Fishing · Flowers · Nature · Photos · Small Joys

Visiting Pirate

What a day it was yesterday, my whole body is feeling well used, my muscles are sore, but a good sore, literally every single one.  The pirate joined me up here, late Wednesday evening, I had been watching W. while her parents went out for dinner with friends.  It had rained nearly all day, but I squeezed in a short walk to gather yarrow for medicinal purposes and a good weed in the garden before the sprinkles and drizzle led to a full rain.  I sat in the sun room and taught W. some embroidery stitches; she is a quick study and I love that about her.

embroidery wscolors

 

Yesterday was a picture perfect day, not too warm, some light clouds in the sky and sunny.  Maybe the first day with no rain at all in weeks.  The pirate and I went out to the lake and paddled and fished for three hours.  Nibbles on every cast, perch, pumpkin seeds, sunfish, and he caught a big pike, it is a temptation to fish there, throwing back every fish, but knowing you catch one frequently, it is like an exercise in desire, in wanting, the next one will be the big one, and you are there not noticing that two hours have passed.   I noticed my legs were getting burned and even though he wanted to stay out a little longer, I turned my boat and headed back to the car, good thing too because he has a vicious sunburn.  We went into town for a sandwich and to stop at the roadside stand for a dozen eggs and then drove around trying hard to get lost in the woods with a different route home, eventually we made it back, and after a short rest headed up the hill for a walk.  The sun was still up but under the shaded road it was cool and we were protected.  He spent much of the walk moaning and complaining about the rubbing of his wool socks on the burn.

chasingducks

 

 

 

The light of the afternoon sun on the side of the mountain was beautiful, the dogs scared up turkeys and chased them up the side of big hill and then they splashed across the creek to rejoin us.  We continued up to the base of the hiking trail, up the side of the mountain, where the cave is, a spot where the creek cuts through rocks going under on one side and spilling out the other.

pmbarn

 

TREE stream SUNSUSAN

Eating Locally · Fishing · Healthy Eating · Nature

Day 2

I sleep fitfully, the rain and thunder wake me, the dog panting and thirsty, I worry about things from civilization, things I cannot control, 7 days of heavy metal that I cannot fathom after a day paddling and fishing for perch in the lake.  And in this case more than half of what I cast in gets a nibble and I catch a half dozen perch and a couple pumpkin seeds.  I throw them back when they are little, but the ones I kill by ripping out their throats via a hook I keep, soon I am covered in fish guts and worm blood, I love it.   And later I gut them myself, and then skin them, flour them, and put them in brown butter with the caramelized onions, and cover a bowl of brown rice with them, so simple, so delightfully delicious, and best of all the fish so fresh the house does not have any odor of fish.   But as I toss and turn in bed, my decision to keep my word, to maintain the integrity of that word, I know is the right one.  Still it bothers me.  In my sleep I dream of the ex, again, and I wake apologizing for falling apart when he left, though it still brings tears to my eyes.  I wake a bit later than I did yesterday, and do not want to get up.  I want to walk, but I am tired, my arms and legs ache, my back is surprisingly not hurting.  Come on buddy I say, lets go for a walk.  He remains at his place at the foot of the bed.  He hesitates as I put on my hiking clothes, he hesitates on the stairs, he hesitates at the door, he hesitates on the lawn.  My friend’s dogs, who refused the walk yesterday, are halfway up the first section of the hill, I cannot take the short walk this time.  And by the time we get to the turn around, I am happy we have taken this path.  The dog is slow and stays by my side, the male of A’s two dogs stops and waits for us always, never quite getting out of sight.  I begin to notice the smaller things, the small rivulet by the road the sound of the water under the swampy clumps of grass, the long vein of pink granite that flows down the center of the road, the gravel on the mushy parts of the road, the rocks near the beaver dam.  I will be bored, I think, in time, of this walk.  But I also want to love the exercise, the health of my body, the health of the dog’s elderly frame.

windingroad

barn2

We are nearly out of veggies and fruit, and the garden only has fresh greens ripe for the eating, I take her daughter on the long trip to the nearest large town and we buy from locally grown (no dumpster veggies here) and small but charming market.  I buy an empanada, the best one I have ever eaten, and I have enjoyed them fresh in South America.  This one is filled with brown rice, spinach, black beans, something spicy and it is phenomenal.

