Archives for posts with tag: fly-fishing

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Wild grass covers the small field, which is inclosed by a wooden fence, in front of our home. A dirt and gravel drive leads to a blacktop road that can not be seen from the wooden porch. Five chairs, two of them being the type that rock, are perfect places to find yourself for relaxation, conversation, or to view the day. Perched in the other piece of furniture, a wooden swing, the slight breeze sways me gently. Far across the field a shadow moves, the young mare lifts her head for a moment, then upon recognizing the shadows form returns to chewing natures gifts. As often is the case familiarity brings comfort and ease.

Making way through the pasture, from my location the shadow soon gains form. Sun glistens on golden hair, that hangs loosely beneath a worn derby. The bowler hat would be out of place to the scene if not for the individual wearing it. The derby is just one of many unique bits of fashion Brooke uses as headware. A fly-rod rests on her shoulder, catching the sun on eyelets on occasion, sending bright spots of light in my direction. From her walk it is apparent the creel over her left shoulder is not empty, but instead contains the morning catch.

Brooke is well beyond half way across the field when basket of fish and rod are placed on the ground as her arms are wrapped around the neck of the mare. A bit of her morning snack that she has saved for this moment is removed from her small pack. The horse gently eats the apple piece from my sisters palm. Unlike the mare I understand the strength of this gesture, apples are in fact Brooke’s favorite of all foods, a slice saved for an old friend is no small offering. Horse patted once more, gear is gathered from the ground, as fisherman continues home.

The screen gently taps door frame as father joins me on the porch. He has witnessed the scene from inside but can no longer keep glass between himself and that which he so loves. “Sometimes I wish that youth, innocence, wisdom, tenderness and beauty was my own,” Dad almost whispers.

“It is.” I respond in the same tone.

“I may have had a slight hand in creating her but she is not mine. Brooke belongs to no one, barely even to this world. What I meant however was that I wish, I was more like her.”

The words of father could be my own. It’s not that I want to be like Brooke, who my father is now holding the wooden gate for, it’s more a want to know what it’s like to see things as she does for just a moment. Brookelyn tips the bowler and smiles at Dad holding the gate open, they walk together up to the porch before she sees me in the shadows. A huge smile comes across her face as creel is handed to father. For a moment, before she reaches into her pack I believe she is proud of her catch. Of course humility being one of her stronger qualities I quickly realize the smile is for me, as a slightly dusty hand offers me a slice of apple pertected from the dust by white handkerchief.

-Brooke’s Sister

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Lovingly my father insisted both the Bayer girls learn the art of fly-fishing. With certainty a memory of Brooke barely coordinated enough to move a rod back in forth in a strait motion, standing in our yard as father clapped out the rhythm that would ensure a looping cast, is engraved in my mind. I don’t recall learning to handle a fly-rod at such a young age, but doubtlessly remember the efforts of my sister. Long after my own arm tired or my interest faded to other activities, Brookelyn would still be standing in spring dusk working the hookless line in our front yard.

Our mother questioned dad only once about if in fact he possibly was pushing the youngest daughter too hard, or if the length of these casting sessions bordered on the level of cruelty. The inquisition ended with Brooke in tears struggling to sign and scribble a legible, “please let’s me play fishing.” At this point it was apparent to all three of us that if anything the smallest member of our family was the one lengthening the fly-fishing lessons. This was also the first sign of my sister’s slightly unhealthy obsession for perfection at any activity which she undertakes.

Several years have passed since Brooke and I were even close on the water in ability to handle rod and line. As the art insists this also sets her several leagues above me in enticing, hooking and landing fish. It also must be written that though I attend most fishing expeditions with Brookelyn and father, I go more to be with them than to work line or catch anything. Truth be told I know a day may come when I step away from my fly-rod and never pick it up again. Brooke on the other hand, when not wondering local water ways alone or with anyone willing to venture with her, often spends her time planning an adventure to come, or tying flies that she has deemed for season and certain species of fish. Not unlike the work she does on paper with pencil, pen or pastels, Brooke is an artist with her fly-rod and the tying of furs, feathers and string on a hook. As is the case with most talented artist her passion and love shows in the beautiful handcrafted flies and even more so in the grace of her cast, be it a standard, roll or shadow cast.

