‘On the Last Day of the Year’

Gary Metras kindly reached out after reading our recent post about winter fly fishing.

As you may recall, Gary is an avid angler (our interview with him is here, his Swift River winter fly fishing guide is here).

He also is a published poet. Here is one of his recent works, called “On the Last day of the Year”:

I go fishing. Park by the bridge. Pull on waders. Rig the rod with an orange fly I tied myself. Walk a mile in snow to the deep pool where trout huddle. I’m the only one here. I stand in the soft river casting and sometimes catching, then releasing trout and trout. Today I just want to reduce the world to a size eighteen fly drifting in thirty-four degree water as I tempt the twenty-six degree air to freeze me to my fly box, to my dripping nose, to numbing fingertips trying to light a match for the cigarette dangling from the corner of my mouth, all while I anticipate a trout’s strike, a fish as colorful as dreams beneath a leaden sky where a few snowflakes fall, then more, and more, and my heart lightens in the beauty of snowflakes falling everywhere into this darkened scene, until the line tightens, and the heart beats faster and faster as the reel feeds a trout’s upstream run toward the jumble of fallen trees up there just below where ice has formed on calmer water, and I realize I can’t stop it, anymore than I could stop the river from being a river, so I break it off with a quick tug and reel in the empty line. I surprise myself with a smile, then a salute to the victorious, that huge trout still free, still master of its world, because today I’m busy doing nothing important, except be one more feature of this little environment, and I wish everyone could stop what they are doing and just spend a few hours outside a box, breathing fresh, cold air, watching water flow beyond themselves, water that is rich with purpose, with destination, even if we don’t know what these are, because right now the feeling of being alone melts as the snow falling into the river becomes the river.

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5 thoughts on “‘On the Last Day of the Year’

  1. Just beautiful. Gary writes the words that are beyond my abilities, but surely imparts how I feel when I spend time on a river.

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