Friday, January 29, 2010

Wolf Moon

Right around 11 PM now. Cheeks still stinging. Lest I forget these words, I'll lay down here how I paid tribute to the moon tonight:

First I read the kids Owl Moon for approx the fifth straight night. Good story. Sometimes you see an owl and sometimes you don't. Moon did pour in through the window as boys were tucked in. Snug.

Then skated a bit. Rink at the end of the block. I was the only person around. To date not really a skater, but I'm starting to like it. A nice glide feeling and some pleasing sounds made by metal cutting ice. I use a buckthorn staff instead of a hockey stick to offer a little balance support. Contrail cut a slash by that big moon while I was out there. Teenagers in a little four door Saturn kept pulling into the parking lot and then driving off... I think they wanted some space to roll some doob but I'm not really sure. At one point they slowed down and started hollering at me. Well, a person ought to be able to skate in his own neighborhood. So I kept on. Roll it somewhere else or maybe cool out and worry less is what I was thinking. I did at that time think back to being a person of that age and riding around in similar fashion. Riding around. What the hell else was there to do? Ride around. Try to be cool. So I never did skate when I was a kid but I did ride around so here it was odd deal: now skating and scoffing at the riding around.

Well, up and down and up and down the rink - nice glide and green ice and big moon all felt pretty good. Decent way to think on some things and consider the fact that a guy might act like a chump now and then and he might be well served to change his ways. Also think on other things. Listen to ice being cut and think on a few things. Not a bad way to pass an hour. Interspersed with thoughts of what you might do if a car full of teenagers were to stop and challenge the old guy. Well, I had a buckthorn staff and a pretty big knife in my pocket so to be honest I never did get too worried. Beyond practicing speeches I might have said to ward them off. There were also beers in my boots that I left by the bench and those are gone now. IPA.

Finally, I walked into the woods, and set my skates in the snow. Walked in further and stuck that buckthorn staff into the crust and remembered that just weeks ago it had been in that general vicinity, connected to roots. I looked up at that big moon and proceeded to revere it in whatever way I saw fit at whatever moment happened to be in front of me. I looked at it through black curves and branches for a long time. Feet glued to the ground, and hand on staff. Thinking a bit on what a person ought to maintain and what he might change. How he might fully appreciate things. Then to put a cap on things, what I'd hoped would happen happened: four deer came up a draw and proceeded to poke around for maybe ten minutes. This was a remarkable event. I watched their black shapes sniff and pick along, upward and upward, toward my elevation. Sometimes hidden by brush, or dipping out of sight back into the draw... Going silent for a few seconds, and then making themselves known again by crunching snow. Finally, one got to within maybe 30 feet of me. All this while I'd been standing stone still, making no noise. No wind. Dead quiet and dead cold. Dead white and bright around me though. Quite a feeling. Her body came out from behind a snag of brush, and she stood with head raised, staring at me. I couldn't figure what got her onto me. I could see my breath rising in clouds and I wondered if maybe that was my give-away. The other suspicion was that she knows those woods really well, and recognized me as something other than a tree. No buckthorn am I and she likely picked up on that. For whatever reason then, she stared me down for maybe ten seconds, and then bolted. Her three companions followed - making a bit of a ruckus in that tight snow. Back down the draw. I picked up the staff and gave another look at the moon. It'd been a while and I saw that it was obscured by light cloud cover or maybe some other oddity that I can't name. A veil. Walked home in the still-bright light with a thought on poet Larry Gavin and his Wolf Moon work. Maybe a thought on a person's place in the world, and maybe a thought on how a person can be better. Then opened the service door and appreciated warmth that came to me from home.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

It all comes together...

Carp, economics, wastewater treatment, canals, invasive exotics, court cases, petitions, good music, good joint, local hippies, Driftless Area venue... a convergence.

Boiled in Lead

Have composed this song about silver carp.

Said band may perform said song when they hit Oak Center on April 17th at 8 PM. A person ought to be there. Oak Center is ~25 minutes from my home. If anyone plans to attend, let me know. If I can work it, I'll show up.

