Steam rises from the ponds early in the cold morning air. Leaves on the hickory trees are the first to begin to change color. This is the time of year when the air conditioner finally receives a reprieve from the summer heat due to the changing seasons and the windows are opened during the day to let the cool air in.
Hanging from a wall within the cabin in which I reside is an old fiberglass fishing rod rocking to and fro in the fresh breeze, moving in an almost steady time like the pendulum of a grandfather clock. Many miles of fishing line have passed through the eyelets; still attached to the pole by hand spun thread, and a good bonding of glue.
During this time of the year, I usually pull out an open-faced reel and attach it to the old rod, bringing memories both old and new to life. On some areas of the surface of the reel there are a few scratches, a few nicks; tributes to frustrating backlashes and hard-earned rewards alike.
There is a tackle box, too, that goes with these instruments. The inside of it is filled with treasures like some fine museum, hand carved wooden baits that lay alongside newer composites. Many lures have been retired, most kept around for the purposes of nostalgia alone. I load all of this into the truck and head out early in the morning to stand alongside the steam rising from the water, hoping the fish will bite.
Mist sprays from the open-faced reel as another cast is made and for the moment the air hints at peace and tranquility. I feel a gentle tap through the line, then a stronger one and I set the hook. The calm waters erupt in battle as the catch is reeled in. The large mouth bass is gently released and another cast made. Waves of the pond calm down again until the next bite. Eventually the action ceases and toward the end of the morning the rod is hung back upon the wall, the open-faced reel detached and the tackle box put back on the shelf.
By evening the windows are closed once again, both in metaphor and reality. A small fire in the old wood stove fills the cabin with heat. A pull of the lever engages the recliner and a day that begins in peace ends the same way.
I do so enjoy this time of year.