 

 

Fishing · Musings · Nature · Yoga

First Week of Fishing Season (aka they are not biting)

My mom is on the phone telling me how my brother always wanted to fish the first day, but up in the area I grew up in, the water was usually frozen over, and covered in a deep layer of snow.  Down here, the first day arrives and it is pouring when we wake, after an hour or so the rain has stopped, so we put on our hip waders and smart-wool, and go, what I do not account for is the howling wind and soon the fat lake effect snow flakes that catch on my line.

sexy

This outfit is more attractive to me than just about anything else a man can wear.

The next morning we pack the car up and head north, and fish in a small Adirondack stream, before heading to a warmer location.  And then the next day spend several fruitless hours fishing the Schroon River with a cold piercing wind, my line either tangles or snags again and again and again and I am frustrated beyond words.  We move to a smaller feeder stream and he puts me in a sheltered location where I cast the line out and it immediately snags.  At that moment I quit, utterly.  I take the dog and we sit on the sandy bank in the sun, while the pirate fishes.  I feel no guilt or shame at quitting, the damn trout aren’t biting anyway.

The thing I like best about this place, other than the friends that have become family, is the peacefulness and solitude of walking here.  I never encounter anyone, and never have the fear of encountering anyone who will ruin my walk.

Later W. and I explore the waterfall that for my own reasons I have named dragon teeth falls.  She is like a forest fairy, climbing up and down banks, saying hi from somewhere over my head and blending in to the beige and brown of the melting forest like she is a part of it.  She is.

icicles

icicles2

dragonteethfalls

I feel, though, like a stupid and lumbering rhinoceros, I don’t know why but I am in a very low spot, energy wise, and maybe psychologically.  I am working through a lot of stuff, and frankly much of my life has improved significantly in the past few weeks, and maybe months, but there is still some things to work out, and sometimes I feel like I am standing on a stone in the middle of the river, I know I will be taking another step, but right now I cannot see the stone that will be the place for my footing.  I keep telling myself that this resting period is part of the process, because it just feels dull and lacks life, and I find myself seeking more natural sources of healing.  Fixing my nutrition, massage therapy, removing chemicals, returning to yoga.

But then there are times the universe seems against me, the one time I go to Clark, viola, bitch.  The one time I go to yoga, viola, esoteric yoga freak teacher, who is a strutting peacock.  You aren’t doing yoga until you breath like this and then he does this weird thing with his stomach.  Okay I guess I am just here to find peace and serenity, you don’t have to call it yoga.  I feel snarky, and when they all make odd faces and hiss in lion pose, I find that I cannot help but snicker, later I feel guilty for my judgment.  Maybe I just won’t go at all anymore, rather than face this, this ugly feeling that this guy is an idiot, or worse that I am still in the shallows, waiting for the fish to bite, while I tangle my line.  Still on the high road, not even knowing that below is a waterfall, still walking the same path, not realizing the woods are scattered with others.

In the long night, I realize that long ago I stopped collecting treasures for my little box, and I need to once again begin to fill it.  I think the first thing I should start with might be this:

Rhinoceros.

 

Eating Locally · Fishing · Flintknapping · Nature

Clearing the Blues Away

The wind is cold as we go out, he has attached a new scope to this old 22 rifle, my job is to site it in.  Meanwhile he has a beautiful 444 Marlin rifle that he is siting.  Someone has hired him to kill a buffalo for meat.  His friend M. was hired to do the same for some Onondagas that have a farm on the outskirts of the reservation, they will go together to the farm.  I am talking to him as I load 22 shells into the 10 round clip, I lose count.  Shit, am I a felon right now I ask him, I lost count is it 7 or is it 8.  I stop and just shoot with what I have in the clip.

The temperature is a surprising 45 as we drive out to see where this farm is, in my old stomping grounds.  We talk about trout fishing as we ride up the curving road along the edge of the creek.  In my head I am recalling the sweet taste of trout pulled fresh from the water, I want to go, I say, right now.

In the afternoon, I wash the dishes as I watch him boiling skulls in a big bucket on the veranda.  I go out and take a few minutes to finish the last of a collage I am making to help raise money for my friends school in South Sudan.  And then I take the cypress knob I bought from some guy at the stone tool show last summer.  I proceed to doodle on it with wood stain pens.  Until the sun starts to set, all peach and pink in the sky.  My legs are cold, and my cheeks and the big toe of my left foot.

cyprusdetail

I have spent the better part of the last 7 hours outside.

I can almost feel the blues like cobwebs being swept out of me.

Eating Locally · Fishing · Healthy Eating · Nature · New York State Parks · Photos · Strong Woman

Fishing Queen!!

Once again we headed up to the ADK’s, although this trip was planned weeks in advance, last weekend’s brief overnight was far more impromptu.  We took the slow route, and when we got to our intended destination it was early afternoon.  We ascended up the short but strenuous incline and finally came to what we thought was the summit, but two days later learned it was not at all the summit.  The skies were cloudy so we found a good rock to fish from.  The pirate caught a couple trout, and I had several bites but couldn’t hook one.  Finally I passed him my rod and said, here something is biting please catch it.  Which he did, it was a tiny trout, but later I fried it in butter and it was so delicious!!  The decent was also a challenge and by the time we got to the end of it, our legs were so wobbley that we started singing “If I Only Had a Brain.”  Hot, sweaty, my face scarlet from the exertion (it gets really red whenever I exercise at all).  I regretted going for a run before we left the house!!  The next day we let our very sore muscles recover from the hike and went for a drive, we found a cool naturally formed stone bridge and cave, and then later on we went to Mt. Defiance overlooking Fort Ticonderoga and Lake Champlain.  After dinner we decided to go fishing, and suddenly I was on.  I saw the fish surfacing and I had lost my trout lure on a snag, so in the dark I just put on the first packets of hooks I came to.  I immediately got a solid hit and pulled in a really big female bullhead chock full of eggs.  Then threw in again to the same spot and pulled out another bully.  The third time I cast to that spot I caught a decent little trout, which I think was a native, judging by its pink flesh.  Of the four of us fishing, I was the only one to pull any in so they called me the queen of the fish.  I swear it was the Magic Margarita I was drinking out of a little canteen my friend gave me for “the road”, which we walked down in the dusk and back up again in the dark.

Sock Fish in Garnet Lake

In the morning we decided to fish in Garnet Lake, the pirate caught a perch and I caught a little sunfish, which I threw back in the water.  We then went back and picked up my friend and his daughter and went back up Crane Mountain.  My legs were absolutely burning and it was really slow going for me, but I finally made it too the top.  Our fishing spot was taken up by swimmers, so we went to a different spot suggested by my friend, and discovered that it was an absolutely picturesque spot.  The pirate and I fished there on the rocks for a couple hours.   It was still early and they were not biting but after a bit I pulled a decent sized brookie in, this one was small and had more of the white flesh of a stocked fish.  This morning we cooked up all the fish for breakfast sauteed in butter with a little lemon juice squeezed over it.  Delicious.  Nothing tastes better than fresh caught fish!!

