Yesterday I went fishing. Not much news in that statement but...
It was middle of the day, sun straight up, and blasting heat straight down. There was that harsh mid-day light that makes me squint even when wearing sunglasses, a hard light that beats everything down.
Not a breath of air stirred, just dead dead calm. I was sweating heavily even though standing in waist deep river water. Even though the water was a little cooler than my body temperature the sweat poured off of me.
But I wanted to fish. The water was so clear that I could see fish way out, dark shadows roaming around in the river, some of them huge. The river is down low, very little current.
I'd been out there about an hour when a breeze sprang up from the south. I heard it coming in the tall cottonwood trees on the banks, their tops tower a hundred feet or move above me when I'm down in the river, and a slight breeze on an otherwise calm day sounds like rain hitting them. I heard distant thunder. I fished on, enjoying the breeze.
Then clouds covered the sky and blocked the sun and the breeze turned into a wind out of the north that rippled and lightly chopped the water's surface. In half an hour this change occurred. From glassy smooth water with sweat pouring off me as the sun beat down with harsh light to choppy water with a cool wind from the north and soft light. From hot and sweaty to just nice and cool. Magic.
It rained a bit off and on, the rain felt good, really really good. I took my hat off so that rain could run through my hair and wash the sweat away. Waist deep in water and raining and with that soft light and that cool north wind - it was so opposite of how the day had started that I thought I might have been transported across time to a fall day.
There's something about that kind of light. It's soft and it has a little bit of color to it. The softness of it let my pupils dilate and suddenly I could easily see every leaf on every tree in a distinctive way, a beautiful way. I couldn't take my eyes off of the trees they were so gorgeous and they had such deep shadows inside of them that highlighted the greeness of them. I was actually hard pressed to watch my line because I was, after all, still fishing.
Down river, to the south, the sky was still open and I watched as the cloud's edges slowly moved along. I could see the bottoms of the clouds over me, dark and full of water and low, and I could see the tops of the clouds off at a distance, those giant pillowy blooms of pure white against a pale blue sky. And every shape and color of cloud in between.
It was hypnotizing, the smell of fresh rain, the coolness of the wind, the gorgeous light that makes me want to be a painter, the incredible distinction of every leaf on every tree, the moving changing clouds above, the silkiness of the river slowly and softly flowing around my bare legs and sandalled feet. It cast a spell that I find impossible to describe.
I could see up and down river at least a mile in each direction and not another soul was in sight, I couldn't see any houses where I was, no human noises at all.
White egrets, so white that they seem unreal, would fly by me now and then. That purest white form in that graceful shape and flight passing in front of the gorgeous trees in total silence was something to experience. It catches and holds the eye. When they land they come in slowly, make a slight curve, flare their wings, extend their legs, and settle down in the gentlest, smoothest, most graceful work of art you'll ever see anywhere.
I didn't want to leave. I didn't want it to end. But eventually it got dark and I went home. Many many hours later than I had planned. I went home with a refreshed spirit that I know no other way of getting. These kind of summer days are rare, truly rare, and all the more fantastic for that.