She’s a Star

May 10, 2009


“Thou art thy mother’s glass…”
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 3 

You want to be with them, our daughters;
They want to be you, Belle Etoile.
In their faces shines your face–
Their souls, your soul.
What they want
Is what I want. 

Happy Mother’s Day


Snowshoe Success

April 20, 2009

“But, too, the world is shut out. The paradise is yours. In it are trout and deer and grouse and bear and lazy happy days.”
-Stewart Edward White, The Mountains 

Trail’s still deep with snow.  Lake’s still covered with ice.  Outlet’s still full of trout.  

And no footprints in the snow but ours.  Snow’s too deep.  Water’s too cold.  You’d have to be mad.  But those fish…

It was a long winter.  Or it wasn’t.  Doesn’t matter anymore.  The outlet’s still full of trout.


photos by fullcurl, with respect.


Last Cast

April 15, 2009


Must we, supplanted by ourselves in the course,
Changelings, become as they who know at last
A river’s secret, never having cast 
One guess, or known one doubt, about its source? 
-Henry Charles Beeching, Knowledge after Death 

My neighbor moved off the island today.  He spent last night warming in the day’s last sunshine and freezing in the Thorne’s black water.  I hope if I ever have to leave I’ll have fished as much as he did.  

And that I spend my last night freezing in the Thorne.


l’enfant de l’eau

April 8, 2009

How but in custom and in ceremony
Are innocence and beauty born?
-W. B. Yeats, A Prayer for my Daughter

She has ten fingers, ten toes, and two chins.  And she smiles when she’s at rest.  And she’s loud. And her sisters are beaming.  And her mama’s resting.  And her papa’s in love.  

Tess Elizabeth: God’s promise for a good harvest.  

Sleep tight for now my love.  You’ll be on a river soon.  


Giving Thanks Again*

November 27, 2008

Let the sea resound, and everything in it, 
       the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands, 
       Let the mountains sing together for joy.
-King David, Psalm 98:7&8 

Thanks for fish and fishing,
For wool socks and gloves,
And tin cups of coffee,
For hunting and fishing partners
Like W.L. Gore, A.W. Danner, and C.C. Filson.
For rutting bucks and bulls and full curl rams
For mud flats, flood plains, rim rock, and ridge tops,
And alpine meadows and muskeg bogs,
Headwaters, tributaries, tailouts,
sloughs, seams, pockets, and pools,
And high tide and low tide and high tide and low tide…  
Thanks for roe and redds and riffles;
Spring migrations, Fall runs, 
The light in June,
And the night in Winter.
For tannic lakes and glacial lakes
And phosphorescence in the bay,
For cedar, spruce, and hemlock–
Ancient giants still alive– 
For the Aurora and thunder
And the rain that brings the river back to itself.
Thanks for safe passage overland,
For birds in the hand,
Fish for the pan,
And wood for the fire.

Thank you Lord for this life,
And for giving me
The need to fish
Until my arms can’t hold a rod,
To hunt until I cannot see to hunt,
And to watch and walk
Until I reach Your shore.


*This updated post appeared in its original form here two years ago.


What Economic Crisis?

November 16, 2008

“My heart’s in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer…”
-Robert Burns, Farewell to the Highlands

This week my family ate salmon from our home river marinated with the berries we picked while fishing for the salmon. Tonight we’ll have venison that’s never been packaged, frozen, processed, or touched by anybody other than me. Next week we’ll thaw halibut or crab from the bay and eat it in a home warmed by wood fire and an intense love for each other and the land that preserves us.

It’s not just a good way to live. I’m starting to believe it’s the right way.



November 5, 2008


“When the trout is rising to the fly, the salmon to the fall.”
-William Allingham, The Winding Banks of Erne 

The salmon come here following some genetic impulse.  The trout come following the salmon. 

You know why I’m here.


Rainbow Variations IV

November 3, 2008

“In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.”
-Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Water rises from the ground,
Mist to quench the dust;
And falls like manna from the sky–
We fish because we must.


Rainbow Variations III

October 12, 2008

“…pleasure is a wanton trout…”
-Robert Burns,
Song–Gudewife, count the lawin

There were bigger fish in the little creek.  I know because I hooked and lost three of them.  Biggest trout I’ve ever seen.  I’d like to say my problem was all the bears, but really I think the fish just out-played me.

Somehow I’m okay with that.


Rainbow Variations II

October 5, 2008

“I don’t need to know what trout taste like. There’s enough salmon here for me and the bears.”
-J. Andrew Warren, Unnamed Alaskan Trout Streams

Catch and release:
Try to count his spots. Come up with a name for the color in his cheek. Guess how long he is. Then let him go, and spend the rest of your life trying to catch him again.