Stepping outside is like walking into a bowl of warm honey. Sweet as the magnolias, thick and heavy. Instantly covered in sweat, you wish you had joined that nudist colony you once read about in a David Sedaris story. But the nudists are just as frustrated as you are, and they have no clothes left to shed. Even the fish sweat on a day like today.

Where normally you could draw a ruler across the skyline, it now grows billowing mountains in a game of red light/green light. “I think those clouds will miss us,” you try to convince yourself. Dark and impending, they are as heavy as the humidity.

First, the wind is a hot breath, blowing casually from the thunderheads, but as the shades of gray exchange for sickly greens the wind’s direction switches and the temperature drops. It is sudden and violent, the way the thunderstrom forces its way through the ctiy and beach.

When it passes, there is a breif sigh of relief as the cool breeze has swept the stagnant, humid air away. Only when you start to survey the tree damage and flooding drains do you notice the thick, hot, sweet smelling air settling back on your skin.

This is the Chesapeake Bay in late June. You didn’t expect the humidty to be gone for good, did you?

Paddleboarding and Reptiles

Sara and I went on a guided, stand up paddleboarding tour today with Chesapean Outdoors. This was our first try at paddleboarding, and I must say, it was some good fun. We really enjoyed ourselves. I could definitely see myself fly fishing off one of those as long as the water was pretty still. We paddled through First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach. That place is a gem. We had jelly fish and rays in the water around us and ospreys above. The Bald Cyprus trees fill the swamps and Spanish Moss hangs from Live Oaks. This is the farthest north that Spanish Moss grows on the East Coast. 

Additionally, we spotted a few fun creatures in the park. There was a good sized Broadhead skink (Eumeces laticeps). I’d say about 9 inches. This is Virginia’s largest species of skink and is quite arboreal.
A little later on we saw a couple of Eastern Fence Lizards (Sceloporus undulatus). This was pretty neat as, according to my copy of “Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia,” They usually avoid dense woods.
Once again, I must thank Jay from The Naturalist’s Angle for providing me with a book that becomes more and more useful as time moves on. 

I Love Bad Axe Design

I came across BadAxe Design during the Fiberglass Manifesto’s giveaway. Jonathan Marquardt is the artist behind these amazing prints and shirts. Additionally, his last name makes me think of Lord Farquaad. That is the icing on the cake. Please let me show you my latest purchase, as well as lead you to his website here. You can search his for sale items at his etsy site here. Currently, he has some great designs based off the Driftless Area, Montana, and some of the favorite warm water salty species.

Wins the award for best packaging.

Permit sticker.

Instagram effects to make the
already awesome shirt look the awesomer-est. 
That is my happy face. 

In my book,
Jonathan Marquardt is
cooler than Lord Farquaad.

Patagonia Teams up with MLW

Okay, I can see how that title might be misleading.  Patagonia really has no affiliation with me, but I did “borrow” their fish logo after reading about their generous donation on this web page which he got from this web page which came from here.

I decided I would make a Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountain version of their trout emblem. I based the image off of the photo below…..

Thanks Family Vacationist!
Now it is time to see the evolution of the Patagonia Blue Ridge Mountain Trout Design.
The Original

I see a little trout; I want it painted black.

Rounding out the Blue Ridges.

Creating depth.

Adding some highlights.

Brighten up that cloudy morning sky.

Here comes the sun.

Rest Easy, Friday Night: Vol 8: The Alabama Shakes

The Alabama Shakes consists of Brittany Howard, guitarist Heath Fogg, bassist Zac Cockrell, and drummer Steve Johnson. 

Their hit song has me hooked since I heard it on NPR. Hearing it in passing, I actually though it was Jack White for a brief moment, but no, Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes rocks in her own unique way. The album is pretty solid, though, I’ve noticed some of the slowed down, acoustic, less produced versions on youtube tend to be more enjoyable.

No fishing planned for me this weekend. My hands are healing from some tight lined wounds. When my skin is split by a big fish, I have a stinging reminder for several days when I take notes, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, or reach to shake someone’s hand. It is a nice reminder. It seems fitting too. I leave a scar on a fish lip. Why shouldn’t get cut in return?

Tight lines lead to split fingers.

The hit single on the Alabama Shakes’ album is “Hold On.” It is a solid rock tune that you might just hear in one move my videos some day. If you are busy and can only listen to one more, go to the last one video.

“Boys and Girls” is a nice slow song. A bittersweet exploration about relationships that seem to run their course. On the bright side, she uses the term “fish.” So that’s good.

“Rise to the Sun” is has a line that really dose it for me. I think it is just her accent. “…where I belong, oh, where I was born…” It curls my lip and makes me feel like groovin’… You can picture me grooving, can’t you?

“I Found You.”   Just so good – “I’ve traveled a long way… but you know I’ve found you.”

I hope you’ve made it this far. I will leave you with a slower song to cap off your night.

“You Ain’t Alone” 
By the Alabama Shakes

Just listened to it again. I guess it isn’t that slow 🙂