Thursday, September 13, 2007

Feeling Like Autumn

Rainy. Cold. Windy. It has been this way for so long it is hard to remember when it was anything else. Seems like summer ended on the last day of July and we’ve had a crappy fall ever since. The thermometer has been parked at 50 degrees for weeks and the rain is coming down in buckets. Roads are a muddy mess. Trees and outside dogs look bedraggled, and people’s spirits are about the same.

Occasionally the constant barrage of rain storms will slack off for a few hours—maybe even half a day—and it feels like a giant reprieve. If it happens around 9 pm we might get a stunning sunset, like the one here.

Some days ago the weatherman predicted a full day of minimal precipitation, so Henry called and wanted to get a fishing trip in. The best tides were early in the day and we planned to launch by 9:30 am. Most people who are still fishing are reporting poor results. The salmon runs in the Kuskokwim are about over for this year. But Henry is an excellent fisherman, and he usually brings home fish when others get skunked.

“I know there’s a few silvers left in the river,” he said. “Let’s go find ‘em!”

It didn’t actually rain on us, but the sun played coy with the clouds and never gave us more than a few minutes of his rays. We watched numerous rain showers blowing around in the middle distance, as if giant unseen hands were squeezing out full sponges over a big table. Fortunately the wind was in a fairly gentle mood, which helps a lot in handling the boat and the drift net.

We went to one of our favorite spots and did two long drifts. The results were fairly disappointing. We caught about two dozen silver salmon when we were hoping for fifty to a hundred. But they were beautiful fish, still bright and firm. We both wanted some for the dinner table, and Joan wanted some for putting up in jars (known as…yeah…”jarring” salmon).

Hardly anyone was out on the river. A few boats went by on their way to somewhere else, but no one else was fishing. A big gravel barge and tugboat went by, reminders that the Kuskokwim is a working river.

At the cost of gasoline, nearly five bucks a gallon, it gets pretty expensive to go fishing if you don’t catch much. Henry decided that this was probably going to be the last trip of the season.

It really feels like summer is over, and has for a while. Really doesn’t matter that it is over a week yet until the autumn equinox. We still have plenty of daylight; the sun is rising around 8 am and setting around 9 pm, when the cloud cover breaks enough to see it. But the dreariness of this endless rain has everyone hoping for an early freeze up. We are far more likely to have clear skies when the weather is cold, and life is so much cleaner when the mud hardens up.

Another month, perhaps. Sigh.



Blogger Shelby said...

Love the fall.

Sunday, September 16, 2007 4:52:00 AM  
Blogger BamaLaura said...

I miss the color changes in the North, but really don't miss the wet and cold.

Miss seeing your musings on Bethel and Alaska...hope all is okay...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007 6:20:00 PM  

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