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Posts Tagged ‘Rivers’

This is kind of a part II to my last post, where I was wondering why I do this. And being something I’ve done before on my other blogs, you are excused if you don’t feel like reading it. And if you loathe free-verse, you are excused, also or again, as the case may be.

Inspired by fellow Iowa blogger, Norseman, and a walk along the Volga River this morning.

I Wonder. Then I Don’t.

I sat awhile, on the dewey, grassy banks of the Volga river,
Just sitting. Yet noticing the minnows and white suckers
Kiss the sandy bottom, while smallmouth bass
Lay tight against limestone blocks in deeper currents,
Waiting sustenance to wash over underwater ledges or
Try to dash past, unnoticed. Rock bass rise
To the surface, staring down debris floating on the film,
Hoping for a bug. All of them timelessly, patiently, waiting.

There I sat, letting them be. Wondering.

Can I teach someone to find wonder? How to
Sit in the wind and wonder if the air that brushed their skin
May have brushed the skin of an ancient, being
Photosynthesized millions of years ago but had not yet been used. Or
As they wade a stream, wonder if the water molecules that are
Passing between their toes were created eons ago,
Having never left our atmosphere, and may have also
Touched the skin of an ancient.

I wonder if I can teach just that. Wonder.
How they are walking in beauty.

I don’t have to wonder if I have been shown. I have
Sat in the wind and stood in the currents many times
For the sole purpose of learning this.
I look down stream, and above the elm, ash, maple and
Walnut trees, is a line of branches reaching up. Attached to these are
Flattened leafstalks, bearing shiny leaves that seem to sparkle
Among the greenery, even in the slightest breeze. Cheery, friendly trees
Poplars are, waving to us, and brief in life. An example to share this
Beauty and wonder while we can.

This is what I must do.

– Casey

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Stand up pretty, Bella!

Busy, busy. That’s what having four kids will do for you. But as far as everything else goes, being so busy really is a small price to pay for what kids can mean for you. But all that needs to be left to a better writer, one who knows the right words and can articulate them poetically. For now, let’s just say that this father has been busy! I may have mentioned that already.

A skulking Bella, who should be bouncing with jubilation!

This past weekend my second daughter, the first being old enough to be out on her own and is doing pretty well I’m proud to say, showed her dog, an American cocker spaniel in the chocolate variety (we love chocolate have you noticed?) at the county fair. All those classes and no Grand or Reserve Champion ribbons were earned. But that’s fine. Bella, who is the dog, is turning into a pretty nice lap dog. Something Trapper really never could be at any stage of his warp-speed, hyperactive, marsh-muck reeking existence. And it seems he went from being a puppy to being 100 pounds in three blinks of an eye. The poor lad. And speaking of lads, my oldest boy has just finished up his detassling job and is doing a bit of summer school this week. Something called Gateway Academy that provides hands-on instruction focused on engineering technologies. I have taught him well that he should strive to be more than a “factory wrench” the same as me. Pile all this on top of mowing and gardening and work, finding a few hours to spend on a river or creek, or walking under the trees, can seem a desperate dream. How I wish a river ran through my backyard…

There is a deep, strong current here - despite how it appears.

But Sunday afternoon, I was able to eek out a couple of hours to get away, so I gave a try at meeting some smallmouth bass face-to-face. I picked a stretch of the Volga River not far from me that my family and I have caught several smallmouth out of, and many of those being between 14-16 inches long. Which is pretty good for this little river. As I didn’t have any of my kids with me, I took a more daring route upstream. I scrambled along the outside bend, against a steep hillside, trying to get at holes that couldn’t be reached otherwise because of the strong current. I first tied on a Mepps Black Fury to pull through the slack currents behind large rocks, and to no avail. So I then tied on a jig, a 2-inch Sassy Shad, in silver-grey, to probe the deeper water near mid-stream, and that is when I started to see fish. First a small rock bass followed my offering up to my feet, and a bit later I hooked into a smallmouth, about 8 inches long. I wasn’t able to get a picture of the creature as it came off the hook just as I was going to put my thumb in it’s mouth. Good for him, though.

This is a smallie I caught in this stretch of river in May. Just felt I needed to put a fish pic in here!

I got as far upstream as I was going to go and decided to take a rest. You would think after hundreds or thousands of years that the large limestone rocks that line this riverbank would have found a place to settle, but I’m here to tell you that may of them still are not lodged into a place very solidly. So to give my ankles a break and to write some notes in my journal, I perched on a huge rock right along the bank. As I was admiring the quiet strength of the river’s current in front of me, a favorite quote came to mind, which I don’t have memorized but was able to look up when I got home :

“Sometimes, if you stand on a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away…you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.” – Winnie the Pooh.

At least there was scenery.

Pooh is very right, of course, but the question I wanted answered was, “Where are all the fish?” The floods the past couple of years have probably scoured out new holes that I haven’t found yet, and it was mid-afternoon. Maybe a try should be given as the sun sets behind the hills and the skies turn darker with the evening… And the smallmouth come up from the depths to raid the rock and sand bars for minnows and crayfish…And the fisherman who doesn’t stop trying until the stars provide his light, wondering what kind of critters are swimming through the water and against his legs…This is the guy who I’ll bet gets some decent smallmouth right about now. That should be me this coming Friday night.

…Because I tied on a crawdad crankbait and only had one smack at it on the way back to the car. Yep, late in the evening needs a try.

Until I can write again! –

Your friend –

Casey

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You can click this to enlarge it. Hope the writing is legible enough.

I made a small exploration in the Countryside Round this past Sunday afternoon, which served two purposes really. One, to provide inexpensive yet thoroughly engaging entertainment (that being the feeling you get when you discover new-to-you things), and the second, to provide in the future another chance at some more involved recreation. That future recreation being a day or two spent outdoors during the coming Hunting Moon (September), when squirrels will be legally hunt-able, the crawdads will be large enough to fill a nice portion of my plate after being boiled and dipped in melted butter, and if I time it right, maybe a shot at a duck or two during the early season for them.

Home to many things. Hopefully a home for me for a couple of days this coming Hunting Moon.

I may have found a spot that can do all that, if given some patience. It is at an intersection of three environmental features. An old trail that is no longer maintained dead-ends at a point where a river meets the side of a hill. Where the river and the hill meet is a fairly nice hole that may hold a smallmouth bass or two in the fall. Just upstream the water is smoother and seems slower, where a wood duck may try to take refuge. At the spot marked “1” on the map are two shallow riffles and rock bars whose rocks hold crayfish, and the river can be crossed here fairly easy late in the year, I’m sure. And northeast up the hill, a maple and hackberry tree dominated hillside. But a look up into the canopy revealed oak and walnut branches, which led me to the trees and some mast laying on the forest floor. This area looked good enough even if I had not seen two fox squirrels hopping up the hill away from me! I hope they multiplied well this spring. If anything, the scenery is going to be fantastic!

Here are more photos I took during this short outing. I hope you enjoy them.

Horsemint (Bee Balm)

The riffles.

Under the hillside canopy.

The overgrown trail, with Queen Anne's Lace, Yarrow, Pale Coneflower, and Bee Balm.

Pale Coneflower

Hummingbird. I almost got a photo of it as it was sipping nectar, but a gnat flew under my glasses and then under an eyelid! Damn!

Strange name for this butterfly. This species is called Question Mark.

So until the next time I have an explore in the Countryside Round – Slainte! – Tight lines! – Bring a towel and extra socks! – And I hope your scouting pays off this fall.

Peace – Casey

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