Pretty sure I have mentioned this before, but I am (obviously) drawn to water. I've know this for my entire life, but it came crystal clear to me (again) this last week while away on business.
For those who don't know where MacLoosh World Headquarters is: it is smack dab in the middle of suburbia. What was a cornfield not terribly long ago, is now what can only be described as geographically featureless urban sprawl. Don't get me wrong, it is my home. It is what my children know as the only place they have ever lived and as far as they are concerned, the center of the universe. So the "UnForest" will have a special place in my heart for as long as I live.
There is no water here. No real hills, and no big tracks of untamed land. Most importantly, no water. (Thankfully I am within a relatively short drive to the driftless....) And this bugs me to no end. Trips to my homeland (along the Mississippi River) have taken on a special meaning to me and my nose puts my mind at ease.
So back to my trip. I spent the better part of a week in Green Bay, Wisconsin. For the most part, I was cooped up in Hotel/Convention Center. But every once in a while, I needed to get some fresh air so I stepped outside to take some deep breaths before plunging back into the world of fluorescent lighting. When I did get outside for those precious few minutes, those deep breaths were accompanied by the sweet smell of water. Big water. And it served to put me at ease just a little bit.
As anglers, we all know the smell. It is the same one that we get in our nose when we get to the water we are fishing. The bigger the water, the more noticeable the scent. It is the smell of slightly fishy, musty, sweet sweet water. Not overbearing, but definitely discernible each time you inhale. And for those of us who grew up near water, salt or fresh, it is the smell of home. When we live around the water, we don't really realize our attraction to it. When we move to a place that is (by and large) devoid of water, we don't realize how much we miss it until we catch that scent again.
It is comforting. Even relaxing. It is what some would call aroma therapy, although I am not confident it could be captured appropriately in a candle.
Of course, being the optimistic type who never leaves home without a fly rod and at least minimal gear in my truck, I held out hope for a quick early morning at one of the rivers or streams that feed into the bay. I mean seriously, it was the end of October/beginning of November and I would be a liar if I said that thoughts of big steelhead hadn't crossed my mind. But the truth was, Hurricane Sandy was having a solid effect on the great lakes even as she was kicking the shit out of the east coast, so high winds conspired with a full schedule of great conference speakers to keep me limited to short outside walks and hints of the water wafting to me by way of scent.
So, although grateful to see my wife and kids (and puppy) and sleep in my own bed again; now that I am back in the UnForest, I am plagued by the usual scent of the local grease rendering plant or cow manure from the local Holstein Hilton-depending on which direction the wind is blowing from.
Oh god, how I long for the scent of water...