I was pleasantly surprised by a blogging pal at OldPlaidCamper, who included something like a book review of Earthstars, Chanterelles, Destroying Angels inside a wonderful post called “Another Glance Back at Summer,” (9/16/16). I’ve been following OldPlaidCamper for at least a year now, and highly recommend the blog for its excellent writing, photography, and nature reflections based in western Canada. Check out those good words written about my poetry collection and, while you’re at it, enjoy a multitude of other posts written by one of our finest outdoor bloggers!
If that ego boost wasn’t enough, I was also pleased to find one of my recent photos included in a fascinating musical and photographic tour of the blogosphere by Rommel in his 400th post at The Sophomore Slump. Click it and enjoy the ride!
Leighanne and I recently spent a day at Slate Run, attending a meeting of the Slate Run Sportsmen, a group that’s long worked to preserve the pristine environment of the Pine Creek Valley and especially the trout habitat of Slate Run, itself. I attend the meetings regularly, not only because I function as a trustee, but also because the gatherings are enjoyable, informative and, yes, because the lunches are pretty doggone tasty! Also, it’s often a place from which I can launch out for another fly-fishing jaunt on either Slate or Cedar Run.
At this particular meeting, we found the long-awaited map of Slate Run (Slate is one of national Trout Unlimited’s “Top 100 Trout Streams”) ready for sale to one and all. Ted Piotrowski and I received a complimentary copy of the $20 map (a large version exists for $55) for our role in the production (Ted worked GPS from the road while I lined up natural features of the run, i.e., its major pools, ledges and access points). My contribution was based primarily on “A Slate Run Odyssey,” my fishing tour, as well as from info gathered by old-time regulars on the stream. It was good to see our work come to fruition. The process had been difficult at times– getting the survey done, gathering and selecting information, sorting it, then sending the map, with photos and all, to press. The teamwork by everyone involved was super.
As one of the initial designers, I had an issue to be settled. Slate Run, beautiful and wild, is not an easy stream to access over its 8-mile length. It flows through a rugged gorge on state forest land, and the gravelly Slate Run Road rarely makes a close approach. There are, however, pull-offs at various locations that have unmarked pathways to the run. These minor pathways are precipitous and known to very few people. Would mapping Slate Run on a major scale make the fly-fishing-only destination too damned easy for the masses, thereby ruining the sense of wildness and solitude for those who learned about the stream the hard way, through sweat and personal exploration?
It’s a question I grappled with before finally deciding to get involved and doing the map. We decided that producing a detailed map for fly-fishers and other nature lovers would benefit the stream and its environs in the long run. There are many threats to Class A trout streams in the region, even to those like Slate Run that have state forest and other environmental regulations applied to them. I think of the hydro-fracking boom, for example, taking place in the surrounding areas, and of pressures from other fishing groups trying to open up the stream for stocking and the use of all tackle. Special habitats like Slate Run are saved by public support. In this case, it’s public support for a pristine environment with hiking, hunting, and fly-fishing-only. For larger streams with plenty of wild fish, support isn’t going to come by trying to keep them a secret.
After the old fishermen die and enter the Elysian Fields for their eternal casting at the streams of paradise, there needs to be a set of ways for keeping the Slate Run places close to the heart. Hopefully they’ll be saved by others willing to stand up and giving them a voice, people who have learned about them and appreciate their special qualities, thanks to personal experience. Hence, the reason for producing the Slate Run map.
So, the ego got a boost from the kindness of people like my blogging friends and the Slate Run Sportsmen. It was time, then, to go humble, if you will. I started thinking about my own demise.
Say what? No, I’m not ready to abandon the rivertops yet, but hey– everyone dies, even those who think they’re too precious for elimination, so it’s probably a good thing to reflect about The End occasionally, especially when the autumn harvest starts to fill your bins.
Since I disdain the notion of standard funeral practices, and find that even crematory practices aren’t much better than the burial of a toxin-drunk corpse, it was interesting to learn of the Mushroom Death Suit.
It’s a body suit completely safe, organic, and made from natural cotton. Laced with “infinity mushroom spores,” a corpse in the mushroom suit decomposes quickly without leaving toxins in the ground or the air.
Sure, it sounds a little uncomfortable at first. You like to eat and don’t exactly relish the idea of being eaten by mushrooms, but it’s something that I, for one, would like to consider for that time when the mortal coil is sprung. Many of us need to come to terms with our own death, and here’s a possible alternative… At long last, your life, shrouded in mushrooms, can leave a clean, pollutant-free compost.
Long researched and finally on the market, the “Infinity Burial Suit” isn’t only cool looking and sensible, it’s also economical, retailing at about $1,500– or about one-sixth the cost of an average cremation, and one-eighth the average of traditional burials.
I hate to leave on a morbid note, so I’m glad this talk about mushrooms makes me think again about the title of my latest book. As the OldPlaidCamper says, the final poem there is “a wonderful tale” about an old guy, his septic-cleaning truck, and the memory of an outhouse that should put a smile on your face. Now, I wonder if planting mushroom spores might have eased my septic problems back in the day….