Ramble with Storm: Rhythms

Mulling things on my morning ramble with Storm, the family’s mixed Lab.

There’s a natural rhythm around the town pond.

And a human rhythm, too.

But that may be a disingenuous division, since humans are part of the natural rhythm. Some times I think it is too easy to designate that split as though they were mutually exclusive: Nature vs. human.

The natural rhythm on the town pond I am still learning. The human one I know.

In January, aptly the dead of winter, Storm and I are usually the only ones regularly circling the town pond. Occasionally the old-timers will drill some holes in the ice on a nice day. Now and then, a shelter will blossom on the ice, but not often.

As the end of ice comes, in one of the final nice days when the surface turns sloppy and the air hits the 40-degree-or-better mark, I will sneak out and drill a few holes on one weed line. The two old-timer regulars sometimes will be out, too.

At the end of February and beginning of March comes a lull. It is just the meathead and I circling the pond as the sun rises through the bare trees.

Then, usually just before the maples start budding, there will be a van, always a van of some sort, and the first guys are out exploring for crappie in the deeper sunken brush. A bucket of minnows somewhere on shore.

Next, in late March or early April, there’s the first guy, usually the neighbor a couple houses down, who is seriously trying for bass with plastics, crankbaits and spinner baits.

Then with a string of warm days, the first kids show, usually with a grandfather, occasionally by themselves, trying for bluegill and sunfish with small baits and bobbers. I expect today to be that day with the first sign of kids fishing.

At that point, the first woman will usually show too. I don’t know if there is a deep sociological meaning to when the first woman usually shows or not. I suspect it has more to do with the practicality.

By May, the summer pattern is set. The occasional group or family outing. During the bass spawn, one fly fisherman shows up and is one of the few guys who actually battles the brush and circles the entire north part of the town pond.

He is fun to watch.

I am always intrigued by how little fishermen move. Beside myself, that fly fisherman is the only one that I know who regularly extends beyond the easy walking from the gravel parking lanes.

But that’s true anywhere. If you get much past 200 yards from any parking lot for fishermen, you greatly increase your chances of being in nearly unfished water.

It’s neither right nor wrong, just the way it is.

Then comes the fall lull, occasionally broken by a guy trying to late crappie. The intermittent ice, then the first true ice and the race is on between two retirees in town and myself to see who drills the first hole.

A good rhythm is not a rut.

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