When the human world seems absolutely maddening (the insanity triggered by such trifles as fidget spinners with kids, the rush for smartphone upgrades in adults, and the latest threats to the economy, environment and world peace from the fools who guide our destiny), I’m thankful as hell to find a brief transcendent hour on a local trout stream.

That’s right– just an hour’s peek at the more tranquil aspects of nature in early May can set things right again, if one delights in solitude and a short communion with such entities as wild trout, trillium and newly arrived tanager.

Late one afternoon, returning home from work, I stopped to fish a small stream near my house, and the native trout obliged me with a quick inspection of their beauty followed by a fast release. Nearly a dozen waterfalls accent this little stream, and the plunge-pools offered their peeks at the eternal– catches of brook trout only five to 10 inches long, beauties for the eye and solace for the soul.

In this time before the full leaf of the trees, when the song of flowing water is rhythmical and strong (if not downright torrential), the trout are hungry for the latest insect offering. Switching from a dry fly to a Hare’s Ear nymph, the simple upstream cast into plunge-pool often tightened with a fish. Since my last post, I’ve probably sampled another half dozen streams and rivers, but this outing in my own “backyard” seemed special.

What a respite, what a sweet transition from the crazy realm of work and business. One could open up the senses here and breathe it in– a shy peek from a fox pup out behind the house, a brief appearance of a spring morel beside the driveway– the mindless sanity of nature on the job.

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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23 Responses to Brief

  1. Brent says:

    Lovely! I’ve been trying to find time to write, but this is a nice reminder that it doesn’t have to be a full-length post each time around. Glad to see the foxes have returned with a new litter too. Is that Rock Creek by any chance?

    • Yup the foxes are back and they remind us that youth is brief and that blogging posts can also do the job with brevity. Now that the dust is settling from your move, I suspect that writing time will be resurface but, in any case, it’s best to wait until it feels right. As for Rock, yes, it is!

  2. plaidcamper says:

    Great post! A stolen hour (except it’s not theft) can work wonders – and you timed it perfectly. As for those bloody finger spinners…bring back yo-yos, there’s some substance to them.
    Thanks for this brief yet substantial piece. The kit photographs are really something.
    Here’s hoping you find another hour or two after work this week!

    • Thanks Adam. Yeah those legally stolen hours work wonders and are fun, of course. As for fidget spinners– I agree, yeah bring back yo-yos where at least a little skill is involved, or even pet rocks (where imagination might even be involved), or hula-hoops, or whatever. Suddenly every little kid has a few of these, and the spinner helps them focus on… what… fidgeting, and I see that kids are even starting to fight over them! Ah well, it’s fun for them, I hope.
      P.S. The foxes appreciate your comment, too.

  3. Bob Stanton says:

    Love, love, love the peeking fox photo! As I’ve mentioned before, you’ve become something of a minor “artiste” with the camera – I hope that you blow that one and frame it!

    • I like it, too, Bob, and will try to keep it as a memento of “peeping spring.” I needed an editor also (myself) when I found that I referred to the pup as a “cub” in the text but caught it at the last second. Anyway, thanks as always!

  4. Bob Stanton says:

    “…blow that one UP and frame it!” I need an editor – or a proofreader.

  5. Les Kish says:

    Dang it Walt, you beat me to the morel picture. I picked a few this weekend too. That fox is a cute little bugger….

    • Les, I don’t why but it’s taken me a long time to find the common morel, then there they were, right at my driveway. The incredible edible morel. Glad you found some, too. Their spring appearance is a brief one, I guess. B/t/w, I’ve been trying to post comments at your blog a few times recently, but I’m having no luck with it. Don’t know why, but I’ll try to get through!

  6. Looks like it was a wisely used hour. I’m starting to steal a moment here or there to get both some fishing done and words on the page again. It’s been very nice to get back into something that isn’t just work, sleep, repeat. Very nice pictures of the kit, too. I imagine it to have been a very inquisitive little fishing partner.

    • Thanks Douglas. It’s a good thing to have inquisitive little creatures nearby. They help to keep us honest. Glad you’re getting back the fishing mojo, and hope the new season is a fine one.

      • So far, so good, Walt. I might actually miss writing about fishing more than fishing at this point. I’ve been a lot more time with other people’s word lately and not nearly enough time with my own.

  7. loydtruss says:

    l can’t think of a better way to relieve the stress factor most all of us encounter daily. Got a feeling mama fox was close by when you snap the shot of the pup! Great images thanks for sharing

  8. Douglas, Hope your writing season is a good and satisfactory season as well!

  9. JZ says:

    Walt, there is a lot to like about Spring. Everything is awakening and coming out of there deep sleep. Your mind cant be bored, that’s for sure. Adventure abounds for those who are willing to go and find it. Sometimes many things find you when you least expect it. Judging by your pictures, you’ve become a magnet to those joys and sorrows along the way. Yes, sometimes a deep and hidden landscape can be smirched or scarred. Its true, but nature is always healing. Its heals my soul within, that’s for sure! Thanks for sharing your brief jaunt with us and reminding me, that one does not need to travel far..

    • The spring season is my favorite time of year, a great time to be outdoors, although this year it seems to be testing my faith and my abilities. Tomorrow our TU chapter is holding its annual tree planting along our project streams and, given all the rain that’s fallen recently and promising to be in the air tomorrow, it’ll likely be a muddy mess for all. But yeah, there’s always plenty else to explore and to appreciate. Thanks JZ, and I hope you’re enjoying some of the water so far this season.

  10. I am in awe of those beautiful photographs! And I think I felt a breath of fresh air Walt, thanks.

    • Glad you like them, Howard, air ‘n’ all!

      • I was just looking again and remembered that when we first moved into our house, looking at the open space behind our house. One morning I saw a small red fox casually walking on the walking path. Beautiful animals and this one was acting like he didn’t have a care in the world. We also have a pack of coyotes that live across the street.

  11. Mark Miles says:

    Totally agree. If more people took the time to fully immerse themselves in the natural world, we’d all be saner and better off. Love the fox pup too. 👍

    • Thank you, Mark. “Immersion” is the key, I think. Not that everyone needs to become a full-time naturalist, but to give nature more priority in their lives, with recognition and appreciation. After all, they’re a part of it already. If more people only knew…

  12. Howard, I think it’s pretty neat to have small canines living in the neighborhood, as you and I do. Our red foxes evicted the woodchucks from their sand hill burrows behind our house and have been living there for at least 5 years or so. Coyotes live nearby but I don’t hear them much anymore. Deer hunters keep coyote numbers down, but personally, I’d rather have coyotes than so many deer that you can’t grow garden trees and shrubs for fear of having them eaten.

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