This morning I got an alert on my phone prompting me to be ready to evacuate my home in case of flooding or a landslide. I'm not too worried about the flooding part. We live on a hill, and while we may not be able to leave the house, we'll be okay. But, I've been surveying my neighbor's yard all morning and reminiscing about all the trees they've cut down over the years. I packed a small bag that's in the car, just in case.
It's been raining here in Western North Carolina for two straight days and we've got three to go. Last week we went through the same predicament. I'm not talking about soft, delicate rain, but hard rain, the kind associated with thunderstorms and hurricanes and tropical depressions (insert Alberto). It's dark and wet, a feeling of seasonal depression has started to creep back into my being.
I recently spoke with a friend in the Southwest. They told me about a fire that was just a few miles away from them, how the snowpack was devastatingly low this year, and how there was no precipitation in sight. We joked about our two drastically different situations, how it was impacting daily life, careers, future plans and that's when the joking stopped. Was this our new normal? Extreme weather patterns?
I can remember very clearly my first experience on a brook trout stream. It's where I fell in love with high-up, out of the way places and these small colored up beauties. This is a stream I've returned to again and again, but over the years there's been a change. It was gradual at first, only a rainbow here and there, but now you're lucky if you run into one of our natives.
Are rainbows the new normal? Is the native trout gone?
By virtue, true anglers are a patient and persistent people. We find a fish we want to catch, we will or at least spend the day trying to. If we find a species we want to save, we will or at least go down swinging. I believe that the fly fishing community can move mountains when it comes to climate change, conservation, and public lands. I believe we've done so already.
All because of the perseverance we've picked up over years.
It's still raining, so my optimism hasn't fixed the weather, but there's a small break in the clouds and a hint of sunshine. I'm taking that as a sign.