Often I travel to the Maple River just to see its beauty. Christmas is one of those days. Before I attended my family Christmas dinner, with my dress pants tucked into my hiking boots, I stop at a certain section of the river. It is a favorite fishing spot that is home to a lone sentinel spruce tree. The largest I have ever seen. It grows on the edge of the river and is probably 150 years old. It's circumference is approximately ten feet and its height rises in excess of 100 feet. My sons are all gone now and cutting down a tree that very few people will see seems wasteful. This Maple River spruce tree fills life's purpose all on it's own, strong and always there.
This spruce is a perfect specimen. It out shines the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center or the White House. Soon the heavy snows will render it inaccessible. My thoughts on Christmas take me to it. I envision it's pine cones glowing in the moon light and the snow covered branches sparkling like diamonds in the twilight.
The trout and the beaver are settled in for the winter, waiting for those first warm days in late March. It will be a while before the trout start looking up for the spring hatches. Streamers and nymphs are a difficult menu to deliver. The forest and rivers however are a winter wonderland.
Christmas for young families is a big challenge. It is a holiday of believers young and old. The pressure it puts on us all can be counterproductive. The best gift cost nothing...your heart. Give it with a sincere feeling to those close to you and open it to all others. I remember a soldier returning from war who told me that the most popular gift at Christmas were "Cookies From Mom"; can it get any simpler than that. So if my sons reads this...tying Dad a few flies, material 25 cents, effort priceless, and the sound of Silent Night will make my holiday. Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum...Merry Christmas to all!
Richard and Jim
Letting you know current conditions and best approaches.