The Promise of Seasons

September light along a well known road to the Delaware.

The final day of August again brought sensations of autumn: a chill in the breeze, a river raised slightly and colored from actual rainfall, and those leaves on the wind, already fouling my dry flies amid their drift. Now it is September, with Labor Day before us, and thoughts turn to the change of seasons. It seems popular to consider this the beginning of autumn, though three more weeks remain the property of summer.

The changes tend to be subtle, like yesterday’s momentary chill, amid a sunny, warm afternoon. Light changes, taking on a quality I have always found comfort in. The sun’s lower angle pleases me, yet it invokes a sense of melancholy along with the comfort and pleasure.

Clearly September isn’t autumn in the sense of fishing. Hot, dry conditions tend to continue, and fishing often finds it’s low ebb for the season. Once the weather moderates, and we can only hope that Tuesday’s bit of rain was a prelude to real relief for our embattled rivers, we hope to see some mayflies again. The bright little Hebes and the big, ruddy Isonychia should tempt the trout on the Delaware, bringing a chance to tangle with a thrashing Delaware rainbow as color comes to the mountainsides.

A gorgeous September afternoon along the Delaware.

I am already thinking about the shotgun here in the cabinet, contemplating a tuneup for the eyes and reflexes before the grouse challenge us once again, and a break from the singularity of purpose that is the dry fly season. I have fished hard this summer, determined to mine whatever golden moments I might from a difficult season. In truth I feel a bit worn, having worked too hard at the thing I love.

This is the perfect time to catch my breath, to relax that ceaseless effort and take comfort in the beauty of the late afternoon light and Nature’s moods as she contemplates a change of seasons.

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