The Antipodes

The British writer, H.T. Sheringham (1879-1930), has been critically lauded as one of the best angling writers of all time, who wrote primarily of local waters but whose style can appeal to readers of wider interest. An advocate of any type of fishing, from pursuit of the “coarse” species on up to Atlantic salmon, Sheringham isn’t much remembered in our day, but some of the excerpts that I’ve read from his books have had me laughing, shaking my head or nodding in full agreement. Here’s a good one on the notion of antipodes, or “polar opposites,”(from the book Trout Fishing: Memories and Morals) to think about as we contemplate some very dire consequences for the heedless actions of world governments:

H.T.S., courtesy, Fallon’s Angler

“The world, by the signs of the day, is turning, or being turned, upside down, and in a few years we may all be at the Antipodes of our former states, as old Sir Thomas Browne might have said. But it is some comfort to me that the real Antipodes are now very well furnished with trout.

“That being so, the figurative Antipodes will surely not be without them. The future, therefore, need not be wholly strange and alarming.”

We gotta credit the guy for trying…

maple sap’s on tap
old style

Thinking of recent world events, I remain almost at a loss for words. Yeah, I’ve hopped on board the Antipodes Express and got a laugh out of images like the Texas senator riding shotgun in big wide circles with the DC truck convoy in a time of war, and wondered who was complaining about the price of gas? Other times, I’ve looked to the calming scene of hungry birds outside my window, some of them in migratory transit, still adapting to their frozen nesting grounds…

fox sparrow en route to Canada
after the buckwheat cakes & maple syrup

And talk about antipodes… From the darkened world of the pandemic to the brightening days of spring and the opening up of in-person art events comes this: The Writers’ Stage, with featured readers Meghan Dwyer and the American Gothic Brothers, Peter and Walt Franklin. Although less dramatic than a quick reversal of the Earth’s magnetic poles, it’ll be a party, and everyone’s invited. Reading to begin, May 4th, 6:30 p.m., at the Hornell, NY Community Arts Center, Broadway Mall. Meghan will read from her accomplished romance novels, Peter from his rough-and-ready tales, and Walt from his new book, Learning the Terrain, another segment of which will finish up this post:

American Gothic bros….
very much available!

“… I was thinking like a creek, or possibly a scop. A scop is defined as a bard, or poet, of the Anglo-Saxon days in ancient England. I was drawn to the word and to the scop’s role in medieval time because of the pandemic in 2020 and the way its subsequent restrictions had revised my own approach to the environment…

My inner scop was ready to begin from scratch– to go with the flow of new surroundings, to fly-fish on a clear stream close to home, to scope out the poetry of earth the way that minstrels worked in days of yore. Doing so, I might appease the need of trying something different in these difficult times. It was like teetering on the brink of creation all over again…”

Keeney Swamp, waiting…
a look at Spring (courtesy, Scott Cornett)

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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16 Responses to The Antipodes

  1. Brent says:

    Congrats on having the date for the reading, and I’ll also see you tonight (technology willing)! Where did you snap that pic of the little rufus-colored bird?

  2. UB says:

    Thanks to both of you for this past Saturday’s participation. I got ‘lens’ to work Brent (with assistance of my son stepping me through how to open a jpg image file with Chrome). Jury’s still out on whether that is going to be more efficient or not. Thanks RTR for presenting the ‘slate’ in Slate (wait, technically it was Cedar). Great pic of the mayfly – is that a Hex of some sort? Heading back here soon. Take care – UB

    • Sure, and thanks to the savvy sons, the project might be simplified. As for mayfly, I assumed it was E. guttulata, although some of the diagnostic sign might not be showing here. Could someone clarify? Thanks, UB!

      • UB says:

        guttulata (Green Drake) I thought pretty much has a mottled wing – if I’m not mistaken, which I certainly could be. Hopefully someone more wiser can chime in (nudge, nudge, Mr. STANTON!!!). Anyway – will converse soon Mr. RTR – UB

      • The green drake does have mottled wings. Are the markings hidden here, or is it a hex?

  3. Good luck at the reading. I was in Hornell once — for a wedding.

  4. plaidcamper says:

    I like the sound of this Sheringham fellow, might look up his work.
    “The future, therefore, need not be wholly strange and alarming.” Oh, I’d like to think so, and thanks at any rate for reminding me of the possibility, globally speaking…
    I do know my future contains a week in an off grid cabin, late May, and Learning the Terrain tops the pile of intended reading – looking forward to it, cabin and book time both.
    I hope your reading gig goes well, looks like you’ve got some great company!

    • Ah, an off-grid cabin in the merry month of May– sounds great, Adam, an idyllic antipode for all the chaos in the world. And, as always, thanks so much for your support & reassurances.

  5. Oh, that’s right. Spring is finally here. That cute fox! I want to hold it in the palm of my hands and just look at it all day.

  6. loydtruss says:

    A serving of buckwheat cakes & maple syrup would be a welcome treat for breakfast instead of my cornflakes and oatmeal. Looking forward to your first trout outing —–thanks for sharing

  7. Jet Eliot says:

    Congratulations on your upcoming reading, Walt, and best wishes to all three of you in sharing your gifts. I enjoyed the photos and discussion. Great critter photo at the end by Scott Cornett. And really liked this: “My inner scop”

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