Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Meet the Neighbors, Part 1

A couple weeks back, Darby and I took the dynamic duo out for an evening stroll, and ran into the annual snapping turtle migration. Migrating from the creek to a nest, then back.

Of course I didn't have a camera, but there were several out again in the morning.

It's always surprising to see how many there are, seemingly every couple hundred feet. We have only a very rare sighting through the rest of the year, despite walking the creek nearly every day.

I'm afraid I'll miss the hatching this year- tiny snappers, miniature mirrors of their mother, trudging towards the water.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Variations on a winter theme.

Stone Barn, Winter Sun, oil on canvas, 24 x 34 inches.

Stone Barn, Winter Moon, oil on canvas, 24 x 34 inches.

Monday, June 20, 2011

British Columbia

At last year's Spey Nation, I was fortunate (OK, crazy, insane, lucky), to win the grand prize in the raffle- a week long trip to the Spey Lodge in British Columbia. The best fishing trip of my life, to some of the most beautiful country I've ever seen.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Morning Walk

An hour, plus or minus, every morning, aiming for the old mantra, A tired dog is a good dog.... well, these two are pretty damn good, tired or not. Time with our dogs can put me in a different place, their focus and intensity, their energy. It brings a state of awareness to my own walk that would be less without them. And they're good company. And funny.

More Ferdinand than ferocious.

I'll introduce a couple neighbors over the next few weeks.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fishing with Cole.

My friend Alex Cerveniak emailed me this spring. He was organizing a weekend fishing trip to the Adirondacks. He and his 10 year old son Cole would be there for an extended weekend, and other friends dropping in as they could.

I had one night open. Thursday. It was a long drive, but I wanted to go. To fish with a friend. To fish in the Adirondacks again. So off I went.

It was a long drive, and anyone who knows me would be stunned to find out I was the first one to arrive. But there I sat at our prearranged campsite when Alex and Cole arrived. Then Matt and Ed pulled in. After a quick hello, Cole was busting at the seams to get their tent set up and get on the water.

Well, he got his dad organized setting up the camp, and he was ready to suit up in his Christmas new waders. Once he was ready, who was sitting there waiting, already suited up in his new Valentine's Day waders? Yep. Me.

So with his dad's permission, off we went. In the half hour he'd been there, Cole had already proven himself a master of finding anything wiggly, crawly, slippery or slimy. As we walked down towards the creek, he was on the hunt, narrating as we went.

And then out of the blue, he said it.

You remind me of my grandpa. I think its your sense of humor. Or beard. Goatee actually, to be exact. (Yes, that's fairly accurate. A 10 year old Henny Youngman).

I thought- Ouch. But then did the math.......... truth. Hard to argue.

So we get to the edge of the river, and he slows down. Stops. I step in and he looks at me, uncertain. I asked him if he'd waded before. Yes, he said, but never in waders.

I assured him that it was just the same as wet wading, but he'd have better traction because of his wading boots. He looked at me.

You're probably too old to want to hold hands, I said. He glared back. Well, I said, you know what fishing buddies do when they are in big water? We lock elbows. Like this- I held my arm out, bent at the elbow. I assured him my friend Bruiser and I had crossed a heavy current like that in New Mexico this spring. He slowly extended his arm, hooked it through mine, then stepped in.

He took three steps, then gasped, Wait!

Is everything OK?

A long pause, then, I didn't expect it too feel like this! Like what I asked? He said he'd thought the waders would stay big around him, keep the water away from him. But the water mashes them onto me. I can feel the water, I just don't get wet! I said, Is that OK?

He was quiet a minute, and then said, That's awesome.

It took me years to figure that out. That the pressure of the water means so much. The wind. The world. Contact. Engagement.


Why I fish. Paddle. Paint.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Summer's finally here....

Gathering Storm, oil on canvas.

but I'm still painting winter.

A mid-sized study for a much larger piece.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

On a Pennsylvania backroad....

as the Bullet crept up a long grade, hauling the trailer, the little bear popped out in front of us. 12 up noon, bright sunny day, about the last thing I would expect. He slowly walked across in front of us, then as we drew close, hopped up on the guard rail and launched into the undergrowth.

Think what you want. I'm taking it as a good omen, as I do with bears.

I've been neglecting all things electronic, while painting like mad. Always having to work at maintaining balance. We'll see.