Saturday, September 3, 2016

Cooling it #phenology

Yesterday, mid-afternoon, the Better Half and I floated a several mile stretch of the upper St. Croix River. We were there to play with fly rods, bass bugs and what turned out to be highly elusive smallmouth bass. Here's a list of what we caught:

  • Sight of a swimming squirrel (that was a first for me, despite much of a life spent on or around water)
  • Sight of two (a pair of?) eagles in separate but adjoining pine trees (like twin beds for married people?)
  • Sight of several fish, presumably smallmouth bass, swirling at and missing surface poppers and Dahlberg Divers
  • One (small) smallmouth bass in the net prior to its release (Better Half saved us from a skunking, as usual--sigh!)
  • Sight of a fouled hook and, later, the tell-tale curly-cue of a slipped knot that explained the "ones that got away" (no names to protect the guilty)
  • Sight of one damsel-fly landed on my knee (another first)
  • Sight of miles of deep green pine mixed with birch and deciduous trees starting to show hints of color change
  • Views of a series of fascinating and intriguing partially exposed tree roots along an exposed bank

early morning mist, upper St. Croix River
early morning mist, upper St. Croix River
Photo by J. Harrington

Despite the limited catching because no one seemed to have told the bass this is when they're supposed to be feeding very actively in preparation of Winter, an extended period of only a few hours away from the sounds of civilization(?) such as traffic, tv, etc. brought about a transformative level of attitude adjustment as noticeable as the abrupt temperature drop we felt when, late in the day, our guide rowed the boat from the sunny East bank to the shaded West bank of the river.

Autumn color, St. Croix River
Autumn color, St. Croix River
Photo by J. Harrington

I set out to catch some fish and ended up catching a glimpse of the me I used to be, the one who is aware he belongs closer to the Earth's water that make up most of him than to the asphalt and electricity he's become so dependent on. In a few weeks, as the forest's color changes peak, the sights and (lack of artificial) sounds will be even more attention getting. See if you can work a visit into your schedule. Go for more than one and look for changes in the countryside. I'm planning some sort of return trip next month, as peak color moves south through the North Country.

Autumn

By Amy Lowell

All day I have watched the purple vine leaves
Fall into the water.
And now in the moonlight they still fall,
But each leaf is fringed with silver.


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