By This River(top)

In a period of time with more than the usual rainfall, when the streams and rivers have been running high and off-color, the fishing is limited and I look more to the unsung lives and places of the rivertops.

There's a bass pond near this rivertop site, but its photo didn't show.

There’s a bass pond near this rivertop site, but its photo didn’t show.


Their allure is temporary, perhaps, but no less joyful in being common. If you doubt me, take some minutes and look at nature’s small surprises found along the yard’s edge or the roadside. Step aside from the usual track and cast a line to a summit pond or ramble freely through the forest.

So I pause for the uncommon and allow myself some interaction there. Why not? It’s quiet there and sane. The ground is drier but infused with mystery and beauty. Facebook is a world away. The dust has settled from Supreme Court rulings on ObamaCare and same sex marriage. Nature is evolving as it should be (problems due to climate change not included).

Even black bass get the blues sometimes.

Even black bass get the blues sometimes.

I might focus on the natural sphere more readily while I’m standing in a stream or river, but these drier places are no less worthy of my efforts, or as likely to be appreciated by others–

As a poem by Emily Dickenson might suggest:

The Hills erect their purple heads,/ The rivers lean to see–/ Yet Man has not, of all the throng,/ A curiosity.

The rivers lean to see, always going somewhere even when they’re stationary, and I like to think that my own rambling efforts echo that condition whether I’m walking or resting on a bench. Like a songbird, mushroom, beaver, pine tree, or a frog, each of us has a

from poppers like this, but of course I let them go

from poppers like this, but of course I let them go

special link to water. Each of us is penetrated by a river’s influence.

There’s a humbling aspect to these wayside investigations, even when my head is in the way of clear perception, ringing with the nonsense of an ignorant society. Again, from Emily–

I’m nobody! Who are you?/ Are you nobody, too?/ Then there’s a pair of us– don’t tell!/ They’d banish us, you know.// How dreary to be somebody! How public, like a frog/ To tell your name the livelong day/ To an admiring bog!

i'm nobody, and you?

i’m nobody, and you?

a small "flock" of ragged robins

a small “flock” of ragged robins

who's been nibbling on amanita?

who’s been nibbling on amanita?

shelf space for some fly-fishing memories

shelf space for some fly-fishing memories

go on, walt, get outta here

go on, walt, get outta here

go fishin' or something, will ya?

go fishin’ or something, will ya?

i'm serious!

i’m serious!

the falls at Wiscoy Creek because i couldn't resist

the falls at Wiscoy Creek because i couldn’t resist







About rivertoprambles

Welcome to Rivertop Rambles. This is my blog about the headwaters country-far afield or close to home. I've been a fly-fisher, birder, and naturalist for most of my adult life. I've also written poetry and natural history books for thirty years. In Rambles I will mostly reflect on the backcountry of my Allegheny foothills in the northern tier of Pennsylvania and the southern tier of New York State. Sometimes I'll write about the wilderness in distant states, or of the wild places in the human soul. Other times I'll just reflect on the domestic life outdoors. In any case, I hope you enjoy. Let's ramble!
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20 Responses to By This River(top)

  1. plaidcamper says:

    Great post! I love the voice you gave to the beaver! Particularly enjoyed the second lines from Emily Dickenson. We could all stand to be a little more humble, and time outdoors can help with that.
    Enjoy your evening!

    • Thanks Plaid! If we listen closely enough, we can hear those voices. They aren’t always pretty but they’re interesting if we lower ourselves or open up to the point of being humble. Nature can return us to the bigger picture. Emily had a way of seeing through it all and writing it for us to enjoy.

  2. Alan says:

    The toad has the right idea.

  3. Mike says:

    “To an admiring bog” or an admiring bLog 😉

    Great stuff, Walt.

  4. Gramps says:

    Well done, Walt. Enjoyed reading your words and viewing your great pictures of your area. I feel refreshed now and that is good for my soul.

  5. Bob Stanton says:

    Ah, Emily. Kinda apropos she pops up here as I was musing a bit on the Transcendentalists and their ilk, after reading Ralph Waldo’s reminisce of Henry David last night. Been reading some of Thoreau’s journal lately too. Might as well get some brain time in as the fishing opportunities are scarce here as well.

  6. Emily pops up at the oddest times and places for me. As for Emerson, grandpa of the new American thinkers, he comes up for me, as well, whenever I get into the Thoreau reading groove. I don’t think he ever took Henry all that seriously, referring to him as “captain of a huckleberry picking” expedition or whatever. But the good thing is, at their best, they’ll get us into “brain time” whether there’s fishing opportunity or not. The other day, while it was pouring out, I bought another copy of Thoreau’s stuff to fill the void. Bob, it’s always a pleasure to see we can ride on parallel lines!

  7. loydtruss says:

    What a rejuvenating post; those falls are worthy of a frame. Did I see my favorite popper for largemouth? Enjoyed the post!!!

    • Thanks Bill! I thought of you when I employed that popper for sunnies and bass because I remembered how you brought it to my attention last year, commenting on my post that followed a visit to the lake. I think it’s become my favorite, also, when casting for summer bass.

  8. Doug Paugh says:

    Walt, I love the fact that you included Emily Dickenson with this blog. I really look forward to your blogs. They are simple, insightful, and full of nature loving photos and imagery. Sweet. I’d like to hear from you. It has been way too long…

  9. Ah, poet to poet– thanks Doug. I appreciate those words because, well, that’s what RR strives to be! Yeah, after the holiday weekend I’d like to send a bonafide letter down your way. It’s time we did some catching up. Till then, enjoy…

  10. Walt, thank you once again pulling me away from the world of Facebook and putting me smack dab in the middle of your outdoors.

  11. marymaryone says:

    Great post, Walt! There are all sorts of surprises out there if people would just take the time to see them. Love the Dickinson quotes. As I was reading your post, this one came to mind as well;
    “Nature” is what we see—
    The Hill—the Afternoon—
    Squirrel—Eclipse— the Bumble bee—
    Nay—Nature is Heaven

  12. Thanks Mary! I don’t remember reading that poem before, but she nails it, puts the reader right into that picture of Nature.

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