Love in the Time of Storms

One evening,

The door opened to all of life,

Everyone came to visit!

Except you, choosing instead

To light the sky

Against the gesturing silhouette of a thunderstorm.

The deft lines of rain summoning afternoon

To the hills behind my old home,

Seeming so still from here,

Like looking back in time,

When we held hands,

And the world felt quiet and steady

And open,

And futures loomed distant

Shadowed in the fleeting gift of now.

Experiments in the Wind

This space, outside, like past years

Came back to visit, in cheers.

Bringing choirs,


From trees above,

To the tiniest notes of sands,

All offered from December’s firm hands.


You might sing new a new rhythm

To the tells of water

And full moon lullabies.

An old song,

To cast off your wishes,

Before I move along.


Show me paths and leeside edens,

Your voice calling, should I turn

To hear.

Bits and pieces on this wheel


In time’s great mirror.


To be free from this turn,

Take me to the place!

Just outside

the now and then,

Move me

to a different pace.


Those melodies pulse softly now,

Of stories you read,

From behind furrowed brow.


In electricity of the night you bring,

Nestled softly

In the damp cradle of spring.


Woo us from fields afar,

Peering through sky’s great fabric,

Of tatters and thread,

Let me in,

Return me to bed.

Days of Rain…… (or: Dought part 2)

In other years,

Those times, now hastily sealed in envelopes,

Memories of those days of rain:

An incessant November after a scorched Halloween,

Or cold February rain, broken by snow,

Gusting loud and clear that afternoon,

In another damp celebration,

To the beat of scowling wind and staccato raindrops.


Winter’s pulse traced across every window.


Then, rivers of emerald velvet,

Concealing cobbled dreams,

The electricity of fish,

And the hard lines of trees

Against soft winter skies.


We dreamed of things outside us.


Now, we wake in the crisp, tingling night

Like the sound of a pin snapping,

Where it lingers on the cold edge of dawn

And stretches under the long fetch of winter sun.


Summer’s long pause distilled and bare.


These days trudge on,

Held fast under shadowy chill

Where summer escaped,

As we wonder if it ever left.


We will remember this time.

One last time?

From across the room, the sound comes though the door, along the face of the window and down from the ceiling.  Rain sings along the street out front.  The calla lilies out front fill with the water beading up along their silky white bloom.  Across the hills, tendrils of fog waft upward from the forest in a great cycle of the water returning skyward.  Today, this place is painted all green and grey – spring on hold while winter reaches out once more to soothe us maybe one last time before it all goes away into summer.

Wind (a fishing report – kind of)

The oak woodlands are bright green with the beginnings of wildflower carpets across the sunlit hillsides.  Along the river, the purple lupine and golden poppies celebrate the new sun.  This could be the quintessential spring scene except for one thing: the wind.  I saw the warnings – gusts up to 40 mph – on the heels of the storm passing to the east.  Wind that’s in a hurry to race in a big counter-clockwise arc to fuel a storm over the Rockies.   All the little places where I might find a little respite are even more trouble as the wind eddies and swirls unpredictably in the lee of the bankside trees.

On the water, the mayflies and caddis come off in good numbers.  But the winged adults skitter along the water too quickly to offer easy pickin’s for the trout below.  Swallows maneuver across the water, handling the wind with ease, grabbing up the bugs.  Not a single trout can be seen on the surface.  There’s no need, they can simply grab the bugs ascending in the water column and forgo the unpredictable surface fare.  Normally, this would be an afternoon of steady surface-feeding fish.  But not today.  A few productive reaches are visited – all with the same wind-whipped setting.  Instead, I take the time to explore two potential new sites.  Good water to be had.  But it will have to wait until another time.  I’ll be here all week – and hopefully have a chance at a classic spring day drifting dry flies for large, surface feeding trout.

Spring bike rides

The best way to see Spring here in town is on a bike. The last few days of March still might bite with a hint of winter, but the sun shines higher now and a familiar time is once again at hand. These early days are as much about the hope of Spring as they are about the actual time of year. From the bike, riding along with a brisk breeze, you can see how the grass has sprung up overnight. Here the smell of green and growth ripens in the afternoon warmth and rides along the afternoon wind. There’s something about the light and air and smell. Something has changed.

I don’t know if Spring is actually a season here or just a subtle transition to summer. Everything is now linked to summer. That green grass getting taller and slowly drying into July and August seems more pertinent than a breezy Thursday afternoon in late March. So this is more about feeling and remembering more than seeing. Bike rides tend to do that.

