End of Summer

I got home Monday evening and the clouds were so thick, promising rain, it was dark by 5:30.

Busying myself as best I could, I played with the dog; had a cigar; visited with Suzie; checked e-mail; read discussion forums on topics I am interested in; balanced my checkbook (badly, I admit).

When I looked up again, it was 7 p.m.

It should have been 8:30, 9:00.

A foreshadowing of things to come. The time changes this weekend. Fall back an hour.

Good grief. I am going to be stark raving mad by spring.

I hate the time we’re about to switch to. Daylight, standard, whatever the devil one it is, who cares? I absolutely hate it. I am bored stiff when the time changes and winter comes. I hate cold, and I hate it getting dark so soon after I get off work.

It’s hard to believe it’s all done already. Seems like just a few weeks ago, my buddy and I were hiking up a trail in March, looking for a spot on the map where a creek splits…or, should I say, meets. The stream actually flows south to north, you see. Two branches converge and become a larger flow. We tried to reach it once by road, but ran into NO TRESPASSING signs that were ridiculously serious.

Just last March, and the forest hadn’t even started to green up yet. We didn’t find the split. A long winter of inactivity, and we tuckered out about three miles in. Didn’t get a figment of a bite in the crick, either.

But it was a great fishing year for me. Oh, not by comparison, back when I fished Lake Fausse Pointe and came home with 100 or more fat bream thick as a King James unabridged version. For a novice crick fisherman, though, on various little flows around central and northern Louisiana, it was a great year. I have learned well from my master, Jedi Pete Cooper Jr.

But dang. It doesn’t seem like it should be over already.

That’s the sad thing about life. When we’re young, paining through sweetheart crushes, getting through school days and long, hot summers, waiting for birthdays and Christmas, time moves so terribly slowly. It seems like we were always waiting when we were kids.

In our maturity, it’s like someone kicked time into fifth gear, and zooooom time goes like a dragster, with us hanging on for dear life yelling, “Hey! Slow down, dangit! I finally got to where I’m enjoying myself, what’s the gawldurned hurry all of a sudden?”

Except in winter. Time slows to a crawl again in winter. I am incredibly bored in winter. Most of my hobbies are outside ones. The cabin fever will start to set in by the end of November, if not earlier. By Christmas I will be 20 pounds heavier, by New Year’s Day, 25 pounds. That’s the other thing that moves faster: The increase in my girth.

Lots of people love winter. I envy them, though I think they’re a little nuts. But I am no judge. I am predisposed to hate winter out of boredom. That’s not very fair to winter, I guess, but hey, I never claimed to be a knight.

My pal wants to make one more trip to the crick before winter proper. I tell him, it’s going to be 35 degrees there Saturday morning! Plus, it’s hunting season. Plus, the fish are likely hunkering down for their long winter’s rest. Plus that water is going to be cold. I’d have to wear waders, and if anyone saw me, they’d probably laugh me clear off the crick.

I got a long winter ahead of me. I’m going to pick up my pencil drawing again and see if I can make my scattered markings look like something worth looking at. I’m kinda sick of building fly rods. In fact, I have had this nagging fear rattling around in the corners of my brain that I just might have or nearly have all the fly rods I can possibly use. You can’t imagine how depressing that is.

I have tons of projects around the house if the weather is dry and not too cold. I should be fine, really.

But it’s the woods and the creek and the fish and the birds I’ll miss. These iridescent black butterflies were all over the hills this year, and made me giggle every time I saw one. I’ll miss the sand squishing between my toes inside my sandals, and the occasional pebble inside that aggravates me until I sit down somewhere on a pine log to get it out.

When those north winds get to kickin’ up, and going outside is about as pleasant as getting kicked in the chin by a mule, the time will slow down even more. Sure, I could bundle up nice and warm, but where is there to go? Nowhere. Not like in other places that have national forests and parks. Nope, around here you either get arrested for trespassing or shot when somebody mistakes you for a deer or, worse, a feral hog.

I beg any hunter who accidentally shoots me, please, even if you did mistake me for a hog, please don’t say so. I don’t want to be remembered that way.

There’s nothing much on television I care to watch any more. Of all my muscles, those in my thumb are probably the most refined, since I scan through the entire lineup of channels each night some 100 times looking for something – anything – worth watching.

So I’ll finish the new bathroom. Practice my pencil drawing. Build a new fly rod that I don’t need. Walk aimlessly around the yard searching for something interesting to look at, but everything’s brown in Louisiana in winter. We have our own version of the seasonal tune: “Brown Christmas.”

I gotta set up the heater in the shop again, too, for when I’m out there. I also need to try to find my coats. I have three: a light one for cool days, a medium for medium-cool days and a heavy one for very cold days. The last one is an LL Bean that you could wear to Antarctica. I don’t wear sweaters. Hate ‘em. I hate long sleeves, too, but have trained myself to at least tolerate them.

Well, all this whining is doing nobody any good. I am glad, after all, that I’ve lived long enough to see my 46th winter, ghastly, dingy and stalwart as it is.

Bah humbug.

2 comments to End of Summer

  • Gordon Bryson

    I read where a Native American stated that only the government can cut 12 inches off one end of a blanket and sew it on the other end and believe the blanket is longer.

    Our government does believe it can do anything!

  • blufloyd

    Been down to 25 here, the crappie are still biting as are other fish.
    I hate standard time too. But I never quit fishing.

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