Our legs and feet are sore.  The decline on the second day was hard.  Real hard.  The pirate had about an 80 pound pack and was taking it slow.  My legs hurt so much I was shakey and had to take it slow for safety.  I did some of the more difficult rocks on my rear end, dropped my new OFF bug keeper offer, which tumbled down the face of a cliff, shattering as it went.  😦  It worked really well, and I was awfully disappointed to see it going.  Close to the bottom I stepped on a small stick and my foot just slid out from under and I fell on my rear end in the leaves.  The first thing I did after shower and before food was take a couple minutes to stretch, so I am only a little sore today, mostly in my left quad.

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It feels good to be so strong, though it was tough, I did it.  I loved fishing, and was thrilled to catch so many.  I loved being with my friends, and my pirate.  Whose encouragement on the hike helped me get through it.  The whole weekend was so fantastic, I cannot believe I spent so many years NOT hiking.  What a waste!!!  I am so happy to back at it again.  My life is so much better with my pirate in it!!

 

 

 

Buddhism · Fishing · Great Quotes

Let me forget.

The morning dawns despite my restful sleep, more than once I awoke crying and whimpering in my sleep.  The dog coming to kiss my face.  I go for my morning run and it feels good, the day will be warm.

“Chaos is inherent in all the compounded things.  Strive on with diligence.”  ~ Buddha

 

And why do I forget in the darkness of my soul that all it takes is noticing and letting go.  I know what I need:  meditation or therapy again.  But therapy only brings me to the realization of what I already know for myself.  After about six visits I start feeling like I don’t need to be there anymore, I start say, yep, I know that, but when the tired creeps in and I forget.  The say there is no rest for the wicked, there seems to be no rest either for the weary.

Maybe meditation would help me with the letting go, with the not biting the hook that reels me in and leaves me despairing in the shallows,  I watched yesterday as a small mouth bass heard the plunk of the worm and then saw it on the silted rocks and bit it.  I marveled at how he had no idea that the plunk and the sharp object and then the viewing of the worm meant capture.  He was lucky to not be in season.  But I am like that bass, I know what exquisite torture will follow, but I do it anyway.  Maybe meditation will help me in recognizing the symptoms of my exhaustion, sometime before I hear the plunk of the worm, or that I will notice it and ignore it.  It occurs to me that I do need to fish more.

I think of my coffee mug that says Peace means to remain serene despite what is going on around me, perhaps peace too is remaining calm despite what is happening inside me.

There is alot of darkness, but I know I am like a light house.  I can be a beacon if I only let it shine.  Must I wait for the fog, for the stormy weather?

Why do I keep forgetting?

 

All things melancholy · Fishing · Nature

Gone Fishing

The dog wakes me early, too early, his boredom eats my restiveness.

Buttercup and Forget Me Nots

The morning is glorious sparkling sunshine, but somehow it grumbles and grouches and complains making me feel stupid and clumsy and inadequate, I beat it back like a pack of gnats, swarming but not biting.  I cast my pole again and again, a nibble, a nibble, and then a bite.  I pull it up and yes it is too small, I will never be good enough in this brilliant sunlight.  I reflect on how I am filled with doubt, and when I am like this it is on every front.  I don’t want to be this way.

Early Morning Fishing
Pumpkin Seed Fish
Water Lilies

Fiddle head ferns tall and curling up, and skunk cabbage emanating its very name sake as I crush it leaves into the swamp grass.  My legs are cut and the burdock clings, I untangle my line again and again in the broken trees.  The last cast, truly the last, use up this worm and it snaps my line.  Ironic, or not, I do not know.

Fiddlehead Fern
Skunk Cabbage

I feel this lonely feeling as though I never left those days in Rochester, with the cat meowing in the window as I parallel parked my car in tight spots where the bar goers had left.  I yearned so much for not being lonely.  I have come full circle.  Even when I am not alone there is this feeling of being bereft.  Cast adrift.  Left to my own devices.  I have to learn to embrace it.  I bury my face under the down comforter smothering in the heat.

