Matt Dickerson: Reflections, the scattershot way

•  I’m not a big fan of bullet point presentations. But it’s approaching the end of another year, which is the time when writers are expected to wrap up an entire 12 months in a single column. Which is to say, the time of year when we have an excuse to throw together a bunch of random thoughts that have at most a vague connection and call them a column. (It will get worse in four weeks. Trust me.) That’s what bullet points are for.
•  On Tuesday evening of this week, as the big storm was settling in across most of New England, I made my way through the “wintry mix” to the Swift House Inn in Middlebury for the monthly meeting of the New Haven River Anglers Association. To my surprise, two dozen other folks also ventured out into the swirling whiteness and joined the gathering. The guest speaker who was supposed to be coming over from the Adirondacks wasn’t one of them; I guess the storm was even worse across the lake, and he canceled out.
But the lack of a speaker didn’t prevent a bunch of anglers from having an enthusiastic discussion. The group has a wide range of ages from teenagers to members who are affectionately and vaguely known as “retirement age.” Together we planned for some winter fly-tying evening clinics, including instructions for introductory-level tiers open to the community. We then discussed the annual winter banquet. But the topic that got the most enthusiastic and passionate participation was conservation. What local conservation projects might we support with our labors and funds? Many worthy options received enthusiastic support. It might be that the only thing the members of the NHRAA are more passionate about than angling is conservation. And telling stories. Is that two things? I should have used another bullet point.
•  2014 did not bring me any closer to my quest to catch a trout in every U.S. state. I am still stuck on 26 states. But not for lack of effort. In October I had my first visit to Idaho, including three full hours to cast flies on the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River about 90 minutes east across the border from Spokane, Wash. I just didn’t catch anything. In the very last hole I fished, I saw one trout about eight feet down in a very deep hole. It was the only trout I saw. I managed to get my heaviest nymph down to her and drew an interested glance, and a momentary follow — which was more attention than I ever got from girls in high school. But like my attempts to get a prom date, there were no takers.
•  With my trip to Idaho, I did get one state closer to having visited every state in the United States. But other than the fact that visiting every state is a prerequisite to catching a trout in every one, I can’t say that the remaining seven states are on my bucket list (except maybe Utah and Hawaii).
•  My wife and I bought our season’s pass for cross-country skiing at the Rikert Nordic Center in November. November. That’s the month before December. And we actually used it in November, too. That is two months and a week earlier than the first time we got out to Rikert last year. I am hoping it is a sign of a long and snowy cross-country ski season.
•  Not everybody shares that hope, however. This year through my work at Middlebury College I have gotten to know two first-year students from Florida. Both are from the Orlando area. And while the early part of the fall was a rather gentle and mild introduction to New England, the later half of November was a bit more shocking to students from warmer climates. When the first big snow hit, one of them was absolutely delighted. It was her first ever storm. After dinner at our house I offered her a ride home. She declined, because she wanted to tromp back across campus in the snow. The other one, by contrast, took one look out her window, and skipped class that morning.
•  Speaking of bullet points, I didn’t have to use any during hunting season. Not even one. (I did use two the week before hunting season to make sure my rifle was sighted. But that doesn’t really count.) Next year my goal is to use bullet points in November — the fast kind that come out of my 30.06. Not the printed kind that appear in December. But then, I also set out to catch a trout in Idaho this year.
•  So don’t hold your breath.

Share this story:

More News

Bernard D. Kimball, 76, of Middlebury

MIDDLEBURY — Bernard D. Kimball, 76, passed away in Bennington Hospital on Jan. 10, 2023. … (read more)

News Uncategorized

Fresh Air Fund youths returning to county

The Fresh Air Fund, initiated in 1877 to give kids from New York City the opportunity to e … (read more)

Obituaries Uncategorized

Mark A. Nelson of Bristol

BRISTOL — A memorial service for Mark A. Nelson of Bristol will be held 1 p.m. on Saturday … (read more)

Share this story: