The new day is but an idea beginning to form under the horizon to the east. The air is still, the water seamless and polished, the world still silent in sleep.
Waist deep in the brine, progress is made across the flat. Slow deliberate steps through the mud spark memories of flushing woodcock in a distant covert and tracking deer along the brook in the hollow below the old farm. Primal instincts not yet bred out of genetic code passed down through a lineage who survived by their own leave.
A slight rise in the flat and hard bottom offers a perfect vantage point to wait. The eight-weight is held ready in the right hand, the fly, leader and twenty feet of line in the left. Minutes go by that seem like hours.
In the gray light of fading dawn their bodies cannot be seen. Their location and movement are given away by the subtle wakes left on the surface as they maraud back and forth in the shallows. Tails begin to slap and shoulders roll as they feed on baitfish corralled against the sod bank seemingly unaware of the lone figure standing sixty feet away.
A roll cast straightens the line out and the fly is water-hauled into the air. Two false casts put a pair of feathers shrouded with bucktail on a hook just past the disturbed water. The fly is retrieved with short staggered strips but receives no attention. Another cast delivers the fly within inches of the last. Almost instantly the water erupts as the fly lands and the line goes tight.
The fish immediately runs for deeper water of the river proper, the line humming against the water's resistance. The fish is quickly brought to hand and cradled wet as the hook is removed. Eyes lock between the catcher and the caught. In that moment it's not entirely clear who is who. Perhaps they are the same.
The first rays of sunlight touch the marsh and then the moment is gone.
But not forgotten.
From somewhere in the moment
18 March 2016