Sunday, September 2, 2018

September 2018 - Potomac River

There I lay, staring at the bottom of my canoe from underneath it, listening to the cacophony of heavy rain and mosquitoes.

An hour and a half earlier, it was quite pleasant, upper 80s, but not totally overcast.  Quite nice for a September 1, which sounds ridiculous until you remember that in our post-global warming economy, every month from May to October has more or less been replaced with July, so any day that isn't 98 degrees is a blessing.

I put in at Hospital point, where there were some locals chucking out chicken breast marinated in kool-aid and garlic powder for big cats; If you don't fish, you might be confused.  In this sentence, locals refers to bearded guys who drive a chevy cavalier with one of the windows replaced with a trash bag held in place with duct tape.  And big cats refers to big catfish, either channel or blue catfish.  You'd have thought that maybe chicken breast, kool-aid, and garlic powder might mean something else, but no.  Sometimes things just are what they are.

The locals themselves were subsisting off of what looked like Miller High Life, "the champagne of beers", although miller is the one who makes that claim, so their impartiality is probably in doubt, same as a mother saying her child is exceptional.  Anyway, the locals seemed to be enjoying themselves.  High life, indeed, covered in kool-aid and salmonella, baking in the afternoon heat.

You might have noticed in the previous paragraph, that I put the comma after the quote marks, which, according to Strunk and White, two of the most boring people to ever have existed, is a faux pas; according to their "The Elements of Style", a piece of shit that middle-school teachers force their students to comply with when writing essays, the punctuation is supposed to be inside the quote marks.  But "The Elements of Style" was published in 1920.  In 1920, people were still dying of diphtheria, and syphilis was still rampant.  Now, I'm not saying the inestimable Strunk was suffering from syphilitic dementia when he penned his magnum opus, but regardless, we've moved beyond that era, and everyone should put the punctuation outside the quotes, to remove ambiguity as to whether the punctuation belongs to the quoted phrase, or not.  What's good for computer programmers is good for us all.

Anyway, I put in the canoe and made my way to the back of the creek, a couple of miles from the put in.  I was fishing with a topwater frog, trying for a bass or a snakehead, or whatever.  I'd have been happy with any strike but no fish were forthcoming.

After only a few minutes, to the west, the sky started to darken, and I realized that one of the scattered storms that had been promised was coming.  I made for home, and alllllmost made it.

I wish! Got stuck about a mile and a half away when it started to dump.  I hunkered in some guy's backyard, sitting underneath my upturned canoe, listening to the rain, back where we started so may paragraphs ago.  It wasn't pleasant, but at least I was sheltered, and my only concern was the guy was going to go for an evening walk, find me, and shoot me.

Here is me, depicted by a red "X". 

I sat under the boat for maybe an hour and 15 minutes, after which the storm had blown through and was kicking the shit out of Maryland.

I didn't realize how comparatively lucky I was until I was looking up the radar image of the storm to include in this.  I knew there was a storm passing to the north, approximately 3-4 miles based on the whole "5 seconds between lightning and thunder = one mile away" rule for storms.  The color palette for that storm was significantly redder.

After the storm passed and the rain died down, I paddled back to the ramp and took out.  I cast my frog half-heartedly in the dark a few times, gave up quick.

So, let this be a lesson to you.  Not everything meteorologists say is bullshit.  Just most of it.