After spending this morning on the water with Brooke, I’m simply amazed at who she is becoming. At thirteen, I chased boys, fought at times with mom and dad and made more than a few mistakes. Watching Brooke stop from tying a #12 fly to write out our adventure from the day in an effort to tell Dad, who just walked in from work, it occurs to me that though I am older, she may in some ways be the more grown up of the Bayer sisters.

-Brooke’s Sister

The kitchen faucet, as often is the case in small homes, the kind filled with love but not expensive wares, drips. The rhythm of the water bouncing on the stainless sink always much like the beat one feels when casting a fly-line. That steady timing, subtle and ensuring the perfect looping cast; that’s always seemed to come more naturally for my sister than myself. Maybe the always present drip of the kitchen sink that stands out in all my memories of my youth, in some way engraved its way into the silence of my sisters life. Ensuring she would always have that necessary time to keep line just above water’s surface long enough to dry a fly and gentle enough to present it in a way pleasing to the most skittish and finicky of trout.

Snapping thoughts away from the present reminder that I am home, from college for the summer, Brookelyn slides a yellow tablet across the table. Looking at my baby sister, who appears to have grown a lot in the short months since I last saw her, I am aware before I read the words on the tablet of what they will say. Her eyes have told me what she has written. Reading Brooke’s eyes is a skill I’ve developed over the years. Our father in many cases, especially in the days when my sister was younger and less adequate at her preferred ways of communication, has called upon me to do just that; to understand her. This is not to say that I understand her anymore than any sibling understands another. It is more just an intensified observation of nonverbal communication. As to the deeper aspects of Brooke, things like hopes, dreams and desires, assuredly my insight is lacking at best.

From the slightly pink cheeks on the elegantly sculpted face of the prettier of the two Bayer daughters, my eyes make their way down a slender arm, to a gentle hand, that if turned palmed up would reveal calluses on finger tips from hours of compressing strings on a fretboard. There my attention is held for a while. On a hand much the same as my own, though a little smaller and in many ways more adept at the things hands are generally used for, and even more so at a few skills that only certain select people choose to master. Brooke’s nails are painted the color that is her favorite. That softest of blues, reserved for misty skies, babies clothes and on some occasions the prettiest of eyes. The type of eyes belonging to the very person’s hand being studied. Examined as if it may be needed sometime from now as a memory to serve as a point of happiness or contentment in life.

In handwriting as familare as my own, a blue gel pen, has scrolled letters that combined in current combination spell just what I’ve suspected. The looping clear beautiful writing seems to express so much more than if it had come from any source other than the very one it has. Taking a moment to locate the words somewhere in mind, to reply to a statement that seems possibly routine to others. Once again I am aware of the water faucet tapping out the seconds. Normally I tend to talk quite freely with friends and strangers alike, but at times it’s just not like that with Brooke. Seldom concerned about the deepest meaning of words chosen, taking for granted that what is said can be reworded if necessary or possibly that words spoken are such a common event that little consideration is needed in sharing them.

However, reading over the blue ink on yellow legal pad, I’m reminded that speaking can not be taken for granted. For a second I close my eyes desperately trying to imagine a voice. A voice of perfect pitch that would capture the attention of anyone within its range. The very type of voice that is surely more charming than the sirens that led many sailors to their doom on rocky shores. In my racing mind I search for the voice suitable for my angelic, mute little sister. When as always I’m filled with silence, my own voice fills the room.

“Brookelyn, I love you too and I am glad you are happy to have me home.”

-Brooke’s Sister