Jason Hawkins Outdoors: The rhythm of the rain

Jul. 21, 2014 @ 04:29 PM

He is two days unshaven and his cheeks are red from too many days in the sun. The forest green rain jacket is zipped to just below his chin and the hood is folded forward to about the arch of his warmly darkened eyebrows.

It began raining at 2 a.m. He heard it and felt it and sensed it and the thunder pounded his senses and the lightning offered him a flash of vision. He waited and stirred and when the rains became light, his feet were left bare and his pant legs rolled above his ankles and the spinning rod became soft in his hand.

The ground was soft beneath his barren feet in the mud that was warm, dry and dusty yesterday.

Water now plays and puddles draw and footprints become tracks and toes are massaged by clay and decayed soil.

The rain is harmless, a respite now.

And so by this body of water that is tickled and refreshed, he casts. He brought only the one pole. He casts again. He brought only the one dark black and red-tipped tail of a plastic worm. He casts again.

He knows the bass are sluggish in July and fat with bait and he trains the lure slowly on retrieve. The line draws taut and the rod tip bounces and the kick of a tail and water splashes and the rain increases and he pulls to bring the fish near.

The earth is cold and moist and the rain is finding rhythm again and he lifts the fish upward. The rain becomes the momentum of this place and all is suddenly hushed and the roar grows.

The fish is loosed into the shelter of water that is still and he steps from the mud, which is now cooler than before.

He brought only the one rod and he leans it against a juvenile sugar maple and he folds his arms against his chest and he tucks his chin forward, slightly, to feel the coolness of water against a two-day old beard.

He stands and is cleansed by the rain. He becomes part of the place and he feels the energy and the noise and the wonder of allowing the rain to do as rain does in July when dust becomes mud and toes and bodies of water are tickled.

The rain grows.

Mud flows from the high places and mud creeps into this water and the dimples disrupt its messy pattern.

The rain grows.

He feels the cool air and he thinks of casting and wonders of fat bass full of young bream and he wonders of fish that feed in the rain and anglers who fish when the rains flow. The cork of the rod is wet and cool now. The lure is sailing into the mass of drops and the line chases with heaviness as it falls amongst the multitude of dimples of rain and water and disturbances.

He retrieves slowly.

From within the shield of a hood and within the mass of rain showers, his feet sink deeper into the mud and his mind sinks deeper into a place where the rain is heard and felt and sometimes from where it is caught.

Enjoy your time outdoors.

Email Jason Hawkins at hawkinsoutdoors@msn.com