Everybody else is at the office Christmas party, I don't go there, I go somewhere else. I look out my office window and I let the place come get me. You ever leave a place, that doesn't seem to want to let you go. A rock I sat on this past summer drinking iced tea as the stars were coming out, yeah that was a place. It had been a roaster of a day. I got out of the water from wading trying to cool off and this rock just eased up my backside, I'd had it, enough was enough so I just wanted to sit. That big old stone sucked the heat out of me and cooled the meat in my back right down my legs better than the water I just stepped out of. I looked up, the silver spits of stars were shimmering like stars should, and now, even in these raw cold winter nights, I look up; forget its cold, zoom, and I'm on the rock with that cup. A brookie at the bend, where there's always brookie's, but from it comes a nineteen and three quarter incher with his belly so black and it should have been white, that I knew he was cooling the hot summer away in the river bottom muck. I was so excited I was shaking when I creeled that fish. I've caught an uncountable number of brookie's but in my life, that was a surprise brook trout like no other, the place trained me for years to expect those little nine inch dandy's. I'll never fish there again without wondering, what if. Two greenheads in one shot after kayaking a mile of wilting wild rice and not seeing a duck for three days previous. That thought pops up just about every low gray cloud day since. A pair of geese when the rime ice from shore of one lonely river closed in on me and my head and had all my other buddy's saying no way, there aint any birds left. Nobody else showed, I still went by myself. I made sure my reasons weren't just hidden excuses. I stuck to me, being me. That day and place was a moving place, the river was flowing, geese flying, my breath in frosted plumes swallowed by a fall wintry fog, but it has not left me either. Just dare a goose to fly over without me remembering those huge birds with melded warm colors. Funny how when I'm out there, I never miss my office. The trout whisperer

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