First of October.


The new sign on the highway seems to be asking an awful lot.

You wouldn’t think it’d be a good year for acorns, as dry as it’s been the past couple months- but there they are, crunching underfoot, ground down into flour on the asphalt. Fat fox squirrels look on, barking from the trees, shaking their tails.

I work downstream this time, mostly because someone was parked in the spot I was thinking, making the decision for me. A rust-red Outback. Swear I’ve seen it before down here. Probably have.

We got a little rain early in the week, though the creek’s still awful low and clear. Threw a small streamer for a while, but couldn’t find the groove. Switched to my bastardized version of a North Fork Special and pulled a tiny wild rainbow from behind a logjam; it pulled loose at my feet and found its way through sodden leaves back to its lie.

There’s a long, deep bluff pool where I usually stop when working downstream, enough water between it and the car to make for a nice day. With the creek so skinny that isn’t the case, and the bluff pool is easily navigable, so I press on, curious what’s farther. It isn’t great, lots of flat water and fine substrate where the stream is steel healing from livestock and deforestation. Bare banks that could use some trees for depth and structure and shade. Still, I find a nice spot and catch three or four fish in twenty feet of stream, and that’s all I need.

Fat fox squirrels bark from the trees, shaking their tails, as I walk the road back to the car. I stop occasionally for acorns, getting good enough to spot the ones that’ve been cracked or bored by weevils before bending over to pick them up. White oak, bur oak, chinkapin. If I can get them to sprout, to grow, I’ll put them back along the bank- for depth, for structure, for shade.

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