As much as I’d like to be fishing, there are things to do before I close the camps and pull the boats in 16 days. I’ll get out on the water soon enough but, in the meantime I am relegated to spectator status, watching other guys take advantage of the last few fine days of the season.
Drenching rain, high winds and even a chance of snow are in the immediate forecast, with more of the same sure to follow.
Most of the leaves are down — foliage season this year was short and somewhat subdued — but the oaks, popples and beeches are hanging in there with some uncharacteristic flamboyance.
Small feeder streams are running cold and clear, and the brook trout will be spawning soon, making their way, through water that barely covers their vermiculated backs, to their secret breeding grounds.
The critters of the woods are busy preparing for the dark chill that awaits, stashing apples and nuts for mid-winter snacks, and people (the ones who live in these parts, anyway) are collecting necessities, too.
Orion hovers above the barn when I step out into the frost each morning at 5:30. Geese wing their way south, overhead all day and through the lengthening night, but laughter and light still warm the darkness as a few hardy souls enjoy their last trips of the season to Fish in a Barrel Pond. I hope the memories of that laughter and light warm their winters as much as mine.