. The various islands from which the lake got its name were good places to start, so I cast my line out close to one of them and slowly reeled in the fly, hoping it would catch the eye of a hungry fish.
The lake was calm, only the movement of my line betraying the stillness of the surface. It seemed almost wrong to disturb such serenity even in the pursuit of my dinner. I couldn’t let such sentiments get to me, though, for there are only so many fishable hours at high elevation and my stomach would severely object later were I to abandon my hunt for a meal.
Back and forth I flicked my rod, drying the barbed fly, in a rhythm that had become so much a part of me I could no longer remember when I had first learned it. Then I let the line free and watched carefully as it sailed over the smooth water, only to reel in and repeat over, and over, and over. There were fish in the lake, I knew it. Birds of prey had plucked them out while camp was being set up. They would not rise for me though.
I’d had a fever the night before, at least that is what I attributed the chills and body aches to, and hadn’t slept well at all. Morning came too quickly and not quickly enough at the same time. I helped break camp, shrugged off the questions of how I was doing and forged ahead… barely holding it together. It was a short day, thankfully, only a couple miles and yet I still took a two hour nap after helping set up camp. Then I rose to greet the late afternoon determined to enjoy the experience as much as I could. I rigged my pole and traipsed around the lake, trying to coax some fish out from their hiding spots. It was a beautiful day and a gorgeous lake, and I was far sicker than I’ve ever been in the backcountry before.
And now that they are both written, I can see that they are both truths, except for one line of fiction buried in the first story. But, it’s a start. Here I am, writing again…