Frye: Taking time to live in the moment
What a difference a few degrees makes.
It's been a hot summer, brutally so at times, I'd argue. But maybe I'm not the best judge.
We attended a cousin's wedding in far southern Georgia once, a few years back now. It was an outdoor affair on the back lawn of his future in-laws' lakeside home. The setting was gorgeous, and the ceremony was heartfelt.
At one point I leaned in close to my wife, my sport coat grown as swampy as the countryside and sweat beaded on my face like pimples on a high school freshman.
“Listen,” I whispered. “If they don't pick up the pace, how about I yell ‘Gator!' Then we grab the kids and run for the car and the air conditioning.”
She reached over, put her hand on my leg and attempted to crush my kneecap.
I got the message. We stuck it out.
Heat's just never been my thing.
That's why the few recent cool nights were so welcome.
Did you hear what they were saying? They sang of things to come in a voice so soft as to be almost unintelligible. Yet there was no mistaking their message of what's ahead.
Honking geese. Pheasant roosters, unseen but heard cackling in the high grass. The plop of acorns hitting the forest floor. Streams suddenly too cold for wet wading.
There already have been tangible signs of the coming changes, to be sure. The return of school buses to the roads, football and band practices and those end-of-season sales fliers from department stores are harbingers of what's to be.
But cool nights touch the soul and stir longing for days afield in a world that once again will feel crisp, fresh and new.
I'm trying to not let that get me too far ahead.
If you're an outdoorsman or woman in Pennsylvania, there's always something to do outside. They key is taking time to live in the moment.
Focus too much on the crappie spawn in May, and you forget to enjoy some of the best trout fishing of April. Think only of the progress of food plots in July, and you miss the beauty of young wildlife and songbirds and wildflowers on hikes along summer trails. Worry incessantly about being ready for the archery openers in September and October, and you miss out on lazy August nights spent chasing catfish.
There's a time for it all. And the older I get, the more I want to experience each and every outdoors opportunity while it's available.
Soon enough, fall's smallmouths — like little boys pleading for one more tussle with daddy before bed — will fight harder. The bucks that have been so unconcerned about seemingly everything all summer will adopt a gritty, prickly edge. Even the chipmunks will be more frenzied. They've tormented the dog all summer, darting in and out of the stone pile left over from building the fire ring. In the coming weeks and months they'll go into full kamikaze mode, racing and panting, panting and racing, to get ready for winter.
I'll enjoy it all then, just as I'm trying to enjoy what we have now, while it's still here.
Let's just hope it's not too hot. My kneecaps can't take it.