Saturday, June 30, 2012


Our fully exposed southern garden gets it bad, but even the thermometer on our cool northside shaded deck reads triple digits so we're pretty well cooked any way you look at it. So we learn to deal with it. We learn to cope.

And believe me, there's a bunch of coping goin' on today.

Stay cool, my friends.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Photo Bin - June 2012

Along the last paved road before home,
an impromptu vegetable and flower stand.

Unattended. Honor system.
No prices. Leave what you can, what your conscience tells you,
knowing that the proceeds go to a local charity.

Mary will love these
as much for where they came from
as for how dang pretty they are.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

One Shirt, One Pair of Pants

It occurs to me that some of my closest friends, my fishing buddies, might believe that I own but a single shirt and pair of pants. It’s not an unreasonable assumption. They may never have seen me wearing anything else.

When it’s time to go fishing, first out of the closet is my REI Sahara Tech long-sleeve shirt and a pair of quick-drying Columbia PFG Aruba convertible pants. Sure, I own other “fishing apparel,” but this combination always seems to be on my back, and my backside, when there’s fish to be caught.

After a few years of bushwhacking and stream-stumbling, hundreds of outings, they are definitely showing their age - loose at a few seams, frayed at some edges - but then, so am I. I do wear other things, but usually only after being out for a couple of days when my favorites have reached the point where they can stand in a corner on their own.

At home, when I come off the water they hit the laundry immediately. I say that it’s so they’re ready for fishing the next day. Mary says it’s so they don’t stink up the place. Both arguments have considerable merit.

The irony is that Mary swears that 80% of our laundry load is my clothes. That's not bad for a guy with just a single shirt and pair of pants.

A dozen fly rods, yes, but, apparently, just one set of fishing clothes.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


A flash of deep-running green
The faintest of ripples
My popper
Quietly evaporated

More trout sip than bass strike

Had I been off woolgathering
Drifting somewhere else with my thoughts
As I often do while fishing these waters
I’d have missed it

It wouldn’t have been the first time
Nor would it have been the last
But I didn't

A hard strip
A lift of the rod tip
Subtle no longer

A cartwheel
A tailwalk
A slashing run downstream
A headshake

One last, desperate leap for freedom

Hard, brave work
Rewarded by a slip of the hook
A long-line release
Untouched return to safe, comfortable depths

My popper
Quietly revaporated

Good for you, Mr. Bass
Good for you

Friday, June 8, 2012

My Summer Reading

I’ve been bad. Very bad. I’ve not been reading.

There’s been lots of reasons for this, but none of them are good enough to excuse the deplorable lapse. For, if I truly aspire to someday become a passable writer, I simply must read more. Those that think otherwise are fooling themselves.

It doesn’t have to be Shakespeare, or Tolstoy, or Faulkner. It just needs to be something that speaks to you, something that draws you into someone else’s point of view for a while, something that teaches you, or not, but subliminally imprints language and it’s proper, or thoughtfully improper, use upon your brain. Learn, if you will, by osmosis.

But mostly, something that makes you think.

So, with summer’s arrival, it’s time to start whittling away at the small stack of books that have accumulated in my “read next” pile. My summer book stack, from top to bottom, looks like this:

Brook Trout and the Writing Life – Craig Nova
Craig’s from just up the street, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the title alone hints at my attraction to the book. Fly fishing, writing, living - and how he’s dealt, over the years, with the uneasy reconciliation of the three. Right up my alley.

Twelve by Twelve – William Powers
An examination of the logistics and the lifestyle of kicking the traditional American dream square in the ass and living in a twelve-foot-by-twelve foot cabin in rural North Carolina. I’ve visited this place, for it, and others like it, exists here in my home county. A fascinating book filled with the quirky characters that I know as neighbors and the headspace that I am more and more attracted to each day.

