Waiting for Parenthood

being prepared is helpful
nesting is essential
imagine and dream and plan

choosing meaningful names
how does that look on a CV?
what will the fans chant?

and the questions
from family and co-workers
strangers and friends

no, he is not here yet
yes, we are excited
yes, it is amazing

mostly, it is surreal

just like a hug where your hands don’t quite touch
our heads can’t quite reach around you
not yet anyway

so we wait
nod to the “it changes everything’s”
politely accept the “next time I see you’s…”

and patiently sleep off a one last Friday night
forgetting the noise
dreaming of you and only you

waiting to be parents
whatever that means

Wild Places

Wild places live few and far between.

You, no doubt, traveling on iron wheels and wings

can find one tomorrow before the sun touches the trees.

Praise accessibility.

Curse it’s ease.

Search the dark spaces for glowing eyes.

Wash your forehead in icy falls and streams.

Get lost in stars not yet silenced by your home street,

And let the trees grow wild.

Let the waters run cool and clean.

Admire the beast that live in wild places,

For beast we too can be.

————–

If I had done an entry for the Outdoor Blogger Network’s Trout Unlimited summer essay contest for a trip to Tongass National Forest, it would have gone something like that.

Thirsty

Deep in my chest a thirst grows for more days spent fly fishing.
I crave the streams and rivers home to the trout I love.
I long for snowy banks with kinetic waters keeping ice at bay.
Small tumbling brooks with pockets to be picked along the Eastern Mountain Range.
Hot Southern days on shady streams of the South.
Luscious limestone beds home to fat, rusting Driftless trout.
Wind swept, grassy plains where hoppers fall and beatis dance.
Rocky Mountain territory above and below the tree line where great writers hone their craft.
And all the waters I’ve read about feeling jealous of their bounty.
I long to be close to all the trout across this great country.

Good Fortune

Weather can surprise. Sun can shine.
Friends can call. Plans materialize.
Work postponed. Play prioritized.
Sandwiches and sardines. Celery sticks and seltzer.
Picnic on a boat with a motor that won’t turn.
Anchored to a spot often overlooked.
Poorly tied flies and good fortune.
Eager fish to sun burnt hands,
cheeks,
and smiling eyes.

My catch of the day. What? Oysters are alive.
Action shot.

Look at all those spots.

Humidity

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?

Write Your Fly Off, Tenkara.

And that’s what I did. I wrote my fly off and it paid in full. Karel over at Tenkara on the Fly held a writing contest a while back and I got a nice package in the mail last week for my efforts. No doubt about it, even as a “simplistic tenkara angler,” I’m a gear head. What can I say? I like new toys.

Up until now, I’ve been just winding my line around my hand or arm (like winding up a garden hose) when I walk from spot to spot. The spool will be great for longer-term storage and transport.

11ft horse-hair line, line holders, stickers,
and 6 awesome flies.
Tied by none other than Karel, of course.
A hand or arm works for quick walks, for long storage,
the spool (ie. reel 🙂 is very nice. 
Ohhhh, mama. These look delicious.

This is my entry for the contest:

What is it about those streams and creeks,
Running down mountain valleys
Winding their way through high plains
And Midwestern pastures
That keeps me up late tying, planning
Reading and dreaming?
It is the fish, the hunt,
Stalking the quiet.
Always looking,
Searching for more ways to be closer to water,
To fish painted unlike any other.
At times it takes a slow mind to study the behavior
Of fish and river.
The next day it is a mad rush to conquer the terrain
And unearth the dominant invertebrates
That are the keystone to a heavy creel.
Concentrating, I know what ails me,
I yearn to be closer to the ground.
I want cologne of wet dirt and
Sweet rotting leaves,
Fresh like spring water
And changing-weather breezes.
So I strip down.
Simplify.
Rod.
Line.
Fly.
Fewer moving parts mean fewer
Distractions from the surroundings.
With this strange, new rod in hand
I feel giddy.
Every headshake and body thrust
Of the fish sends shock waves down my arm.
Connected to the fight like never before,
I giggle.
Now I am silver and ruby,
Rust and olive,
Forest green spotted blue, red and yellow.
I am my nephew on a dock screaming with laughter
At the sunfish bending his Lightening McQueen rod.
Today, I am closer to the water.
Closer to trout.
Closer to char.
Because of tenkara,
I am closer.
That is all I ever want to be.

