Sunday, August 19, 2012

On August 19th, 2012, the 61th day of summer, we enjoyed a warm sunny day and a cool evening of temperatures in the fifties. On the day of the Steelhead, begin preparing yourself for the fall that begins after 31 days of summer pass.


In weather, the day in Muskegon had no few signs of rain or wind. I view towards the east tall, white cumulusnimbus clouds and I could see grey clouds east over Grand Rapids. The clouds looked as if each was a warship filling up on moisture and heat for a passage across Michigan. In Grand Rapids, I read reports of a powerful squall. Off the coast of Milwaukee, a captain on a Lake snapped a picture of five or six weatherspouts that went viral across the networks of storm chasers. I know about these exciting, terrifying weather events thanks to Facebook, which gives me a good picture of activity in the Midwest, weather and cultural.
The life of a steelhead, or steelie, has to be better than a Coho or Chinook Salmon. Steelhead have the impulse to return upriver to the gravel where they began their life, as spawn or released fish. Steelhead can live to be twelve years old, and make the spawning run witout dying, spawing twice a year. Although I haven't read when the steelhead arrived in the Great Lakes, the steelhead is primarily a Pacific Ocean fish, and in the Pacific Ocean and its tributaries, the Steelhead is treated as a endangered or threatened species.
The steelhead and the rainbow trout are the same species. The steelhead makes the trip out to the big water, a Great Lake or an ocean, and returns to fresh water. The rainbow trout stays in the freshwater stream of its birth. Swimming in the big water changes the steelhead in many ways. The steelhead grows more silver and more slim than its riparian cousin. The steelhead also grows heavier, as heavy as fifty-five pounds. I have seen the fishermen on the Grand Haven piers taking them when the spring warmth still has left ice and snow on the concrete structure.
Men and women visiting the Old Homestead are beginning to wear hoodies over their tee shirts, which means coat weather can't be too far behind. I've taken to bringing along a jean jacket when leaving home in the early evening. The sky towards the east fills with all the colors of the rainbow trout's side pigmentation, from Eight until sundown before Nine O'Clock. This summer shows all the signs of having exhausted itself, with the apple crop planned to arrive early. The early golds are already being picked and turned to sauce. It will be an early harvest in the orchards, with only a percentage of the potential harvest awaiting pickers. The harvest might make up one-twentieth of the 2011 harvest, thanks to unseasonably warm weather followed by a killing frost earlier in the season.
I think we've seen the end of sultry summer nights. We won't have a lot of cider for drinking mulled around the fire. On US-31 between Scottsville and Manistee, I counted five bonfires on the west side of the road and the ink of night suffused the horizon's mottled pink, yellow and magenta. It must be good to need a fire at the end of the day to absorb the mosquitoes and gather the friends.

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