The Little Ones

There is a mental game I have played since childhood. I envision the world through the eyes of a colony of amazing tiny humans. I have assured my husband that “Inch People” are not only real, but perhaps the superior race. Small is the new standing tall. They do not shy away from big challenges. Imagining their feats has passed many the mile on road trips, and trail marches, over my years.

We pitched our tent last weekend on a hillside of granite boulders. If I unzipped my side of the tent in Taylor Canyon I found myself staring directly at the most amazing overhanging cliff of inch person proportions. If there is a teensy Chris Sharma out there, this was a route worthy of his efforts. As I slipped into sandals for the day of fishing ahead, my mind was on pint-sized perspectives.

Fishing folklore has the “one that got away” and the “big one” but not many boast of the smallest fishstick to have taken a fly. We were given fantastic insight to catch impossible trout on Tenkara rods in the Taylor catch and release waters beneath the dam. We, however, were more interested in the tinier creatures living above the dam. And those are the trout we caught, merely a handful but full of vigor and determination. If an inch person operated a fishing vessel, these would be the great leviathans of their times and we were grateful for the mighty fight each troutlet possessed.

d750_07162017-997A week earlier I cast a chick-original kebari with purple peacock flair fly into an alpine lake at 11,000 feet and let it skitter on the surface as the setting sun cast long shadows. As a giant in a land of hypothetical 1/12 of one-foot individuals roaming the terrain, I worked in clumsy maneuvers–more oaf, less grace. I went to cast again into the shimmering surface and found bizarre resistance on the line, surely just some moss. To my great surprise it was a trout gulping thin air on the wildest ride of its little life. Barely three inches and less girth than my pinky, this little fish had the audacity to take my fly in a giant gulp. I performed the extraction of faux bug and marveled in the tiny beauty of this fish. Alpine trout do not grow massive, but this little gem had a lot more life ahead of it. And, a part of my brain was caught in the rhapsody of imagining a little inch person reeling in this prized beast. I tossed him swiftly back into the pristine water lapping at the scarlet Jacobinia carnea-lined shore. Hopefully someday he can be the giant whale that fed an entire village of Holy Cross Wilderness alpine inch people.

d750_07162017-987I have always cherished the capacity to see the world from a ridiculously small set of eyes. It makes me appreciate tinier things—a raindrop falling from a marsh marigold leaf like a raging torrent, a sparkling blue moth playing in a stream, and a smaller than you’d ever think you could net trout dangling at the end of the line. The civilization of inch people I imagine may be fictitious, but they loom large in my approach to life, and I am grateful to them for always making me see small and think bold.

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