Wish Me Rivers, Again

God loves a man that smells of trout water and mountain meadows, cheap whiskey and branch water. Which way’s heaven? Follow the trail and keep close to the stream. – Arby Mulligan, Hymn No. 1 (the only hymn) of the Owl Creek Gap Church of Universal Harmony, in On The Spine of Time by Harry Middleton.

This year was among the worst I have lived as a fly fisherman.

I have struggled with my addiction now for seven years. There is no support group for me, except sand and stone and clear, wild water running in the jagged ravines between low, smooth-browed hills. Thankfully I need no other.

Now, in the frigid grip of winter, I look back on the waning year. Very, very little of my angling this year was done in the swamps and bayous surrounding us. Every fish I caught in 2011 came as punctuation to a sentence like Arby Mulligan’s, its nouns rooted in ancient earth and sandstone fractures, its verbs set into motion by sweeping winds through pines . . . → Read More: Wish Me Rivers, Again