Originally Posted October 3, 2016
You know that special creek? That one you go to time and time again because it seems like there’s something magical about it? It isn’t a particularly popular body of water, in fact, most people don’t know about it, and you really like it that way. You aren’t going to catch a 27-inch brown trout out of it and you probably aren’t going to catch hundreds of fish a day either. It’s not the absolute most beautiful creek that has ever been and hopefully it’ll never end up in the “top 100 streams to fish.” It’s a creek that doesn’t ever seem to fail me. A place where I feel like I know every brook trout personally, and maybe by now I do.
I know that every year, mid-September, I get to go visit my brook trout, all decorated for the season. I know that during this time their fins will almost perfectly match the color of the maple trees in the distance. Their yellows will burn so bright they match the golden light that fall brings with it every year. I know that I only have a few short weeks to visit them before I have to leave them alone for a while to work their magic and bring me a whole new generation of trout to meet next year. I know that because this is my creek.
In reality, it isn’t just my creek, I don’t own it, no one does. It’s a part of one of our National Parks in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Every year hundreds of people come to visit her and see all that she has to offer, especially in the fall. We all have the chance to get to see the proud and glorious native brook trout, small as he may be, all painted up for the upcoming spawn. It’s a gift they give us every year, getting to see them that way.
I often wonder what I’d do if I didn’t get to experience that every year. Or what I’d do if I couldn’t go visit them in the spring or summer either. I’m not sure I’d be the same. You see, this creek is where I go to forget about the world. It’s where I go to find myself when I've forgotten who I am. It’s where I get to connect to the very heart of nature, hold him in my hand, thank him for all he has taught me, and return him to his creek he so graciously shares with me. This creek flows through my veins every bit as much as my own blood.
This creek is my public land.