You can read all of the awesome entries at Karel’s “Your Tenkara Stories” page.

OBN Photo Prompt: Spring Has Sprung in SNP

My first spring in Shenandoah did not slake a thirst.
It delivered a desire for more.
Just as the spider descended upon its prey,
I sped into the park looking to feed an appetite.
I nibbled on lichens stretching across rocks,

Searched with the bees for season’s first pollen on Hawksbill summit,

Admired the delicate violets,

And twiddled the pig-tailed ferns.
They’re still unraveling, I presume.

In springtime, water falls.
It falls in torrents.
It falls in trickles.

It burrows pools
Which are safe havens for rising trout.
How did you get up here, little fish?
How in God, and Evolution, and Everyone Else’s name did you get up here?

No matter, I may as well ask the same of the trillium.
From ditches in Wisconsin,
To mother’s backyard,
To the mountains of Virginia,
The Trillium lives on,

And I’m hungry for more.
More growth,
More spring, summer, learning,
More sun, rain, laughing,
Just more.

A great day in SNP.  Here’s to a spring and summer full of them.

Shad Roe

Do you know? Are you aware of the roe?
I was not. 
I was just minding my own business,
out for a hearty dinner
with my lovely wife
and kind hearted mother.
Near the Lynnhaven Inlet
there are several eateries
some look nice
and some do not.
Some look fancy
and some do not.
I am a fan of the 
quaint, quirky, cozy and delicious.
My wife and mother were looking for
seafood dishes.
Croakers it is.
Shortly after settling in at our table
 I hear of the roe.
What is this nonsense?
Curious I am
and inquisitive I was,
only to find, as I assumed,
the shad is the fish
related to this food.
Roe? “It’s the eggs.”
Okay, that sounds familiar.
Fried, covered in bacon and onions?
Um, yes, 
Let’s be adventurous.
It was good. 
Well,
a good experience.
And when the waitress asked me,
“Did you enjoy the sac?”
I had to ask.
Can I see what it looked like before it was fried?
She grinned
and walked away
only to return carrying
this plate.

The Sei Whale

It doesn’t happen often, seeing a whale up close to shore.
When it does, it is usually a bad sign.
Something is wrong.

They think the whale came into the bay
Chasing food.
She is two-toned, metallic and grayish blue.
White underneath.
If you swam beneath her, looking up to the sky,
I imagine it would be a barley visible ghost that would cruise,
50km/hr over your back.
They are the fastest cetaceans, you know.
Looking down, from the bow of the ship that hit her,
Her dark skin probably blended into the water below.
A flying shadow.

I wonder if they felt it,
The short shudder
As the ship’s rudder
dug through her skull?
Maybe it didn’t even register.
If it did, what is running through their mind now,
With the news crews recording,
People chatting,
Children asking?
A job is a job.
These things happen.
That whale shouldn’t have been in the Bay,
Anyway.

_________________________

The whale is just down the road from us. It is an odd feeling. Fascinating to see such a large animal up close, beautiful even. It is sad to see an endangered species washed up on the shore, dead.

Here is a piece from the local news..

By Allison T. Williamsatwilliams@dailypress.com / 757-247-4535Compiled






NORFOLK – A 42-foot dead whale washed up near 1st View Street in the Ocean View section of Norfolk around daybreak Sunday morning, according to the Virginia Aquarium.
The aquarium’s Stranding Response Team is reporting that the male sei whale has a deep 1.5-foot gash on the back of its head, which fractured thewhale’sskull, said Susan Barco, the aquarium’s senior scientist. It also has traces of orange and brown paint or rust on its head, an indicator that it was probably hit by a ship or boat.
After efforts to move the whale failed Sunday, the stranding team secured him and will get an excavator to move him on Tuesday, Barco said. Based on its condition, Barco estimated that the 20-ton animal was killed within the past two days.
The stranding team will do a necropsy – an animal autopsy – on Tuesday to further investigate the whale’s health prior to the accident, Barco said. The stranding team will monitor the whale throughout the holiday weekend, Barco said.”
 source is here.

Here are some photos I grabbed today.