It’s shortly after 5:00 am, and I am watching the butter on my toast slowly melt. It trickles down into the varied crevices in the toast, taking an unpredictable path in the hopes, I suppose, that it will eventually reach the other side. The parallel to my own life isn’t lost on me.
I finish the toast, load the car, and I’m on the road just as the sun rises and casts a butter-yellow burst across the sky. I don my waders and walk the short path to the river, pausing momentarily to take it all in. Flowers, buttercups mostly, dot the forest. Mist rises off the water the way steam rises off of a hot, buttery biscuit. As I start down the bank, my feet slip in the mud, as if I’m walking on melted butter. I catch myself, only to hook my toe on a root, and I land face down, the way a piece of toast always lands butter-side down.
I collect myself, tie on a fly (a white and yellow cone-head wooly bugger commonly known as the “Bread and Butter”), and begin casting. Soon, I’m in a routine, my mind wandering through various thoughts the way a pat of butter slides over the surface of a hot skillet. I feel the line stop, but not suddenly; instead, there is slight resistance at first, and then more – the way your knife cuts through thawing butter, only to reach the still-frozen core. Only then do I realize I have a fish on – a large fish – which takes off upriver, my fly line cutting the water’s surface like a hot knife through butter.
I take up the slack, and begin pumping the rod like a milkmaid churning butter. The fish rolls and it’s an enormous brown trout with flanks the color of butter. But I apply too much pressure and the leader parts. There is a bitter taste in my mouth, like the taste of burnt butter – the taste of defeat. But I’m out of time and the sun, now high, has awakened the meadow. There are butterflies everywhere. I’ve promised my wife that I will insulate the attic today, which seems only fitting.
I am haunted by butter.
[Editor's Note: A little explanation is probably in order. But you're not going to get it.]