Tucker is almost quivering, sitting on the edge of excitement and instinct. I have his leash in my hand but we both know it won’t be used once we’re in the woods. We put on a show for my parents and say we will be safe, we will take water, we will go east if we get lost. I know what to say now so they won’t worry. One day I’ll be old enough to go on my own without telling them.
To spend so much time on a single body of water is to encounter every life-form that water supports.
–David James Duncan
I was born in Akron Ohio in 1978, and was bathed and baptized in the Cuyahoga. Continue reading
For all the time being stolen from us these days, I still find myself with plenty of time to wonder.
Once upon a time I obsessed myself with the semantics of my environment; Native vs. wild vs. invasive – words with simple definitions but complex meanings. I came to see the world before me as a poorly contrived concoction. The more I saw, the more I longed for what once had been – Nature left to its own devices for millennia. It seemed impossible to imagine. I could only wonder.
I have absolutely no idea where I am from.
I can take you to the house that I consider home, the woods where I used to wander and the pond from where I pulled my first bluegill. I can trace back my lineage to the early days of Cleveland, further still to my northern European ancestry and some long forgotten former family abode called Foulness Island. The latter is a real place, though I like to think I’ve avoided the literal translation. I can tell you all these things yet I cannot point to the stream or river where humanity first appeared. Continue reading
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
It felt like a waking dream, walking a path out over the water.
Deep in the calendar and closing on the solstice I clambered over a breakwall in a dark corner of our city by the lake.
The sun had gone down and I was nearly blind and stumbling over slick stones. Continue reading
Planning a fishing trip under the impetus of desperation is fool-hardy, or worse.
I prefer the “Nice to get away” trips. No pressure, no expectations, no self-inflicted stress. Eat drink and be merry, and let the fishing happen at its own pace. This is the quintessential recipe for a memorable fishing trip. Start putting obligations on the table, jacking up hope, and banking on hypotheticals & you’ll quickly find yourself wishing the weekend away.
We were pretty fucking desperate, though. Continue reading
I first encountered wild, native Brook Trout in the Appalachian foothills of Western Pennsylvania, not long after I’d begun fly fishing. I was enamored with the notion of these absurdly colorful fish living in quiet, tucked away places and made it a personal mission to find them. Continue reading
The drumbeat started in late July, when the first buckeye leaves browned and dropped: Time is short.
Whole weeks through the summer seemed to stretch in ways that defied introspection and self-pity. But shortening days and the changing landscape inspired panic. Continue reading
Mark bundled beneath the hood of his sleeping bag and pondered the precipitation. A week of perpetual wetness had made damp feel dry and a moment’s respite from the rain seem a change in the seasons. His view was faded canvas, the saturated tent material his refuge during the few hours of darkness during the Alaskan ‘summer’. Continue reading