Almost Made It

Well, I missed it by thiiiiiiiis much!

Last weekend, as we were being hammered by rain during Tropical Storm Lee, besides the leak that developed in my roof at the stove vent which needs fixing, I kept thinking about how much rain the creeks were getting up in the hills of Louisiana.

There has been no significant precipitation up there since early June. In fact, summer came so early and so abruptly this year that I had scant opportunity to enjoy myself in the clear-water streams running between those ancient red-dirt hills.

Compared to last year, the bite was completely off, too. We returned home skunked more often than not, whereas last year it was the other way around. No matter, I always came home with my mandatory inoculation of wildness.

Watching the radar last weekend, it looked like a terrific amount of rain fell on the hills. Reports were coming in of seven, eight inches in most places, more in others. I just knew it would help.

See, many of those creeks are partially spring fed, but they do rely on rain for good health. The drought has been tormenting them, and as early as the first week of June, they were thin and sluggish.

My buddy and I figured with all that rain the favorite of our meanders might, just might, be replenished. Just had to be. We were in the midst of making plans to head up yonder Saturday when I got an email from another pal who lives in the hills.

He had made a foray to the stream and found little flow, skinny water and generally dismal conditions. I gave him a call and told him, “Thanks, you broke my heart and saved me a lot of gas money all at the same time!”

Ah, well. Such is the life of a fisherman, especially an itinerant one. My rods have been collecting dust in the rack for three months; my beloved waist pack glowers at me, looking neglected, and I just bought a brand new pair of wading sandals, regular $90 on sale for $30! I guess I’ll have to break them in another time.

I was tempted to go anyway. Bring my camera and tripod, go make some landscapes in the hills among the pines. But life has its potholes. I have foolishly ignored the fact that the truck insurance is due next week and rushed up to wade and immerse my battered soul in the creek’s rejuvenating flows, but not just to go on a photo expedition.

The deal-breaker: No water. Fish or not, there needs to be water, or I am not compelled.

Many a time have I merely closed my eyes at the end of yet another troublesome day and soaked my bruised psyche in wild water, rivers remembered and rivers imagined, Harry Middleton wrote. Rivers course through my dreams, rivers cold and fast, rivers well-known and rivers nameless, rivers that seem like ribbons of blue water twisting through wide valleys, narrow rivers folded in layers of darkening shadows, rivers that have eroded down deep into the mountain’s belly, sculpted the land, peeled back the planet’s history exposing the texture of time itself.

That’s it exactly. Maybe the fall will bring rain, though the weather forecasters say it’s not likely. I hope they’re wrong.

So I’ll be working around the yard, instead. I have a lot of debris from the storm to pick up before I can mow the lawn. I need to wash the truck really good, it’s all gray and light brown from the dust and mud around here, though I wish I was washing red dirt off it instead. Lots to do.

Anyway. Have a great weekend!

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