“Dada Dada there’s um… there’s um… you have a dragonfly on you!” announced my four year old as though I’d won the lottery.
“Coooooool,” I said, humoring him but not bothering to look. I know better than to take my eyes off a half-tied blood knot.
“Yep, on your special wader pants that give you special powers to stand in the water and I can’t even stand in there cause my pants aren’t special. Dragonflies are my favoritest bugs EVER. Did you know that real dragons put fire on people but not dragonflies cause they’re not real dragons and cause not even grasshoppers are my favorite… ooo ANOTHER one” he continued in a single breath.
“Uh huh,” I said, occupied now with rigging my rod. I had a plan. Soft hackle flies were the fascination du jour. With a box full of newly tied classics, and a head full of fresh book learning, the massive multitudes were sure to fill my net. But we were racing the clock. A wind storm (no idle threat in Wyoming) was forecast to start midday. It was time to focus.
“Dan-De-Lion!” he sing-songed from the far side of the tailgate, the perfect antithesis of focus. “Mama loves dandelions cause they’re pretty flowers. You know dandelions don’t smell but if you try to smell them they tickle, here Dada try to smell it… oo… oo… another one… Dada you have THREE um… one… two… three… dragonflies… look, LOOK!”
“Gimme a sec Bud,” I replied, debating for myself the relative merits of the clinch knot vs. a non-slip mono loop for my size 14 partidge and orange. I could feel the clock ticking.
“One time, a long time ago, when I was just little, there was a snake, but if we see a snake I’ll run away and tell it ‘go away snake’ cause if it bites you um… if you get bit it’ll give you POISON! Look Dada… They’re EVERYWHERE!”
“What are?” I asked, whipping my head around. Snakes never fail to get my attention.
“Dragonflies!” answered my son.
With my eye’s finally pried from the gear, and my mind derailed from its one track, I took in my surroundings and noticed for the first time the clouds of mayflies flitting above the river, and the rise form fading near the far bank.
“You know what Bud,” I said, snipping Plan A from my leader, and reaching for the dry fly box. “I don’t think those are dragonflies. It’s a little early, but they look like grey drakes to me,” I didn’t bother adding such paternal wisdom as “Don’t go through life with blinders on” or “Life is short, be playful and stop to smell the roses.” He seemed to have those pretty well figured out for himself.
“Do the big fighter fish like grey drakes?”
“Yes they do son. Yes they do.”
“Oh yeah… me too. They’re my favoritest ever. Hey look a butterfly…”