Distrust That Particular Flavor – William Gibson
Gibson may be the only “sure thing” purchase I’ll make when it comes to authors. Neuromancer rocked my world and it blows my mind that it was written nearly thirty years ago. Distrust is a series of non-fiction articles, “reportage from the technological and cultural frontiers of the evolving world.” I can’t wait to find out what’s ahead of us. Gibson always seems to know.

No Shortage of Good Days – Jack Gierach
Okay, a no-brainer, except that I’ve had it for several weeks and haven’t worn the cover off of it already. Sex, Death and Fly Fishing was my introduction to the trout bum’s trout bum and I have yet to get my fill. And speaking of bums...

Shin Deep – Chris Hunt
I first read this book a year ago, just before spending a few days fishing with Chris in Montana, to know what I was getting into. I have since spent another week in his company, chasing redfish around the Texas gulf coast, and have kept up with him through these intertubes. I'm betting that a second reading will reveal nuances that a stranger would have missed, then, and that a good friend will chuckle at now.

Accidental Birds of the Carolinas – Marjorie Hudson
Another close-to-home selection. Marjorie teaches writing at the community college just eight miles up the road and relates her immersion in North Carolina living – a thirty-year process. More of my neighbors will undoubtedly pop up in the pages, in one form or another. I do know that a satire of the local “planned community” is included and I wickedly await the reading.

A Home on the Field – Paul Cuadros
A final local selection, this book features my other outdoor passion, soccer, in the true story of a Hispanic community struggling to find footing in our Chatham County seat. FĂștbol was their respite, their escape, their expression, and ultimately their bridge to acceptance and respect in this rural southern community.

Points Unknown – Edited by David Roberts
A gift from my good friend and neighbor, Sam, this is a compilation of “The greatest Adventure Writing of the Twentieth Century." From the summit of Everest to the depths of the oceans, this compilation, put together by the editors of Outside, should be fascinating and inspiring.

Colonel Roosevelt – Edmund Morris
The third in the award-winning trilogy examining the life of one of our country’s most fascinating characters, Theodore Roosevelt. The original work, the Pulitzer Prize winning Theodore Rex was fascinating, depicting Teddy’s early years and his genesis as an outdoorsman, politician, and champion of the conservation of our natural heritage. It hooked me, carried me through The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, and I’ve anxiously awaited the finale.

So that’s what I’ll be reading this summer.

How about you?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Southern Comfort

It’s hot here on the carp flats this time of year and the experienced southern angler knows how to be prepared. A quick stop at Bo’s on the way to the launch to carry him though the morning and a dip into the cooler to revive him when the mid-day sun cooks the top of his head. Think hummingbird nectar followed by a cool, refreshing rain.

Sustenance. Survival. Southern Comfort.

Please. Partake responsibly. Put safety above all else. Have just one and live to fish another day.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Photo Bin - May 2012

Sometimes you trip the shutter not knowing what's going to happen - how that small blast of light is going to impress itself on your film/sensor/whatever. Further, you don't know what you'll do with the image when you see it. An odd crop, perhaps? A creative twist? This is such a shot. The fantastic colors of the redbreast sunfish and the odd luminescence on the dark waters begged for something unusual, and fun.

That's what the Photo Bin is all about.

The second image is an update of the mid-April post It's a Boy, And a Girl, And.... Fledge day in the back birdhouse. Two youngsters had already departed and, within a couple of hours of this image, these three were in the air as well. As I type this, the box is once again holding sky blue eggs, as is the one in the woods below the house and the one by the upper pond. If all hatch successfully, we'll have helped to introduce twenty-three new bluebirds to the world this season. And the year is still young.

We finish this diverse bin with a portrait of me and my best girl at Prom. My step-son and his lovely wife hold an annual tongue-in-cheek black tie affair for friends in the Chicago area. This year the proceeds went to the new Freeman York Memorial Scholarship Fund at Georgia Tech, in loving memory. We simply had to make the drive.

Smiles, and tears, all evening.