For Want of a River

Life is an unruly mess and ideals are hard to hold on to, but fishing is an isolated enough slice of it that there’s the hope we can do this one small thing perfectly. – John Gierach

My waist pack was heavy. Heavier than usual, because I packed more water than earlier in the year. It was 8:30 a.m., and already in the high 80s. I’d need the hydration.

I picked up my rod off the tailgate of the truck, gave it a quick, testing wiggle. It felt light and responsive, and eager. So was I.

Some three-and-a-half hours and 180 miles behind 8:30 a.m. Saturday, thoughts of oil-saturated marshes, dead and dying wildlife and the rest of the conundrums of my well-traveled paths were left behind. Today, today it is just good friends, the water, and the wildness.

Grandmother’s medicine. Salve for the battered soul.

The stream was low, but flowing well. It was also murky along some of its meander. I walked across the short, vertical rock face of the streambed, watching my footing, and stepped off into the flow. Instantly, the cool caress of animate water made my shoulders relax; I could feel my jaw unclench, . . . → Read More: For Want of a River

Small Catastrophes 6/11

(Column from Friday, June 11)

I was amused when, while attending and covering the Bayou Teche Black Bear and Birding Festival “thank you” event last Thursday, my friend Diane Wiltz thanked me for helping promote the festival this year.

Diane said, “When Roger’s not writing about fishing, he was doing a great job helping us support and promote the festival.”

Not only was it a sweet honor for me to be so recognized…but after all the months, and years even, of being ribbed and kidded and whined at and threatened…I see that finally my faithful readers have at least come to terms with the fishing columns!

All right, fine, I know Diane doesn’t speak for everyone…but dang if I won’t pretend she does!

See, I know it grates on some people’s nerves. Makes others very happy. But the simple fact of the matter is, if I have any slight grain of talent whatsoever in all this dribble, it’s that I write about subjects I’m passionate about. Such passions are wildly unpredictable and often all-consuming.

Oh, it’s funny, really. On any given day, I’ll get:

“If you don’t shut up about fly fishing I’m never reading you again.”

“I love . . . → Read More: Small Catastrophes 6/11