• Matt Smythe

JUDGING DISTANCE

Updated: Jul 10

Ten foot kayak in eight feet of water. Settled into the glass between a field of lily pads and a line of flooded pine stumps— trees that were a century old when the river called them home a century ago, their twisted roots unsettling sculptures patrolled by fat bass and three foot pike. What light there is comes from a waning half moon ducking in and out of slow clouds. My pipe smoke drifts in minor imitation.

A light is visible a quarter mile down river beyond The Narrows. A dull illumination moving like approaching headlights from the far side of a hill. Closer. Closer until a beam rounds the point, a boat spotlighting its way back from Cranberry Lake, the erratic left right left swing seeking submerged stumps and Adirondack boulders just beyond the red and green channel markers, leviathans in their eternal wait, scarred with the silver orange white blue yellow of the errant.

Between small windows of moonlight, I’ve been casting

blind. My line, fly, the water, lily pads, stumps, shoreline swallowed whole. Forty feet of line off my reel waiting on the surface next to me. False casts paying out enough until the right weight registers with my fingertips and my rod hand, slight whistle-swish of the rod and line as it unrolls in its flight, the fly landing noisily somewhere in front of me. Impatience is the only obstruction in the dark.

There’s no rush, only the blind eternity of weight and timing. In the now rising fog, the boat leaves the channel for it’s dock.


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© 2017 By Matt Smythe