The float tube has been waiting in the truck for the first chance to get on the water again.
You've tied up another muddler variant especially for this day.
Deer season is a few days old and the roads and campgrounds are busy. But you have Brookie Lake all to yourself.
The water is a weedy soup, but you see rises boiling up here and there.
You miss a couple of fish on a brisk strip. Then you find the right rhythm, the one in sync with the beat of these bright lives.
You leisurely explore the boundaries of the lake, and you find the pulse of life everywhere.
Each fish is a shining microcosmic reflection of the Autumn world.
You kick down the channel to the spillway. The water rushes away like Summer days.
You say goodbye to Brookie Lake; you will not return until the return of Spring.
You migrate south to Trout Lake. Everything is nearing completion.
You passed slow-moving hunters on the road, and dodged roaring logging trucks. But what hits you at the lakeside is the deepening stillness.
This world is shedding all the non-essentials, and a calm is settling down like the coming snows of Winter.
The trout are essential parts of it all. They are enlivened by their cooling world, and they seek sustenance for the long dark ahead.
They are quick and efficient in their taking of the fly, but betray not a trace of desperation.
They endure the net, then flick back into their element to resume their unwavering dedication to survival instinct.
You are not here by instinct. You come by choice.
And, like the trout, you are also seeking sustenance. And once again you find it in abundance.
You kick in slowly through the evening chill, and you feel defined by the growing cold, more aware of the sharp edges of your aliveness. Bats still flit through the waning light. Soon they will be gone for another season.
So will you. But not yet. You will come back again for a few more times. And when the long dark does come, you will be ready.