No Place Like Home – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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No Place Like Home

Every summer I make a trip back to the “motherland” to see family and friends. To me, it’s the ritual that signals the end of summer and beginning of fall (and consequently, the time to get ready to start teaching again). And, each summer, it gets harder and harder to pull myself away from the Bozeman area. Don’t get me wrong, the Great Plains will always hold a special place in my heart. There are only so many places where you can get some views like this:

and hear the mother-tongue of “Oh ya”, “You betcha” and “Oofta” without getting looks and questions about Fargo.

That being said, I woke up early and went to the river the day after I got back. Never before have I experienced such a noticeable feeling of coming home. The air is crisp and has that distinctive scent that signals the changing of seasons around here. For the first time in months, I double layered on the long sleeve shirts and, when I got to the river, wished that I had packed my waders because my toes were going numb in the water. There wasn’t anyone around to hear me talking to myself (often disguised as talking to my dog). An absolute sense of serenity rested over me and a lot of things that I’ve been thinking about and decisions that need to be made were resolved as I cast towards the riffles and let the fly drift with the current.

I realized, in that moment, just how hooked I am on Montana. There is always (always!) something to look forward to with the changing of the seasons. With Fall comes the start of school and the beginning of my “9-to-5” (which, in all honesty, is more like 7:30am-9:30pm some days), the season of hitting alpine lakes is nearing an end, puffy jackets and fleece sweaters are about to come out of the closet and the shorts will be folded up for the next 10 months, and my morning walks with Koda will become runs (partially to keep warm and partially to compensate for not as much hiking). The fishing is still going to be awesome and I’ll undoubtedly take a few evenings every week to get out and fish on one of our rivers. After all, “the tug is the drug” and any fly fisher knows you can’t stay away too long before withdrawal hits.