Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Every Land," by Ursula K. LeGuin

   The holy land is everywhere. —Black Elk

Watch where the branches of the willows bend
See where the waters of the rivers tend
Graves in the rock, cradles in the sand
Every land is the holy land.

Here was the battle to the bitter end
Here's where the enemy killed the friend
Blood on the rock, tears on the sand
Every land is the holy land.

Willow by the water bending in the wind
Bent till it's broken and it cannot stand
Listen to the word the messengers send
Life from the living rock, death in the sand
Every land is the holy land.

"Every Land" by Ursula K. Le Guin, from Finding My Elegy. © Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

River Report: The Adventure Has Begun

Boy, I miss internet access. But mainly I really miss this blog.

The move is mostly under control by now, though I still need to go through a few things in the shed at the old house. We're getting pretty well settled in at the new house, but the internet provider is taking forever to get us hooked up. Mike, the local guy, would've got 'er done by now, but he sold out to a big provider just before we moved, so I guess we're tangled up in the transition. December 5th, they say. We'll see.

Meanwhile, I'm back at one of the hot spots in town with my work done and some time left to do a post. And, what do you know, it's a fishing post.

Fishing time has been hard to come by, but I also knew the move wouldn't really be complete until I got into the river at the new house. So I finally just went.

Getting out on this new stretch is like pioneering in new country. The only map is the river itself, and it will not be quickly or superficially read. There are many secrets to be uncovered, many layers of meaning to be discovered.

On this baptismal day I made my way across, left my footprints on the island, swung a fly here and there trying to picture where a fish might be in all that sweep of water, and made it back across even after finding a hole that left me tip-toeing in fast, chest-deep water that would have been willing to take me all the way down to the Columbia. The adventure has begun.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Still Moving

Thought I'd give you a quick status update. We're still moving. It doesn't escape me that we say the same thing about something that isn't quite dead. We still don't have internet access at the new house. I'm at the library now.

I went over to the new house last Sunday. This is the view from our backyard and from our table now in the kitchen. The weather was relatively nice that day.

This is a quick shot of the house on Monday morning, moving day. Wet snow all day. I was passing by on my way to pick up Mark for a trip to Wenatchee for a consultation with a surgeon so I missed that day. But I got in on day two, three, four, five...I'll let you know when the counting stops.

I took a little time to walk down to the river yesterday for a first scout. It's close; that's the house back there. Lovely wild area all up and down the river for a long way.

The river looks very promising here: a long deep run along our bank, shallows along the island providing access to it all.

The question was whether there was wadable access on this side. There is. Follow the deer.

I don't know how soon I'll be able to fish, or how soon we'll have internet, but I hope my next report will come directly from my new man cave.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Family Post: Good News, Bad News, Good News, Bad News, and Good News

Life has been busy and hectic with no end in sight. Thought I'd let you know what's going on.

This is my brother Mark. The good news is he came out here to live with us two years ago after a health crisis, got back on his feet again, and moved into his own place.

The bad news is he had another crisis at the beginning of October and almost went over the rainbow. He was on life support for two and a half days.

The good news is that while doctors were telling us to prepare to make end-of-life decisions, he woke up, pulled the breathing tube out, and began to make a recovery. This week he moved into a big house in town where he will have the supervision he needs.

The bad news is that while all this was going on we were tumbling down the rabbit hole of buying a house. After many delays we have about a five day window between when we can get into the new place and when we need to be out of the old place. So we'll be moving somehow over the next weekend. And on Friday the first real cold and snow of the season is supposed to be rolling in.

But the good news is we have many friends and neighbors who are ready and willing to lend their trucks and muscle to get us moved, and it's a very nice house--and it's on the river, a mile or so upstream of the bridge.

As soon as I can get to it I'll let you know how it all goes. Meanwhile, I hope those of you who can will catch a few fish for me.

Friday, November 2, 2012

"In Trackless Woods," by Richard Wilbur

"Autumn Rhythm: Number 30" by Jackson Pollock

In trackless woods, it puzzled me to find
Four great rock maples seemingly aligned,
As if they had been set out in a row
Before some house a century ago,
To edge the property and lend some shade.
I looked to see if ancient wheels had made
Old ruts to which the trees ran parallel,
But there were none, so far as I could tell—
There'd been no roadway. Nor could I find the square
Depression of a cellar anywhere,
And so I tramped on further, to survey
Amazing patterns in a hornbeam spray
Or spirals in a pine cone, under trees
Not subject to our stiff geometries.

"In Trackless Woods" by Richard Wilbur, from Collected Poems, 1943-2004. © Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Trout Lake Report: Thanks For Everything, Lake

You make it to the lake one last time. It's always hard to believe that you won't be back to fish for six more months.

The heavy overcast and rain are lifting, a short-lived break in the weather that brings beautiful skies and the welcome light of the pale October sun.

You fish a muddler, and the fishing is good.

The fishing has been good all season long. Each fish today reminds you of other days and other fish.

As the day and the season wind down, and dusk settles in, you tie on a bead head nymph and trail it behind you as you try to make the moment last. You cast it in to the shoreline and work it back slowly and catch a few more fish, including the last fish of the season. It's a brown this year, a bright symbol of a season past.

You watch the last of the light go out of the sky. You feel some sadness, but stronger than the sadness is a deep gratitude for what you have been given this season.

Thanks for everything, lake.