Thanks to Canning Chronicles for passing on news of the birth of that song.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mild winter days beget activity.

Kids can't take -2 F with -18 wind chill. Now that we've had a string of 20+ F, boys are really getting out. Maybe we'll poke a hole in some ice or walk a stream soon.

Yesterday: first time on any sort of skis.

This morning: we were greeted by fog, and some form of hoar frost. In short, it was a wonderland. Absolutely beautiful. Mild temps, no wind, and every surface covered in feathers of ice. Pretty fascinating. Wonder of the world was the phrase that came to mind. And that got me thinking - why are the seven wonders of the world all structural accomplishments (I think)? Seems like they ought to include maybe hoar frost, birth of a baby, and trico hatches.

The first jump was an accident - he's kind of a cautious fellow. After he felt the lift and air though, he refused to quit. He's taken to saying that was awesome... and he repeated that time again, dragging the sled to the top of the hill. For me, it was high pleasure to observe and encourage.

And this didn't hurt the day either:

Woofreakinghoo! Long flight home for the 'Boys.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Book Recommendation: Life is a Miracle, by Wendell Berry

Couple excerpts:

This one because I've been thinking on this a lot lately:

And this one because it's the tragic truth, and the storyline for Avatar:

Worth a read.
110 Days

That's time elapsed since a guy last touched a Minnesota trout. Long time of looking ahead every now and then to this image:

There are a few rituals I'd like to consider established with respect to winter fishing: getting out once in January to dust things off and catch a fish, finding midge action later on (March), and fishing certain reaches of river. In years past that first item has been addressed shortly after New Year's Day. This year though, it's been colder than hell up to this point. I can handle various conditions, but I figured I'd wait a while for at least 20s before heading out. Today was true to the forecast put out by Randy et al at KTTC: right around 30 F, and wind S/SW around 10-12 mph. Not bad, especially down in the valley. So on the first 30 F day of 2010, I bolted from a meeting at 12:15 and was parked at a road crossing at 12:32. WFF was already there, geared up and looking eager.

In short: over the course of ~3 hours we caught a couple fish each, and then coasted: half-assed fishing woven into walking and looking. Winter fishing on a sunny day is a bit of a spectacle. Pics can tell it best.

WFF brought snowshoes (thanks) - definite advantage hiking in:

WFF landed a beautiful brown right away...

We saw midges on the water, in the air and in the snow, but we never did see any fish rising. From the hole pictured below I picked up two fish - the only two fish I'd touch over these few hours. In odd fashion - both fish came on the same drift - one ate the lead Pink Squirrel, the other ate an orange scud. Both irrestible flies... and appropriately then a proper outcome: both eaten. Fish out of water for maybe 15 seconds in 30 F air - should be okay and swimming as I type. Still bugs me a little to have my mug in pics.

Following three pics from WFF:

So it wasn't a hard-fishing, many-fish day. We've had those and we'll have more of those. It was the seal-breaker day. A day in the sun for some guys who'd been suffering under the heel of the cold. Back home before the #1 bus would have dropped me, had I stayed at work for the afternoon.

Next up: a little more aggressive approach, maybe some new water and maybe some

[And PS: had to come back to note this: what a f--kin loser - I just got up and leapt at the first stair... and I about ended up in the ER because my leg cramped up and fouled my landing gear. What a geezer. Can't even hike in deep snow anymore. I can see it now - I'll go to bed tonight and wake up with my legs seized like some rusty old carriage bolts. Wow.]

Monday, January 11, 2010

October 2009, Duschee Creek

Doing some backtracking here - haven't emptied the camera's memory card in a while. All the streamside pics were of this gal. Must have been a good outing.
Whiling away the hours...

...on some sweet little hardwood projects. Working on coop. Wrestling with two sons. Watching some football. Whittling a bit. Cracking nuts. Pulling kids in sleds. Cutting teepee poles. Doing pushups. Reading. All that jazz. It's well and good. About to break into 2010 though - I see forecasted highs of near 30 mid-week. Not long now.