There it is, this deep melancholy that I carry like a heavy sack, my back is permanently bent with it.  Why does it sneak up on my today?  I ask for meaning and I get it like a shove, it pushes me away, it rejects my affection, my love, my desire, and it smacks me hard, leaving me bruised.  I mull over it, for an hour, it goes on two and then suddenly I am taken, I get up to leave but it beats me out the door like a broom on a stray dogs ass.  Get lost.  It asks if I want to return, how can I utter the words no.  Because you make me feel crushed.  You make me feel empty and alone.  How can I say, only if you promise to stop to take a vacation from your constant berating.  You do not want me.  It’s clear.  Why ask what I want?

I cry, not for long, but that feeling in my stomach isn’t all that good.

Buddhism · Fishing · Great Quotes · Musings · Nature · Small Joys · Zen Buddhism

Forgive

“Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.”  Buddha

I found a journal in the bookstore, in the clearance book section that has a quote on each page attributed to the Buddha, I bought it with the intention of using it to take notice of the presence of Buddhism in the serendipitous progress of my life.  (although I have not been formally practicing for several months (the excuses are endless but of poor quality) So this is the first post from the book.

The first day of the week, I write, “SORRY” is  word that could bring peace.

Later in the week I start speaking about truths and lies and how it is better to speak a thousand truths than one lie.

The day breaks bright and sunny.  I am up early with the dog, it is crisp, but if it is anything like yesterday it will be warm, my sunburned face and arms tell how unexpectedly warm it really was.  I did not sleep well, my thoughts were full and deep, I think it was the pull of the giant moon.  Take me fishing, I tell the pirate before breakfast.  The breeze over the reservoir is chilly, particularly in the shade.  I cast out long over the water, then sit to wait for the tip of the pole to bob up and down.  The kildeer are skimming the water, I can hear a woodpecker laughing, and two red winged blackbirds are calling back and forth to one another as I sit between them.  The kid who tried to fish in the same spot as us, before the pirate politely told him to leave, is talking to his dad somewhere around the corner, I can hear them but not see them.  The wind is making the waves lap, but here where it is more secluded than the first spot, it is not bouncing the pole.  For the briefest of moments I feel whole, at one, complete, I am not doing yoga as I should be, and didn’t go to the Zen Center as I should have, but I am meditative as the sun shines on the camo jacket I bought last week at a flea market for five bucks, the cuffs are not even worn, so it is like brand new.  I am sitting in the grass as the dog whines over by the pirate, he is tied to a sapling but he wants to be set free.  When the pirate lets him go the dog runs to me and back to the pirate and then he goes in the water and comes out and shakes it off on the pirate’s gear, goes back in the water and shakes it on the pirate, and he does it several times, making him holler; a feeling I know well because later as he mows the lawn and I weed his rock garden I leave the dog’s poop in the yard just to make him yell.  It makes me laugh out loud when he does, but back at the water the dog keeps looking up at him and smiling shaking that swampy muddy water off on him.

As I sit waiting for a fish to bite, I think the purpose of fishing is not to catch a fish, rather it is an opportunity to commune with nature, catching a fish is good, but sitting quietly along the bank of some body of water, that is even better.  And when I think this, I realize that sitting at the Zen Center may not be the answer, it is formal, and obeisant; there is something to be said for this informal recognition of the connectedness of life for being present in the everyday, to being able to move if my hip hurts, to being able to pet the dog if he comes to say hello, to be able to toss words to the man I love, though we do not talk constantly and we are just as comfortable with the silence.  Maybe I have it wrong  though, perhaps formal sitting brings some other great reward that I cannot fathom.  But honestly, I would rather sit and fish than and come to the revelations, than to sit formally.  Catching the fish is not the point.  It is the waiting for the bite that brings serenity.

I realize that sorry isn’t the word, the only word that can bring peace is forgiveness, with or without the sorry.

All one needs to be at peace is the ability to forgive, others, ones self, the world, the events that occur, the suffering, the pain, forgive it, forgive.

I think I need to fish some more.