The Far and Fine, from Home

1. The sun on rusted rails extending through a chain of ponds. Sun that softens the edge of ice; walkin’ blues colored by a smile. Sun reflecting from an eagle; thermals of the western ridge. The sun on a leaning barn still ripe with scented hay. The sun on a redwing’s throat; geese paired quietly in reeds. The sun on Appalachia; Earth in winter traces; the immobile who would fly.

…ain’t blue no more…

2. A good reminder: Anne Frank and seven others sheltered more than two years in a tiny attic, fearful of making even a sound. The world closes in but life takes care. With thanks to service providers, to supporters of small business, and to those inside the trenches. Meanwhile, dig the far and fine from home. Don’t die before you’re dead.

3. Eighty geese battle into the wind. The skydogs (of ’76) clamor for the hare of spring. “Come quick! Look up!” The ice cracks. Cows and sparrows stir. The red buds fatten. Music courses through the blood.

…Rail Housewives of the Erie Line…

4.                                     In dark evergreens

ice drips from stony ledges–

quiet waterfall

…the lines they are a’changin’…


Plastic milk bottles

drink the sap from maple trees

through long purple straws

…Beaver-lodge B&B…

Under April stars

the peepers ring–

baby listens

…Flat-tail Shanty…

5. …I love the deep woods for the way the forest brings the ego to its knees, and for the way it reconstructs a balance in the seeker of solitude, the wanderer who needs to see the wild resurface in his or her life. I love the deep woods for the magic that’s imparted there, and for the hint of danger, too. The act of balancing the wild and civil elements within the self may be only short-lived but, if tumbling water sings of rocky passages or the wind strums its way across the hemlock boughs, the balance there is real…


A home is the place where your life feels right. It’s a framework that extends beyond the body and gives meaning to the heart. It’s a place as small as an apartment or as large as the globe. It’s a place worthy of our songs and praises. It’s organic and ever changing, a place that a thrush will sing of in the hemlock trees, a place that I’ll try to write of in an essay or a poem…

From Wings Over Water (see sidebar or “About” for ordering info). Take care.

…no straight lines in nature…



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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18 Responses to The Far and Fine, from Home

  1. Deedee says:

    I love your writing and your thoughts!! Just read WOW and LOVED it!!!! Thanks!!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I can say that I am not much an avid reader. You can tell by my responses here and my attempts to put content over ‘there’ that I’m not a writer. I’ve never claimed to be one. I’ve enjoyed a few of your books though Walt. Your posts here are thoughtful and since I don’t read so much, all I can give is my opinion that they seem well written and thought provoking.
    You’ve certainly layered in the current times into this post I think – without hitting us over the head as though with a sledge hammer. I think if I hear one more news station say to the effect that they are ‘in this with us’ or ‘here for you’, I may have to write a letter – Ha! ;).
    Hope all is well with you guys.

    • Awesome, UB. I know what you mean about avoiding another swing of the sledgehammer from the media (and that goes, too, for all those “in this with you” quasi-ads from corporate businesses that flood in via email). We’ve got better things to do than to play along. On the other hand (recently sanitized), true care for others is a wonderful thing. We hope you stay well, and thanks, too, for support of all these words!

  3. Thom Hickey says:

    Thanks very much for this stirring meditation.

    Stay well

    Regards Thom

  4. plaidcamper says:

    Lovely lines you’ve shared here, Walt. I’d say you’re on track with what’s going on… leave the railing to other folks!
    I’ve lined up my copy of WoW to be my mid-morning coffee companion, a chapter a day. I’ve had to sit back to keep pages dry as snowmelt splashes onto our little deck here.
    Thanks, and take care!

    • Thanks for the kind words & the chuckle, Adam…re: staying “on track” while leaving “the railing to other folks!” Well, we try… Enjoy the snowmelt & the promise of the green.

  5. tiostib says:

    Much thanks for taking my mind on a flight through the Nature’s Springtime delights.

  6. Brent says:

    I love the image of the tracks leading through the Andover marsh (right?) under a perfectly blue sky, set against the beautiful words of home and hemlock grove. I don’t exaggerate when I say that remembering these quiet places is good for a little peace of mind.

    • I’m glad you have such places to recall, and add to, for a peaceful state of mind. The Andover marshes it is. I wonder if Huntley Meadows are open at this time, probably not, but that place would be good to visit now.

      • Brent says:

        All the local parks and many of the state and national parks are closed. They were too popular among people (ironically) looking for solitude.

  7. Yeah, I guess the upside for the parks & the environment is that they’ll be cleaner for a while. It doesn’t help us but it does them.

  8. Bob Stanton says:

    You have an incredible gift for imagery, my friend. I enjoy every word that you write. And I’m glad to say that I’ve gotten to know the man behind the pen as well, over the last few years.

  9. mary says:

    Thank you for the words of encouragement. As state park and local beaches are closing in an attempt to contain the virus, it certainly is time for that reminder that there have been worse times in our history and that there is beauty to be found in our own backyards.

    • You’re welcome, and thanks for the comment, Mary. It’s important to try and keep things in perspective, especially now. And, all too often our backyards are ignored when, in actuality, they can offer relaxation and new insight.

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