Carry Me Away

The fly rod in my hand shimmered blackly; graphite iridescence, green guide wraps, Portuguese cork grip. A gold reel seemed almost gawdy against such understated charm.

Around me, the creek was low, perhaps a quarter its flow last time I was there. But the water was cool and moved along at a good clip. My fly of choice, a small yellow popper with white legs, still rested in the chrome hook keeper near the rod’s grip. I stood there on the edge of the creek and soaked in the sound of the water falling over a little ledge, the scents of the trees, the sun on the back of my neck, just cresting the tree tops.

Jim, my fishing compadre for the day, cast at the spot where the creek tumbled over the rock ledge into a deep, foaming pool. I ambled over to a delicious-looking undercut in the stream’s bank, shaded also by green shrubbery.

Still the fly didn’t come out of the keeper, I didn’t strip line off . . . → Read More: Carry Me Away


A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. (Greek proverb)

Autumn, and nuances of October are in the air, flitting along with cool breezes and dry mornings. There are leaves dropping across my yard already, browning, flipping end-over-end across the lawn in joyful pirouettes.

Will it be an early winter? No one can know, but the dog stands in the yard, nostrils flaring and to paraphrase Leon Hale he “senses a change far earlier than we do. He’ll raise his head from a nap as if he’s been called, when no one has called him. He’ll go out in the side yard and point himself north and raise his nose and half-close his eyes and stand there a full minute, reading the air, finding out things, things that are far away and won’t happen for days.”

I look over the fingernail of land outside the house at the trees I’ve planted over the last four years. Sycamore leaves are already bounding roughly over the gentle gradient toward the bayou, rough-housing with each other as they go; the little oaks are still full, as are the persimmons and the ash. . . . → Read More: Autumn

You Can’t Get It Out Of A Cracker Jack Box

Drew Hayden Taylor wrote a memoir about his life as a mixed-blood indigenous person that probably bore the most fitting title ever to describe the conundrum of us ‘Breeds.

The book is Funny, You Don’t Look Like One: Adventures of a Blue-eyed Ojibway. I read it many, many years ago and gave myself a sore neck from nodding emphatically all the way through.

These stereotypes are as broad and ingenious as those applied to any ethnic group. In fact, the phrase “ethnic group” itself is a stereotype. It presupposes that there is a group which is considered the “standard” and then there are the others. Sometimes we don’t even realize how we speak, do we?

In the 1960s, the hippie movement was largely based on the stereotypical belief systems attributed—mostly falsely—to Native Americans. As Thomas observed in the movie Smoke Signals, during those years it was hard for an indigenous person to be heard because all the hippies were trying to be Indians.

The environmental movement has also taken on the stereotype of the Indian, quoting Black Elk and Chief Joseph and Chief Seatl ad nauseum.

I’ll bet there’s a buncha old hippies and young environmentalists seething and gritting . . . → Read More: You Can’t Get It Out Of A Cracker Jack Box

My Muse

I guess my muse has sorta gone AWOL.

These columns seem to be getting fewer and farther in between. It’s not through lack of trying. Many times do I open a black document and stare at it for a long, long time before giving up and thinking, “Tomorrow I’ll get it.”

It’s not so hard to figure, really. In 32  years come October, if I wrote two of these a week that would be more than 3,300. I didn’t write two a week all the time, so give it 2300. That’s an awful lot of ideas and words, friends and neighbors.

Still, I can’t quite explain why my muse hasn’t been musing much of late. There’s a lot of stuff I want to say, but I’ve grown weary of the political stuff, having come to the inevitable conclusion that having to rally for the lesser of two evils is a losing proposition at best. As I quoted Treebeard from Lord of the Rings once, I am not altogether on anyone’s side, because no one is altogether on my side.

Muses are fickle things. They come and go as they please and often leave the door open so all the . . . → Read More: My Muse

So Long, Isaac

Well, we lived through another one.

For us, at least, the storm was minor, though I do understand there were some more serious isolated damage to property.

We were pretty lucky on the Rez. Power went off about six hours Wednesday and came back on without a burp.

The rest was cleanup. Ugh.

We all hate cleanup. I decided a long time ago that I would pick up and pile all the bigger stuff, but all those stupid little twigs and tips of water oak shoots would go under the lawnmower. It’s a lot easier to sharpen blades when it’s all done than bend over 500 times.

I got most of it done over the weekend, just a bit more going toward the bayouside to finish up this weekend. I’m praying for rain so I can get out of it.

All in all, we were fortunate compared to many, many others.

I kept asking people — virtually anybody I ran into — in the days before the storm and during, as well as after, “Why do we live here, again?” I couldn’t for the life of me come up with a good reason, but chock that up to having . . . → Read More: So Long, Isaac