Rain patters the driveway as I open the garage door, and the pines nearby sway in a gust of wind. It is cold and getting colder, which makes me smile. I am snug in wool and Gore-Tex, determined to play hooky from the office for at least a few hours. There is a river nearby, a heck of a fishery, actually, and with bad weather I am betting I will find a hatch.
The rain, sporadic at this point, turns to snow as I drive along a reservoir toward my destination. Thick flakes swirl and dance over the road. Off to the west, the Sierra crest sits invisible behind a curtain of white. Nearer, the lake reflects the lowering sky, the color of gunmetal.
Snow begins to stick to the brown grass, to the leafless branches of the willows and the dark, clustered needles of the conifers. I turn from the pavement onto gravel. Where I could expect to see many vehicles parked during summer, there is only one, a rattletrap pickup that belongs to a friend who fishes whenever he wants. I am not surprised he is here, now. Bad weather brings the solitude that lets us escape the world by getting deeper into it.
The snow falls heavier, starting to cover the trail I follow along a bluff and that takes me down to the river. The wind is lessening, too, a muffled sound, as if the trees were whispering hush
. I reach a favorite pool, which is empty of anglers, and pause well back to inspect it. A ring appears upon the waterís surface, then a second, a third.
Grinning, I work my way into the current downstream, shake out line, and begin to cast.
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