Outdoors: The opening act

Jay Anglin

There are certain times of year when I find myself waxing poetic, as I stare across the somewhat featureless Indiana farmground as the sun slips below the horizon. The corn is starting to look a little wispy, the beans are burning off after fighting the hot August sun. A special scent pervades the air, and it only happens for a couple weeks every year. It’s full of life and yet, unmistakably climactic - like a good encore at a concert.

Call me sappy if you like, but I happen to like a good sunset. Of course, I like good sunrises, too – most outdoorsman do. Some months are just better than others for that sort of thing.

Such is September. James Taylor’s album October Road was released in August of 2002 and I happen to like it quite a bit. There was a song called "September Grass" that resonates with me, and I’d be hard pressed to come up with a better synopsis of early-September than the opening line of the song…

Well, the sun's not so hot in the sky today , and you know, I can see summertime slipping on away.

This month is brooding with change – it’s in the air and in our bones as the cool nights are the norm. The September sun tries its hardest to hang on, but we all know that soon it will give way to frosty mornings and cozy sweatshirts. The windows are likely open in the house and in the car, while air-conditionings receive a much-needed rest.

Thursday afternoon I could hardly keep my eyes open as my mind drifted off on the light breeze wafting through the living-room window. We have a litter of 10 Labrador Retriever puppies in the Anglin home and their wistful cries for mother’s milk serenaded me into a quick-afternoon nap. Keep in mind, a nap to me is any time my eyes stay closed for more than about two minutes. Okay, so it was short, but it was sweet as could be.

I recall reading that a “power nap” in the afternoon can really increase productivity. I can’t say that I have personal experience with this theory, but I can attest the power of coffee. So, reluctantly I had my daughter, Susan Marie, whip up a nice cup for me immediately after I picked the kids up at school. My apologies to the fine staff at Lincoln School for being late for pick-up, again. Now you know, it’s September’s fault.

After the cross country meet, I took a ride into the country. Hopefully, Saturday I’ll be able to find the time to hunt geese or teal, or doves maybe. I figured I should go take a look at what is happening out there. I took my computer with me because I had to come up with this column. After checking a few spots, I parked at one of my favorite spots. I set my laptop and binoculars on the hood of the Suburban and got to work.

I’m not going to lie - I didn’t get much done. Dozens of Wood Ducks traded across the sky flying to roost after a long day of feeding in a deep swamp. Mourning doves landed nearby to pick at some grit and then water before calling it a day. I didn’t have a gun, and even if I had, I bet I would’ve just watched them do their thing instead of harvesting the first game of the season, even though they’d have been a chip-shot.

The air was cool and clear. The western horizon glowed orange as dark, cottony clouds begged for attention. It was a nice spot to hang out for a while. I thought about how neat September is, and then I remembered October. Thankfully, it won’t be long until the best month of the year is upon us. September may be the opening act, but it sure does do a good job of preparing us for a drive down the October road.

Jay Anglin writes a weekly outdoors column for The Herald-Argus. Write to him at jay@anglinoutdoors.com.

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