These impulses can appear at any time. Take this past weekend, for instance…
Resist: I went to Slate Run for a meeting when the weekend weather was superb. The place was packed with fishers, hikers, bikers, and kayakers. I paused on the stairs that led down to the tackle shop and grumbled quietly at the crowd. I made my exit, feeling anti-social, like a wallet in a microwave.
Progressive thought about hydro-fracking for gas in the Marcellus Shale seems to say that we need to get it but we need to do the work correctly… Sorry folks… In Pennsylvania the fracking is here to stay, and an emphasis must be placed on doing the state and corporate deed correctly and on a limited basis (if that’s possible), but there’s a moratorium on this high-tech drilling in New York and I hope that hydro-fracking for the state gets the royal boot. For good. There’s simply no correct way to rearrange the land and waters for the benefit of out-of-state drillers and their myrmidons. The time and money involved should be redirected at more sustainable energy sources (and the human soul willing to sacrifice on “extras”). Subvert the dominant paradigm. Resist.
Embrace: I went to Slate Run and the mountain streams to enjoy some fishing. I had several CDs for a sound-track while en route. Arcade Fire, Television, and Roxy Music. The latter’s Stranded fit my darkened mood until I could ply the brookie waters. The dissonant guitar on “Amazona,” by P. Manzanera, can still raise the neck hairs after 40 years of hearing it, and “Song For Europe” is as hauntingly romantic as ever (lyrics sung in four languages and with a mind-blowing sax run by Andy Mackay). God, I was feeling like a young 30s dude instead of some Grizzly Adams twice that age.
En route to our meeting place just north of Slate, I stopped the car in front of a fledgeling brown thrasher. The parent bird, fretting on a branch above the road edge, may have been relieved for its off-spring, or not, but the trucker who had to halt behind me braking for a baby bird was probably pissed. Okay, I brake for elementary thrashers and unsuspecting turtles in the road. I often root for the underdog. If it helps you understand, think of me as a tree-hugging socialist crank. Ain’t me, but I don’t mind. Embrace.
Go Wild: Dale and I opened up his vintage 30s cabin in the Susquehannock State Forest of Potter County. A couple of “turned-around” hikers who had strayed from the trail approached us at the cabin for help. With some guidance from a topographic map, we steered them back to the trail and their Cross Fork destination. Hopefully we knew what we were talking about. The two young guys were pleasant chaps.
We entered the Hammersley Wild Area, the state’s greatest roadless area, and fished the excellent run. Being late in the day, we couldn’t outreach the influence of the farthest camp, so had to put up with some rowdies drinking beer and whooping it up while spinning fat tires through the small streams crossing the trail. An idiot wind blew through an otherwise tranquil evening as we caught some trout rising to the mayfly and stonefly hatch. As a postscript for the day, a cloud of white Coffin Flies, the spinner form of the big Green Drake, settled to the riffles with a cargo of eggs.
On the following day I noted that the same impulses ruled within. My wife had been away for several days, so it was easy to return. I headed to a favorite brookie haunt, a tributary to the East Fork Sinnemahoning. The water was 59 degrees, F.. I hooked and released a wild fish on the first cast, and two hours and 20 trout later, I returned to the car.
This small stream, averaging only eight to 10-feet in width, is rife with brook trout abodes. Fine riffles, pools, and undercut banks. Three of the wild fish measured 10 and 11-inches in length. The sky began to cloud and darken. Storms were looming in the distance and approaching. They would have the final word, or two…