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Ronan's report

Sunday July 1st 2012

Are you a morning person or an evening person? The rising or the setting of the sun? Breakfast or Dinner?

I'm definitely a morning person. Whether there's a clear pink-brushed horizon or a damp and drizzly sunless dawn, I'll take it over sunset any day. My favourite meal is breakfast.

Morning has the promise of a new day, the spreading light sweeping away the worries of the night. Even when it's raining and blowing a gale, dawn turns a fresh and expectant face to the universe.

Things look and sound different at dawn. In cities the early hours are probably the least populous of all with almost-empty pavements and roads. There's a feeling of absence that's almost palpable, it's like everyone just got up and left. The roads seem wider, and the sound of an early pigeon flapping beneath a railway bridge echoes surprisingly off bricks and girders.

Lever yourself out of bed very early to go fishing and the house seems smaller than usual and slightly uncomfortable, as if it wasn't expecting to see you up at this time. Like bumping into a work colleague at the weekend, and seeing them in jeans instead of their suit: familiar but slightly odd.

You can hear clocks tick. Every door and floorboard creaks. Does the fridge always make that sound?

Opening the front door the fresh air is scintillating: the first inhalation of never-breathed new-day air.

I sat in the car once, parked on the edge of the beach near Chatham on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It was 4am, dark and misty. I couldn't even see the beach never mind the sea.

Two things kept me in the car. Firstly, I hadn't fished this beach before and I had no intention of wading out there in the foggy dark. I may be daft but I'm not stupid.

Secondly there was the question of the skunk. Just as I had decided to get out of the car and sniff the air, the skunk had ambled out of the mist and started to sniff my car. This was the first time I'd seen a skunk, but I knew from all the cartoons and comedies that I'd watched that my opening the car door and surprising the little chap could well end in disaster. Best to wait, I thought.

I didn't have to wait too long. Something else ambled out of the mist and helpfully scared the skunk away. This something was a rather large human being carrying a fly rod and a plastic line tray. Phew!

I stepped out of the car, said hi, and made the customary enquiry as to his success.

"Nope" he said, "can't see a damned thing and I'll be blowed if I'm going to risk wading down there."

"Ahh..." I said.

"Well, I'm off to try another spot before the tide gets too high. You can follow me if you like" and with that he hopped into his car and made ready to pull away.

I don't know how many of you have seen the 1980 film The Fog. Suffice to say that the key point in the film was that ghostly murderers materialised out of the fog dripping with water, to wreak vengeance on the unsuspecting descendents of doers of misdeeds.

I was trying to recall whether any early Shaws had been involved in any misdoings, and whether they might have been in Cape Cod when they misdid them. At the same time I was conscious of the fact that (a) no one knew where I was, (b) I didn't know where I was, (c) it was very early and no one was around to hear me scream, and (d) for all I knew, even if he wasn't a ghost, the driver whose fog lights I was glued to could be a raving psycho with a nice selection of axes and chainsaws in his trunk.

In the end I decided to keep following the psycho/ghost's fog lights. After all he did have a fly rod with him so he couldn't be all bad. Also, I told myself, nothing bad happens in the morning. Unless you're a drug dealer.

If I was a drug dealer, and I'm not, the one time I'd choose not to be home in bed would be the hours around dawn. In every reality cop show I've ever seen they always raid the drug dealer's house early in the morning. Always. And they're always in, dressed in their underpants and looking surprised, if a little sleepy, when the police beat the door down and put the cuffs on. I mean duh! You'd think these criminal masterminds would have TV's, research this stuff, and make sure they're out walking the dog or something between the hours of 0300 and 0500.

Anyhow as I say, I'm not a drug dealer and so the "nothing bad happens in the morning" rule clearly applied in this case. Ten minutes later we pulled up at the new spot.

The mist was lifting and there was a hint of light in the sky. My new friend and I waded out to a small channel where the tide was flooding in.

We fished in silence and caught a bunch of schoolie stripers before the sun cleared the horizon. My companion wound in his line, hooked his fly in the keeper ring, said his goodbyes and left for work.

I was left smiling at the new sun, wondering where exactly I was, and contemplating the possibility of French toast, bacon, and maple syrup for breakfast.


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