Turning on to K street I remember those early days here, wondering what it would be like. Now I know. Now I know what to look forward to. Now I know what to look for. Someday down the line, some morning, the hermit thrush will be singing outside the window, the fields will be full of daisy, and the season will have played over and over again, day-after-day. Summer will be real. Late March on the coast is a time a change and everything seems to look forward now.

Elbow weather

Ok, we need the rain and the snow, and my elbow needs a break.  But now I’m certain that if I could just get back out on the river I could correct my cast with more bottom hand and my elbow problem would disappear.  The weather forecast suggests differently (from this evening’s forecast discussion):


Bring it on. I guess my elbow will just have to wait.

Need I say more?
Need I say more?


Snow has been falling to near sea level for the last two days with record cold forecast for the next few days.  I dropped my camera while trying to take a picture of some pumpkin rolls I baked for a potluck.  The water temperatures in the river are hovering around five degrees C.  The rain we are getting is showery and much of it falling as snow in the watersheds – so the rivers remain very low and COLD.  A more typical storm is forecast for the weekend and this may well put us into coastal winter steelhead season in a big way – just need a little warmer weather for them to move for a swung fly.  stay tuned…things autumnal is transitioning into all things winter…

River notes – November comes in on a storm

A certain tension, maybe, seems to develop as Fall progresses.  Teased on with a few light rains, the hills start to play the role with colorful trees and a few choice mushrooms showing.  But down below, the river still speaks summer with low, clear water.  I think that might have changed this weekend.  Maybe:

Follow him down the dirt road past the apple orchard, fruit still hanging fast, leaves half gone from the wind the night before the rain. Along the trail are the first shaggy manes pushing through the damp earth – good eating if they can be brought back home and cooked soon enough. Follow him to where the old road fades into a trail and winds through the blackberries. If you’re not careful to stick to the paths that the bears trampled down during the height of it all, you’ll find all that’s left are the leaves and arching canes full of thorns that have a knack for reaching out and grabbing passersby. Along the way you might see the tiny shriveled berries still there, like you could reach out and grab summer back again.

Past the berries, the silt on the high river bank is cool and damp; settled by the rain. The dust is all gone now. The old dried weeds through here are turning from golden yellow to light brown and slowly collapse under their own weight, aided on by a day’s worth of wind and rain, working their way closer to, and back into, the soil. Along the gravel bar, the cobbles and boulders are shiny new again.

The water’s edge has reclaimed some of this. The river rises slowly, over the course of a day. The last green grass stands knee deep in the water now, gently washed by the waves lapping up. And like the berries behind, the algae still clings to the rocks out further, but the currents slowly wear it away and carry it suspended through the run. The water is now the color of strong tea. In the pool below, waves of leaves and algae well up in the backwater and leaves collect here and there along the bottom, occasionally scooting along at their own pace. You can’t miss the bright maple leaves whisking by in the faster water. A small willow branch floats by, probably blown in on the wind.

It won’t get muddy until the next storms really let loose on wetter ground. The emerald green water of winter is still a ways off. Everything balances here now. Down here, summer passes by in the currents. Up there, summer works its way back into the soil. Out there, another storm is pushing winter in a tad bit closer.

Winter Cometh Soon and a Pause

The latest weather forecast paints a lengthy period of rain starting later this week suggesting rising rivers and a big step towards winter.  Granted, winter is still a ways off by the calendar.  We are likely on the cusp of the more classic fall – damp ground, the river valleys shrouded with smoke from woodstoves, a new round of fall colors, and a burst of mushrooms from the forest floor – rather than this faux summer we’ve been living through lately.

So far, looking back, the season started with a bang in August and then progressively got more difficult in terms of hooking fish – though, I must admit, some of the most satisfying days have been those with one or two good fish hooked.  And difficult is not the right word – intense, maybe?  If I had to talk about catching fish, it’s less of a number game and more of the cerebral quest of finding a piece of water, methodically working through it and being rewarded with one good fish. That seems to make the whole crazy thing worth it.  I won’t argue with the fast and furious early season evenings – those are special times.  But there is something to be said for the focused pace through a piece of water, getting the swing just right and, finally, on the 23rd cast, connecting with seven pounds of electrified wild steelhead and then finishing with nothing more than that.  Of course, a single seven pound steelhead probably qualifies as a good day in most people’s ledgers around here.  If it was all easy catching, that would soon get tiresome (I think), and if nothing were ever caught, then, well, that speaks for itself.  It’s about landing somewhere in the middle which is, in practice, rarely enough.

I think the satisfying thing about it all so far is that I’ve managed to fish the water I just needed to fish, covered the water I wanted to fish and found a few new spots along the way.  Best of all, the old water was revisited and fished in a new way this year.  I think if the rain happens just right and the rivers come up about a foot or so, it will all start over again.  Pause…