Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Heightened Senses

I spent twenty two long seasons freezing in the north east and my blood has definitely thinned out since residing in Southern California for the last 16+ years. I equate California weather to the Bill Murray movie "Groundhog Day". 1  The same day and weather keeps repeating over and over. California is beautiful but the sameness, uniformity and lack of seasonal changes wears on my psyche. In the Northeast the weather and environment is more harsh and it has a tendency to shape your personality and attitude towards life. In essence all the pretense has been beaten out of you and people say what they mean. 

Late Fall : : T h a n k s g i v i n g   W e e k
I haven't showered in two days because I am staying at my beach house in south Jersey and we only have an outside shower. The water is currently turned off so the pipes don't freeze over night. The high for today should reach 32 degrees so I go outside and crawl under the house and turn on the water to the shower. I let the hot water warm up for a minute then run outside in my towel and jump in. All is good until a gust of wind blows frigid air under the door. Thats my queue to move inside. Well I am definitely awake now no coffee needed. I layer on all the clothes that I packed, pull up my waiters, grab my rod and headed up the street to the ocean.

I follow my shadow down towards the waters edge and slip waist deep into the Atlantic. The pressure of the cold surf vacuum sucks my waiters around my legs as I make my first cast. A north west wind blows cold air into my lungs waking me from a long three month slumber. The cold is invigorating spiking all my senses into the red.

My dad and I pace back and forth from Jetty to Jetty hoping to cross paths with migratory cow striped bass. I seemed to have missed that window this season but still have fun with light tackle and finesse fishing for smaller resident stripers. The beach is desolate this time of year except for some 4x4 tracks and lonely seagull footprints along the waters edge. As the sun sets I catch my first fish but my hands are completely numb and I fumble the bass in the wash. Its dorsal fin pricks my hand as I release her back into the wild and my blood flows out with the tide. As night falls we call it and walk back towards our small cedar shake bungalow following plumes of smoke rising from distant fireplaces. The smell of firewood trigger nostalgic thoughts of fall in my brain. Its short lived though, as my phone vibrates in my chest pocket bringing me back to reality. 5:43pm…I'm late.