October 25, 2010

Casting for Recovery

This weekend I drove north to Exit 19 off I-65 and proceeded on to Wooded Glen Resort for the annual Kentuckiana Casting for Recovery retreat.  Sponsored locally by the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Casting 
for Recovery is based in Vermont.

The first thing the kind leadership folk explained is that the time at Wooded Glen belonged to us; and we were to do with it exactly as we pleased.  It pleased me to sleep until noon on Saturday morning while everyone else was learning how to fly-fisherfolks cast, and then self-care procedures post-bc.  (Did I mention the event is open only to women who have or have had breast cancer?  Two of us were treated this year; two other women were eight or nine years out from treatment.  There were fourteen attendees, ten leaders to watch over us, teach us, show us, and allow us to do whatever we chose and another fourteen folks from Trout Unlimited who came to fish individually with us on Sunday morning..
A very nice fish hung on a wall at the main building of the Wooded Glen Retreat Center.  I think he's a hooked rug.  (Oo!  Get it?  "Hooked" rug.)

Having slept through casting practice, I decided to take photos during knot tying.  I wasn't opposed to those tasks -- in truth, I've been looking forward to going and playing outside and fishing ever since I got my letter of acceptance in August -- but I couldn't work up energy or fervor for them. Activity, people moving, talking -- I needed to meander and look at pretty things to recover from the stimulation of Friday's activities.

 There are lots of nice pathways and bridges throughout the property.  I was 19 miles north of Louisville, but the trees were completely different.  See how scattered and pale and thin the leaves are?  Back home, some trees still hold green, and the ones that have changed colors are mostly filled with leaves.
 A small pond and a tall cattail.

 A very small pine tree -- maybe 4 feet tall.  I was lying on the ground taking the photo upwards.

 Umbrellas chatting amongst themselves on an outside deck.
 A sweet flower arrangement inside the main lodge.
 Perhaps it's not clear in this photo, but both of the insects are purple.  They looked stunning against the yellow.  And isn't it funny once you start taking lots of photos how you hope for bugs to add liveliness?  Can't tell you how many photos there were at the State Fair of flowers with bugs on them, or bees hovering.  When it's your own, the photo is stunning.  When it belongs to someone else, it's quite nice.
 When we asked her nicely, Deloris showed us how to tie a fly.  She had also made one fly for each of us.  I regret to say I've forgotten its name; but I do remember that flies get their names from their creators.
 Driving down to the pond Sunday morning, boots and fishing vest on and ready to roll (we had waders, too, chest high, but the water was so far down the waders stayed back in the lodge), we passed a mob of turkeys.  Somebody said the plural is gaggle, as in geese; but they look like a bunch of hoods hanging out on a street corner waiting for an old lady with a pocketbook hanging from her arm to walk by.
 My fishing guide Dan, one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.  I say that because he spent some time growing up in Ashtabula, as did I, and we both spent most of our kid-dom in Ohio and thus were able to consult about how much smarter Ohioans are.  He's lived in Kentucky more than 20 years, but some competitions never end.  He had his hands full.  It was his first year, and it had been carefully explained to him that the women had already taken a class in how to tie knots and how to cast.  Boy howdy, he was happy to learn I'd skipped out on all those things and was a novice in all things fly-fishery.  We had the best time of anyone there, chattering like monkeys and hoooting at our own jokes.  He held up his hand to help me step down from the bank to the four-inch wide "shore," and so when I lost my footing he was able to grab me and hang on long enough to keep me from plunging into the muddy waters.  Lucky for him, because I'm pretty sure they'd have put him in front of a firing squad.  The bc-ers are treated like treasures on these weekends, and letting one trip herself into a pond isn't on the allowable list.

This is the pond where we were fishing.  As you can see, it's quite small but kidney-shaped, which allows people to spread out nicely.  The only other problem we ran into was that Dan -- who knew I grew up ice fishing -- told me if the bobben disappeared under water, I was to jerk the fishing rod and pull the yellow line with my left hand.  Sure enough, the fish that had been jumping in the middle of the lake grabbed our fly; and I jerked the fishing rod and yanked the yellow line, all quite frenzedly because it seems terrily exciting when you think a fish is on its way to you.  I was vaguely aware that Dan was running like hell to get away from me.  Turns out you don't jerk a fly rod like you do in ice fishing line that you know has a big old perch on the end of it.  When I jerked the pole, the line and fly, with hook, lept from the water directly toward Dan.  He reported it landed in his pocket.

The only other true adventure during our four hour fishathon was that the Hospitality Chair threatened to throw a chair at us if we didn't stop making fun of Kentucky.  I was explaining to her about Lake Erie, in Ohio, being a GREAT lake; and she said well, Kentucky had a river; and Dan said, "Yes, and it's called THE OHIO RIVER."   That was early on.  We got funnier and funnier; and she couldn't match our double-teaming of humor, which explains the chair. At first she acted like she was going to hurl it from a distance, but this one time I glanced over my shoulder and she was directly behind me with the thing up over her head.  We were the only folks who had a secret agent assigned to sit behind us; and after that little incident she got called back to headquarters.  Somebody told me later that we'd have caught some fish if we hadn't done all that talking and laughing, which just goes to show the diversity of views on what fishing is all about.

This splendid photo, which doesn't want to remain centered, is of the one-lane bridge you must drive across to get onto the property.  The boards are anchored down in such a way to sound like they're caving in when you drive across, and the closer you are, and the faster the driver is going, the less you ever want to traverse such a path again.  The darling sitting in front of the bridge had asked me to take her photo; she had pink hair in celebration of the weekend; and if the rest of us had known what a treat it would be, we'd have shown up with pink hair, too.


Karoda said...

What a beautiful space you were in!

Lisa Creech Bledsoe said...

Gorgeous! I totally enjoyed reading your account of the fishy weekend. I don't do fish, presumably because I don't want to have to touch them. I'm still laughing over the fly-in-the-pocket incident, tho.

So glad I stopped in again; I always find a serendipitous treasure (or six) whenever I come here.

PS: Now I'm quite certain you're not doing NaNoWriMo...

Mary said...

You're right, Karoda. It's absolutely peaceful, and the sky was clear and the moon was high.

Lisa, this was 10 days ago so I could be doing nanowrimo. And how does somebody doing that have time to read blogs?