I didn’t go looking for fish anyway

Nine Mile Creek State Wildlife Management Area is a great place to fish for trout in western Nebraska. I don’t fish, so this is not that story.

During the winter, the water in Nine Mile Creek is crystal clear. The only sounds to be heard was the rippling water, an occasional trout coming to the surface, and me falling in this exact spot.

I leaned over and tried to partially wrap myself around a tree to take this picture. The ground gave way and I began falling toward the water. I put my right hand out to try and grasp any part of the tree. My hand scraped along the edges of the tree. The frigid air and the speed of my descent only caused pain. My feet pressed into a large tree root stopping me from becoming soaked. I couldn’t feel my right hand. It was cold and causing me agony. This was the only picture I took. I couldn’t hold the camera or adjust the settings, and I didn’t care.

I would rather take photographs than fish. Each fly has been hand-made with care.

A fly must be carefully attached to the fishing line if one ever hopes to have any chance at catching a fish.

“I tie ugly flies so if I lose one I don’t have to cry,” Sandra said. This one got caught in a tree overlooking Nine mile Creek.

The bare branches of winter continue to provide cover from the sun along Nine Mile Creek. The sun’s rays dance along the the top of the rippling water meandering along its path.

Fishing is not the only interesting thing at Nine Mile Creek. I wandered around to find a variety of plants which I inspected and photographed. Typha latifolia, or cat o’ nine tales, are plentiful along the edges of the creek. While parts of the plant are edible, I was transfixed on its graceful movement in the gentle morning breeze.

A fallen tree caught my eye. Its smooth, gray edges were pocked with woodpecker holes. The inside intrigued me. I tried several settings to get the exposure I had desired. The final result is one of my favorite pictures of the day.

All living things must come to an end at some point in time. Trees create momentary pleasures for the eyes, with tears in its flesh. The outer and inner bark ripped away reveal the jagged cambium cell layer and sapwood. As the weather warms, it will become food for new life in the new year.

From outer bark to heartwood, a tree is always willing to display its beauty.

For some, the day was a bust. The cold water continually froze the fishing line and the trout had zero desire to be someone else’s dinner. I found a new place to breathe in the serenity and let nature calm my mind.


And I didn’t even panic


Indelible moment


  1. Jerry Lewis

    Irene, this was a great trip along the creek. Thank you

  2. Red

    Now that you know the way out there and where to park, I hope you return for more wanderings.

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