I Wonder What Will Happen

“She was driven to distraction – said I wonder what will happen when they find out they’re mistaken, and the land is too changed to ever change.”

-Josh Ritter – Wings

The previous administrations efforts to stop the proposed Pebble Mine have been reversed in recent weeks. Under Scott Pruitt’s leadership, the Environmental Protection Agency has determined that it’s mission is, in fact, nothing of the sort. Filmmaker Mark Titus, in 2014, created a feature-length documentary on the topic, The Breach, and he has been generous enough to make the film available without charge for the next five days. You’ll find that film on Vimeo here.

We have had a few wins over the last couple of months. First, the coordinated efforts of sportsmen of all striped led to the withdrawal of HB621. More recently, the Florida legislature made large steps toward fixing the problems in the Everglades. Now, it’s time to pick our pitchforks up once more and demand that those in power do what is right.

Scott Pruitt – 202.564.4700

On Survival

grousewoods

Sort of.

We’ve all seen the shows. One or two seemingly normal people, dropped into the Madagascar jungle or the Sahara Desert, are forced to survive with nothing but their wits, a machete, and an extensive production team that ensures drama is never lacking. There are also the prepper shows, but, as the kids say, I can’t even.

Of course, it’s bullshit. I have been thinking about backcountry preparedness a little more lately, though, and I’m finally getting around to putting together a well-designed kit instead of the small first aid kit and other odds and ends I always carry. I have my list of basic, but I’m curious to hear what y’all have found useful.

Any necessities that might be easy to overlook?

Talk Strange To Me

Croc

Illustration by Zane Porter

The last issue of the magazine featured an article by my friend Matt Smythe (fishingpoet.com) about a not-so-accidental encounter with a Mexican crocodile. I want to hear about your experiences with what we will call non-target species. Birds and bats are the easy answer, of course, but I want to hear about the more exotic types. Dolphins? Manatees? Humans? They are the most dangerous game, of course.

Whatcha got?

You Can Do Something

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Recently, a friend of mine returned from meetings in DC in support of public lands. You can read the write-up on Orvis News. When I asked him what he thought about the time he spent with representatives and how we felt afterward, he was encouraged by the receptiveness of the officials and their willingness to listen. More importantly, though, was the feeling that normal folks like us can have an impact.

If you are passionate about something, and this is something you should be passionate about, take the time to contact your representatives and let them know what you think.

And One Was Enough

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I caught one fish today.

The creek is close, but not too close. The kind of place that doesn’t stand out on a topo map, but it looks fishy as hell when you see it. A few years ago, I put in a dozen days with clients. We had success in the dry days of summer when options were sparse, but it fishes best when the rain rolls in and pushes the water against the overgrown banks. It fishes best on days like today.

There used to be an old blue truck topper well above the waterline in one thick, rhododendroned corner. We found a chunk of it in the water today; how it got there is a mystery to me. Too far and too heavy to carry out, we dragged it back into the trees. It doesn’t belong in the woods, but it belongs less in the water. A bright splash of blasphemous blue, an unwelcome intrusion.

Lately, it has been more about the company than the fish. Today, though, was a perfect combination of friends, fish, and landscape. The rain reclined, making room for the fog, and the woods were loud with the sounds of spring. I blew the crow call here and there, optimistically hoping to expose a gobbler, but the forest answered with the almost violent roar that only comes to you when you set the silence aside. There is no quiet here.

I feel possessive of these woods. I grew up here, I learned to fish here, I hunt grouse here, and, in a few short weeks, I’ll be back in search of turkey. This brooding, brutal landscape is where I find my peace. You can keep your high-rises and high-risers; I’ll take my woods, my friends, and my contentment.

I caught one fish today.

 

 

A Fierce Green Fire

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“A conservationist is one who is humbly aware that with each stroke [of the axe] he is writing his signature on the face of the land.”

-Aldo Leopold

I’ve been working my way through a too-large stack of unread books, and I’ve been reflecting on those works that seem to mean more to me. Just like music, there is always an unintended connection of time and place from which meaning is derived. I read Moby-Dick too early, I think, to perceive it as anything more than an a tale of adventure. I ran headfirst into Heart of Darkness at perhaps exactly the right moment, and I find myself returning to it with surprising regularity.

Then, of course, there are the books I almost can’t believe I’ve missed. Most recently, this was A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold. I’ve come to realize, though, that most good things are only good as a result of when they are discovered, and Leopold is no different. Go buy yourself a copy, and read it with an open mind and an eye toward current events. The book is timeless, but it is also timely, and I think you’ll find a new favorite.