I’ve done it again. This morning I woke up with the urge to be spontaneous. A quality I rarely exhibit yet find quite enjoyable when I choose to follow this urge. Being spontaneous involves a spark of adventure of which I normally don’t have. But it is a beautiful spring morning with blue skies and glistening dew on the green grass. What shall I do? In the spirit of being spontaneous I decide quickly on my favorite fishing hole. The two hour drive has always been worth it as I always leave with a cooler of fish.
I have a small aluminum fishing boat that was my dad’s. I love that it was passed on to me so that I can continue the family tradition of tackle box tallies and “the one that got away” fish tales. Also in the tradition of my father I dug a worm hole under my barn so that each time I go fishing I have bait on hand. Why buy worms when they will come to us for free? He would also take us to the local tennis courts after it rained to pick up all the worms that came out onto the courts. Remembering back now it was kind of a cool thing to do. Then on special occasions, like a holiday, we would go to the bait shop and fill up the minnow bucket. I always thought it was fun to catch the minnows with my little green net.
I pluck out as many worms as I can and drop them in my square Styrofoam cooler. My blue igloo cooler is packed with my preferred boat snacks of corn chips, an olive loaf sandwich, double-stuff cookies, and red pop. I try not to change up this menu as it may jinx my fishing luck. I hook up the boat, load my truck and have one important stop to make. A road trip in my opinion cannot be started without what I like to call “the breakfast of happy people”, donuts and coffee. Once I have this essential breakfast I am on the road to the lake. After a couple of hours of country road driving I have arrived at the launch ramp. I step out of my truck and look up to a very different sky. The beautiful spring morning of blue skies and glistening dew has been replaced with grey clouds and the promise of rain.
Rain and fishing. Fishing and rain. I think back to my many days of fishing with my dad in the rain and decide a little bit of rain will not curse my rare feeling of spontaneity. I launch the boat and start motoring across the lake wondering if the spots on my sleeve are from raindrops or from the lake water below. The air is heavy and I’m hoping to make it to my fishing hole before the rain decides to let loose. The trolling motor hums along happily as it pushes my boat across the open water to my favorite fishing hole. It is in a cove just on the other side of the picnic area. The picnic area where geese like to lay out and poop all over the place. Once we had a family picnic there and I’ve always remembered that we couldn’t play games in the grassy area because of the goose poop.
I have always loved this fishing spot. It is protected from the wind and I usually see a raccoon on the shore scurrying around looking for a snack. I think this cove could be a scene out of a scary teen movie at night. It is filled with lots of lily pads and stringy green moss. There are stumpy trees that you can barely see hiding just beneath the surface of the water. Some limbs poke through the surface, a warning of what lies below. During the day I always see snakes near the shore and turtles floating around the fallen trees. At night this would be terrifying to run into a snake or hear a plop in the water but not know it was a small turtle. The creepy crawly bugs and loud black crickets would come out too. I think I will keep to the day fishing.
I have arrived. The anchor is out, my hook has a wiggly worm and the skies are crying a cold steady rain. I throw on my poncho and pull down my hat to block the rain from hitting my face. Although this doesn't really work. The rain hits the bill of my hat, rolls down to the tip and plops onto my face. I pull a hand towel out of my backpack and wipe my face as I take a moment to look out over the water. The lake has been transformed into a pebbly portrait of rain art. Each drop stinging the water leaves behind a small ring before another drop takes its place. A mother duck is paddling across the lake with her ducklings following behind her. Five ducklings, I think, all a Twinkie yellow. A fish jumps out of the water and flops back in as if a game of tag has begun and now I’m it. Flying high above is a flock of geese in formation making their way through the sheets of rain. I find it a very mesmerizing scene. I watch. I listen. I breathe.
I close my eyes and listen. The rainfall is not a downpour but instead a rainfall of steady rhythm. Like a friend that has come to visit for a while and is just settling in to relax. A symphony of beautiful music has been created within this rainfall. I can hear the leaves rustling in the nearby trees and one lone bird is singing a high pitched song. I like to imagine it is a song of happiness and this makes me smile. The rain hitting my little boat is soothing and I honestly think if I had a recliner seat I could fall asleep right here. Instead I open my eyes, cast my line and wait for the first nibble.
The morning slowly passes into afternoon and I decide to call it a day. The game of tag was slow and steady just like the rain. My faithful fishing spot has not disappointed me and I head home with a cooler full of fish to fry up. As I pull in the anchor the rain is slowing. The gray skies are being replaced by a blanket of white clouds. I can see pale sunlight pushing through the clouds creating spots of sunshine on the water. The rain is moving on and has left behind a beautiful, magical landscape. Perhaps a landscape that some might miss in a hasty retreat to get out of the rain.
As I motor back to the ramp a slight wind blows ripples across the water and I catch the scent of wet dirt and fishiness. I’m thinking about my day and decide I should be more spontaneous in my life. This has been a fulfilling day of enjoying the beauty and magic of nature during a rainfall. I’m glad I didn’t miss this day of wonder at my favorite fishing hole. I lower my hand into the water and swish my fingers around. The water moves over and around and between my fingers. It is cool and refreshing. I approach the dock and take one last look behind me. I watch. I listen. I breathe.