When it was light enough to see our thermometer hanging below the bird feeder the needle pointed at 20 below zero this morning. It wasn't much of a surprise – the TV weatherman said it would be cold – so I kinda' figured it would be an indoor day. Oh, I had some chores to do outside but it wasn't long before I settled into my chair with a book and a mug of coffee. I might be old-fashioned but I believe a good book is one of the finest, and under-rated pleasures a man can have. So while the sunlight cut the frigid air and warmed me through the window I settled in as comfortable as could be.
There have been a couple of books I've read cover to cover in one or two sittings but they weren't very long and they weren't very good. I'm mostly a slow reader and if it's something I enjoy I'll often stop at a sentence, paragraph, or passage just to turn away and think it over. I may have been reminded of something or somewhere I've been, something I'd like to do, or maybe something to learn. A good book takes me a long time to read and there can be a ting of disappointment when I'm on the final pages. The similarities to a fishing trip are obvious, sure, I need to finish it but I hate to see it end. A good book should be sipped, not gulped.
Bookmarks are handy and I make mine from birch bark. A couple layers of the thicker stuff under the white papery sheet, a bit of glue and maybe a little design added. A tail feather from a grouse works, too, as does about any scrap of paper but I enjoy making them and we all have our quirks. For awhile I was burning a bass figure on them and passing 'em out on our fishing trips. The thin bookmarks are more functional than the wooden things (I don't know what to call them) I make now, but the wood will likely last longer and my fishing friends like them. Capt Jack has a couple of the wooden ones hanging from his rear-view mirror that click together on rough roads, which can be either irritating or delightful, depending on your perspective.
So I sat in the morning sun and read a chapter on pike fishing. Up here they're called “northerns” by the locals and I've lately been thinking about fly fishing for them. Pike fishing is fun. They are wild and hit violently. There's an air of danger about them. They're toothy and hard on flies and leaders. Big ones are awesome impressive predators; two footers fight hard and taste good if you wanna' keep 'em. Little ones, the hammer handles... well, they're kind of a pain, but they miss your fly as often as they hit it. Like everything else, some folk just don't like pike. Suit yourself.
Winter is just getting started so it'll be awhile before there's any fly fishing around here. The lake and rivers are frozen and there's about three feet of snow on the ground. It's cold out and I can't think of a better thing to do than relax with a cup of hot coffee and a book.