No Place for Solitude

All winter I’ve grasped in breathless anticipation of spring.

In the harsh cold of the Old Man’s grip, I could think of little else but freedom, an escape somewhere on native waters, or far and away in hills and mountains.

But now it is spring, and my plans are undone. Foiled by avarice and by nature herself, the ultimate irony.

Now I am stuck here, restless and an ember of rage growing in my solar plexus. The insanities of the energy markets and governmental policies have sent fuel prices through the roof. Ozarks are out of the question. Mother Nature has blessed us with a smattering of rain this week, but the drought has been long and deep. My little creeks in the northern parts of the state are surely sullen and thin; meanwhile, heavy winds keep me off the lake in my light, agile skiff.

So here I sit, desiccated by the winds, stuck in this bunker of an office when the rains finally came. I have become everything I abhor.

As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,

the movement of his powerful soft strides

is like a ritual dance around a center

in which a . . . → Read More: No Place for Solitude

Winding Down

Well, here it is, late April. It’s been warm for nearly three months, and the north is still frigid. Crazy.

The only thing that’s keeping me from not going crazy about creek season is the lack of rain. My little streams are probably running skinny. Plus, the price of gas is running obese.

With the brutal winds the past few weeks, I haven’t felt like getting in the boat and fighting gusts in the gale-force category. The unfortunate thing about a skiff is that high, pointy bow acts like a sail, and the boat spins like a top. This makes it exceedingly difficult to fly fish, as you can imagine.

My yard is so dry it’s cracking. The upside to that is the grass doesn’t need cutting often. I did cut it last week, and threw so much dust in the air it looked like Rommel heading across Africa.

We’ve been watering our flower gardens regularly to keep them alive. I do not water the lawn. It’s too big, for one thing, and for another, why would I want the grass to grow faster? Silly.

Not much else going on. Really on a post-boat show high most of the . . . → Read More: Winding Down

Boats, Barges and Bull

What a marvelous weekend.

The second Bayou Teche Wooden Boat show was held Saturday and Sunday in association with the Bayou Teche Black Bear and Birding Festival. Though Friday’s weather, as some of our entries were arriving, was brutally windy, Saturday and Sunday couldn’t have been nicer.

My co-organizer, Gary Blum, and I were expecting in the neighborhood of 20 boats. We got 28. Yay!

We had folks bring in their vessels all the way from Ruston, Mississippi and Alabama, as well as closer participants from Lafayette, Denham Springs and more.

Each and every one left saying they were completely impressed with the show, and with Franklin.

Thanks goes to our sponsors, Smoker Friendly, The Forest, Hanagriff Machine Shop, Centerville Market and David H . Stiel Jr. Agency.

We also want to thank Tessie Gordon, Shane Theriot, Lamon Miller, Terry Martin, Joe Stevens, Carlin Lange, Angelo Tamporello, Bart Lange, Joe Duck, Ken Grissom, Sheriff David Naquin, Chief Deputy Mark Hebert,16th Judicial District Attorney Phil Haney, Dr. Bill Karam, Shadowlawn, the Bayou Teche Black Bear and Birding Festival, the City of Franklin, the Cajun Coast Visitor and Convention Bureau, the Franklin Police Department and supporting law enforcement agencies.

So mark . . . → Read More: Boats, Barges and Bull

2011 Bayou Teche Wooden Boat Show

See the Wooden Boats page in the top menu for scenes from our enormously successful show this year!

Home and Dry

This house is where I take my natural rest, but my home is out there, beyond the back door. – Albert ‘Salmo’ McClain (Harry Middleton)

My bones ache; I have had a headache in the left side of my noggin off-and-on for days. My shoulder snaps more than usual when I move it too quickly, and my skin is becoming flaky and chalky, dried out.

My need is dire: I need elevation, I need clean air not bombarded by noise; I need the creek beneath and enveloping my feet, I need the sun against my shoulders.

You just don’t know. How badly I need it.

All the excitement about “Native Waters: A Chitimacha Recollection” on Louisiana Public Broadcasting finally brought a somber truth to the surface. It had been lurking beneath my skin, deep inside my bones, for a long, long time. I didn’t want it to emerge, because there are some truths I don’t want to admit.

But it is irrepressible. I have fallen in love with hills and mountains, creeks and rivers, as antithesis to loss and vanishings.

Two weekends ago, I took the boat out to the lake. While I caught some fish, a remarkable change . . . → Read More: Home and Dry