“Fish come and go but it is the memory of afternoons on the stream that endures.”
I come from a long line of fishermen. I was lucky to have a Daddy and two Granddaddies who seldom went to the river or lake without taking me along. I learned so much more than how to cast my line from those special men. One of the many life lessons they taught me was how to be patient and appreciate the sheer joy of sitting by the water surrounded by the sights and sounds of the lake or stream.
Most of the time, it didn’t really matter to me if I caught a fish or not because every trip was a great day of exploration. Some days I spent more of the day lying face down on the dock at Claytor Lake watching minnows and other creatures moving around in the shallow water than actually fishing for them. At the river, Dad would more likely observe me slowly tilting rocks in the stream, hoping to catch a glimpse of some little creature before gently lowering the stone back into place so as not to disturb its resident, than fishing.
As I got older, I could often be found trout fishing the meanders of the Little River. I felt a certain connection with the smaller stream that flows through Floyd and Montgomery counties before converging with the larger New River near Radford, Virginia. The stream near Riner was rich with aquatic life and I began to carry a back pack full of field guides to learn as much as I could about the plants and animals we encountered there.
Much later in life while exploring my family’s genealogy, I learned that my Great-Great-Great-Great Grandfather John Lester (1752 – 1825) had lived in a log cabin near the confluence of Brush Creek on the Little River near Riner, Virginia. I was the sixth generation of my family that had fished the river there!
And so what might seem to many a silly waste of time – to sit for hours by the lake or wade knee deep all day through the stream- allows me now to meander through happy memories of family, follow in the footsteps of long gone generations and feel a special connection to the river.
“Meandering Memories” is a mixed media collage of watercolor, ink, textured paper and fishing flies that I created for my Dad years ago.
Truly, the memories of afternoons on the stream endure. Have a great week of exploration!