Monday, April 24, 2006

Brown Trout, who art in heaven...

Stowe, Vermont is a lovely place in any season. My wife and I went up there in the fall of 2004 and we loved it. Absolutely loved it. We decided to return in 2005, this time with the kids. I must thank my sister for convincing me to try a winter resort for a summer vacation. We stayed at the Grey Fox Inn, which has a deserved reputation for gargantuan breakfast pancakes.

Stowe may be a skier's paradise, but there's great fishing in the little streams that weave through the town. During our 2004 visit the fishing would have been great--if only I had brought my tackle. Although I didn't forget my fishing rod in 2005, the deep pools from 2004 were reduced to mere trickles in 2005. That's what a summer-long drought will do. Discouraged but armed with a non-resident Vermont fishing license, I nonetheless decided to try my luck at spots that looked even remotely promising. In most places the water was shin-deep and hardly trout-worthy.

After walking about a mile downstream somewhere in Stowe, I saw a large tree shielding a modestly deep and slow-moving pool of water. There's a silent creed among fishermen suggesting that a good fishing spot should only be defined as being 'somewhere.' I reasoned that this 'somewhere' was the best-looking spot of all, so I tossed a silver-and-blue Rooster Tail spinner about 100 feet and right under that 'somewhere' tree. Instantly, a brown trout of about four pounds slammed the shiny lure.

I'd like to say that this trout fought gallantly and forever. But then I'd have to go to confession, and I haven't been in such a long time...
In reality, the poor fish succumbed after a two- or three-minute tussle. A sad ending for such a magnificent fish. A much better ending would have been for my Salmo trutta to fight proudly, pose patiently for pictures, and then swim off into the sunset.

Alas, it was not to be. Please bow your heads in prayer.

The Pink where a Yellow should be

It's fitting that iKaleidoscope's first entry has something to do with color and shape.

My sisters and I summered at our family's seaside home in southern Maine back in the 1970s. My best friend was Gordon, who lived with his family across the street. Gordon and I would do all sorts of stuff together: fish for mackerel, fly kites, water-ski, swim, sail, and fish for mackerel.

Our house was a peachy 'beachy' house. Sand dollars and dried starfish on windowsills; lobster bouys and a lobster trap here and there. And hanging on a staircase wall was a large, colorful beach towel. It depicted an illustration of the sun crafted from mosaic pieces of different colors and shapes. We had no lack of towels, so this particular specimen served its life as a piece of wall art for all to see and admire. It really was a beautiful towel, and Gordon always thought so too.

One day we decided to have a little fun with Gordon. I pointed to the towel and said, "You know...there's a defect in this towel. In one spot, the color scheme doesn't quite follow the pattern...There's a pink where a yellow should be." My mother and sisters, eager to earn their 'co-conspirator' badges, nodded in agreement: Yes, there was a pink where a yellow should be.

Well, Gordon stared and stared at that towel. He stared at it that day. He stared at it that week. That summer. And summers that followed. It was Gordon's Rubik's Cube; his Da Vinci Code. Surely there was a logic to the color scheme that would blossom in a magnificent 'Ah-HA!' moment. But from one summer to the next, he never could find the pink where the yellow should be.

Of course, the pinks and yellows were exactly where they should have been all along. But thanks to a code of silence and straight faces all around, Gordon never did discover the truth until many years later. It was harmless fun, good fun...and a memory that will always remain with us and (especially) with Gordon.

Why iKaleidoscope?

The kaleidoscope is a wonderful device. A simple tube, mirrors, and colorful chips. That's it. Kaleidoscopes create multi-hued snowflakes with no two ever the same. A simple yet marvelous creation: no batteries needed, no assembly required.

I created iKaleidoscope as a place where I could post my favorite anecdotes and memories for the enjoyment of friends and family alike. Some entries will be round and others square; some will be blue and others orange or green or red; some will be big and some will be small. But in the end, it's my chance to put into words all the little things that make me 'me.'