Dressy-casual for the outdoorsman

Apr. 01, 2014 @ 06:00 PM

The shoes are leather. They are a tanned color, somewhat gold and somewhat cashmere, and his socks are a pale blue.

His khaki slacks are fitted and are neither baggy nor tight and are cinched by a fine brown leather belt, both the hinge and pin bright silver. His button-down shirt is light blue and the lateral stripes are a pale pink and faint green and a hint of red and the nearest button to his neck is unfastened and so are the two below.

His sleeves are rolled to just below his elbows and still he slings the lure forward. He notices the sky is alone and the birds are a convenient audience and the wind meanders and plays. He retrieves. The pole is loose in his hand and the tip is pointed away and the crank of the reel is slow and with purpose and each revolution is full of synchronous harmony.

It is late in the afternoon and for 60 hours of a five-day week that began early Monday and was ongoing 20 minutes ago when he laid the phone down, his ear has been bent, his patience has worn and another meeting was scheduled again and again and again.

The nature of his job is numbers and formulas and everything is important and nothing can wait and yet even he knew his limits and this old farm pond is just simple math. One cast led to another and another cast to one more cast and for 53 minutes he stood in the shade of a soon-to-blossom maple tree and fed the water a sharp hook and poured into the water all that was this week and he fished.

There were nibbles and bites and a missed strike and his shirt was now untucked and more buttons were loosed. There was dirt on the tops of his shoes and grass stains at the cusp of his pant legs. The pond water muddied his hands and the cumbersome nature of casting in long sleeves was a challenge.

Yet there were no clouds in the sky and no meetings to attend, and he could smile or frown and roll his sleeves and dirty his shoes and miss a strike, and he could look for the wind, imagine clouds and serenade to the birds, if he wanted.

Within the cloak of formality, the informality of angling became pleasure and respite, despite the week that was.

Certainly, he would return to the office and find one hour be one of 59 to come and the complexities of work and formulas to be simplified by grass stains on the cusp of pant legs, the sky without clouds and the synchronous motion of cast, retrieve, repeat.

Enjoy your time outdoors.

Outdoors columnist Jason Hawkins may be reached at hawkinsoutdoors@msn.com.