Fish Story

Swimming with a trout!

When I worked for the Forest Service in the Cascades of southern Washington State, I lived in a compound near the town of Willard. Along one side of the compound ran a mountain stream. My friends and I who worked there would often spend evenings around the stream as it was very relaxing. On weekends we would have things to do, mountains to climb , civilization to visit and the stream was usually on its own. One weekend I stayed at the compound and spent a lot of time exploring the area, including the stream. I had the idea to go snorkeling in the stream. Since the water drains the snows of the high country, it runs very cold. I had a full scuba suit which I was obliged to wear so I was thankful to be alone that day! It was really fascinating to get into that stream. The water was generally a foot or two deep and quite swift in places. There were occasional pools where the dippers looked for their supper. Those were deeper, up to several feet. The water was absolutely crystal clear, the movement washed streams of bubbles across my mask, that and the cold were the only indication of water between me and the bottom.

As I worked myself into a deeper pool, I was totally absorbed by the life and texture of the stream bottom. At one moment I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye and upon looking up I saw a beautiful rainbow trout suspended in space about two feet from me. It just hung there in the crystal water atmosphere. Quickly it moved away at my movement, but it left me with a vision of such wonder and clarity. It is odd how the world of the familiar can be easily transformed by a new perspective. Many times I had wandered around and by that stream, but by actually entering into its soul I saw wonders I had not expected to exist. The stream became ever more special to me that day as it provided a new jewel in my cache of experiences.

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