By Nathan Miller.
As outdoorsmen, we can all relate to the changing seasons and what it brings to all of us. For some of us the scenery may not ever change much and for the rest of us we see the full effects of nature’s bounty. As outdoorsmen and women we seem to transition from one thing to the next as we hunt and fish, and it always brings something new to the table. If any of us are as so lucky to hunt or fish for a living one would think it is the best job one could ever ask for. It is definitely not a repetitious job and each step afield is surely always a new adventure. I envy those who have this job but I love that I can live it even on a drive home from work.
I want to start with spring merely because no one can say when a year really begins only because we celebrate the New Year, it is something man came along and put a stamp on. My stamp is on spring, the Earth is coming alive again at least here in Byron, Michigan. Winters grasp has slowly started to let go and for most of us here in the north it can be a long, dramatic, and slow transition. Spring will bring one more hunting season for many of us across the nation chasing turkeys and then we go under water where a wide variety of fish begin the migration into shallow flats and running against a strong river current to endure their spawning process. My second love next to waterfowl is chasing Steelhead, a fish that can nearly be caught on all of our Great Lakes Tributaries nearly year round—Hallelujah. A beautiful creature in all their glory gives a freshwater fisherman a real run for his money We watch the trees bud out their new brood of leaves, flowers and grasses begin to make a presence again as we breathe a breath of fresh affectionate air. Soon we venture into a thing we call June where this other entity named summer is quickly approaching now.
The days are getting longer, warmer, and the skies clear quickly after a rugged storm brings in new waves of rain to give us that extra inch to cut in the yard. Most farmers are wrapping up the planting season with high hopes of timely rains and shallow heat to bring in a good harvest not far ahead. It is relaxing to know that we can all come home after a long day at work and enjoy a pleasant evening on a comfortable porch surrounded by family or having a cocktail to wrap up a crazy workday. These summer nights keep us living and give us something more than a busy schedule to look forward too, a sense of tranquility and peace of mind. Hitting up a lake in a row boat chasing whatever bites as fish seem more active for a period of short time. For me and the ones I am close with, we head out to the big water looking for mounds of walleye and salmon. Putting away stockpiles of fish to get us through the ever changing seasons ahead, everyone is active and far away from our winter bear mode we were just in a few short months ago. We are active maybe busy with weddings, camping, or family barbecues, but this is a good active, one we have been longing for. I’m pretty sure no matter if you are an outdoorsman or not, summer just brings life back into all of us all over again. But someone named September just knocked on the door and now I have to answer it.
September 1, you can be a cooler day if you so very much like as this day is for us waterfowlers and bowhunters alike. We are getting that itchy fingers scratched now as we come into an Early Goose Season. This seems to even embark my deer hunting buddies to join me in the field as they know deer season is just around the corner and the itch to kill again is becoming extremely inviting. Days suddenly seem a tad shorter and perhaps a little cooler; hunting season has really begun as bowhunters prepare their trail cams and hanging stands above the ground. October is just a month away and we have a lot to prepare for; the rut and migration just ahead and we all yearn for it. We curse a day of sunny and 70 as we near October 1, we are all ready to embark into fall and look for colder weather to bring in the migration and get those lazy bucks moving up and around a little more. Salmon have migrated up the rivers from the big lakes as they prepare to spawn and quickly fade away. Thousands of us embark north, west, and east to chase the fury of the King and Coho and soon, believe it or not, our beloved friend the Steelhead is not far behind making an early start of their spring migration; some of the best fishing one could ever experience. Gun hunters carry on the deer hunting heritage throughout half of November and as the cold sets in, the leaves have an amazing tint to them and the air is cool and crisp. This is when a man truly feels like a man. We are in our glory and our wives look at us like we are some kind of idiot Neanderthal but it will not stop us being who we are. Fall’s transitions only happened once a year, it may last a few days, but it only happens once a year. It’s the time I make the most of, but again, something is telling me I need listen for bells ringing as a fat man in a red suit is quickly approaching.
December, why did you have to go and ruin a good thing, I was just starting to have a great time here and the flurry of mallards is now a legacy of another good day gone. Looking outside everything is bare, lakes are freezing but there is snow on the ground and it is so much better to look at it than the brown blades of grass for the next several months. We find ourselves braving some of Mother Nature’s most beastly temper-tantrums facing exhausting wind chills and snow storms to venture to the ice in pursuit of nearly dormant bluegills and crappies just to pass the time to get back to the beginning of a moment again when the Earth becomes alive with spring.
Transition is a good thing, it gives us all something new to look forward too, each season brings something we love back to life again and we are all eager for the change once more. For some nothing changes but for others everything changes and we find a way to live it over and over, year after year.
The wisp of the fly gives a sense of gratification as it presents itself for the perfect slow drift, fish or no fish, gratification is here; in this place, at this moment, within this time, throughout this surrounding. There is nothing broken here.