Here, there’s no such thing as luck.

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I always say there’s no such thing as a lucky catch on the South fork of the Snake River. Every fish is earned — even if they are small, especially if they are big. It’s a holy water out there that renders every trout powerful with a divine and beautiful strength making it a fair wrestling match between man, river current, wind and trout every single time a fella hooks up.

Robert caught this lovely cutthroat at near dark, just off the gravel bar we parked our raft on for the night. I had built a fire and was pulling out the stove to cook dinner when I heard him call out the words, “Loo, I have one on!

 I left what I was doing to watch him carefully play this fish and eventually bring it to hand. The sun had set. All was dusky. I looked out over the water and saw trout after massive trout rising like porpoises alongside an ocean going ship; backs humped, slick and shining, rising up against the river current to take bugs off the surface in a full fledged feeding frenzy. It was the witching hour for fish — something I have been privileged to see so often in this blessed life of mine.

 This cutthroat was a dapper old dandy, such a honor to catch, inspect and release back into the night to once more do his bug slurping from the surface of holy waters. I watched him leave Rob’s hand, kick his spotted tail in reckless contempt of the August breeze, disappear into the river, and I whispered to myself, “Amen.”

Metal and Assorted Sundries

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IMG_1145IMG_1127IMG_1111 IMG_1104 IMG_1103 IMG_1070IMG_1043IMG_1055IMG_1062I’ve been chipping away at a series out in the studio that is, quite naturally, fly fishing inspired.  I seem to come up with a fishy kind of series in August most years so this is not out of the ordinary for me.  You may remember this series from last summer, which continued into part of the winter and then transmogrified into the Adaptation Series.  It’s so fun to throw my hands up in the air and see where the work leads me!

The results of this new series have been delicate, robust, colorful and whimsical.  There is more to come but I’d like to get the first batch of work in the shop for you tomorrow morning so stay tuned for that!

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Robert has been home!  Only for a week long visit.  It’s been a mighty good time.  I’ve been quite focused on him, as you might imagine, but also on us and working hard to heal up the tiny cracks that make their way across the surface of the heart during fire season when we are apart for long stretches.  It has been difficult for us this summer, as it is every summer, the distance has felt enormous, life has been over-full.

Rob will leave for work again tomorrow and then it will be one short month before we begin our off-season together.  We’re making plans and this winter is going to be a good one.

We were up at nearly 9000ft last night and the air was FRIGID.  Can you feel the nip of autumn in the air where you are?  September and October are magnificent months to be Idahoan.  Warm days.  Fresh nights.  The scrub maple begins to burn red in the draws on the mountain, the aspen and cottonwood grow yellow with the frosts.  It’s beautiful here and on the brink of being beautiful-er yet.  I know you can say the same.

Hang tight!  There’s more on the way.

X

 

Bearteethies

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Beautiful, big backcountry.

Berries.

Great, noble dogs.

The company of an excellent friend (who is also an unofficial botanist so I came away SMARTER…and un-poisoned by berries…).

Starry starry nights.

Berries.

Great alpine fishing.

BERRIES.

Clean water.

Summer sausage cooked on open fires.

Sleeping in the dirt with my boys under a tarp and washing my face in the dawn.

First light — the holy of holies.

Wait, did I mention the berries yet?  The huckleberries, raspberries and thimbleberries were at their HEIGHT and we lallygagged as we walked, eating one berry for every single step we took.  It was decadent.  We had stained fingers and delighted tastebuds.

I’ve never had a summer like this before, one so stuffed with gallivanting and crammed with work.  I’m exhausted, but I am loving every moment of it.

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Anywhere The Wind Will — A Giveaway

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We went out just as the wind began to rise.  We made our way to the top and rambled, in no clear direction, through the sagebrush; radiant in the dusk and fragrant in the damp cool.  There was no hour of golden gloaming tonight, no heat of a setting sun in tall grass, winking over the edge of the mountains and projecting pink on the cloud bellies in the East.  All was muted, hushed, grey and waiting for the grip of the storm.  I heard the roots of the cheat grass wend deeper underground, gaining a better grip on duff and stone, preparing for siege under the blaring cannons of the rain.

This summer, on numerous occasions, I have been high enough on the mountain to see the top soil of the Snake River Plain rise up in furrows beneath the blades of plough winds.  Tonight I watched the billowing grime swing up into the valley, a brown mist eating into clear air.  I pushed the hair from my eyes, felt the first raindrop on my cheek, turned on my heel, called in the dogs and foot by steady foot I raced the storm home.  The wind grew in might.  I wondered to myself, if this air with all its invisible power could pick me up, where would it take me, where would it finally set me down?

As I walked, I looked up through the strands of blond hair flying at impossible angles about my face, I felt my shirt whipping at my back and arms, watched the sage quiver madly and squinted against the force of the storm.  I saw the wind do its heavy lifting.  I watched it hold aloft the ancient skins of a thousand stones, the grit of the rivers run dry, spruce dust, sage pollen, lost birds, the rain.

What if!  What if it could lift me skyward, toss me heavily heavenward, rumple my hair, tear me in two and two again only to whimsically deposit me here and there across our world?  Where might I end up and would I belong there, fitting into new life and land with patience and grace, ready to work and serve to the same degree as a grain of topsoil that lands quietly at the root of a wildflower?

The rain came on then and I began to run, sheltering my camera beneath my shirt, shouting in surprise at the brute force of the raindrops; the sky broke open and it poured.  I ran like that, all the way down the mountain, all the way home, haphazard and wild, as free and fated as anything carried by the wind and once deposited on the front porch, out of reach from the storm, I realized I could be grain of sand, feather of bird, drop of rain, or pellet of pollen lifted up and set aside by the breeze — I could be any of those things — and like those tiny pieces of life that find their way skyward and then earthward once more, I will always end up exactly where I am meant to be.

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I have the great pleasure of being published in the first volume of Bella Grace this summer.  You can find not one, but two pieces of my writing in this magazine, complete with images.  I’ve been given a copy of the magazine (which is more book-like than magazine-like, to be honest  – truly lovely) to give away here.  If you would like to enter your name in the drawing for it please leave a comment on this post for me.  If you are shy, just say hi!  If you like, tell me about where the winds of life have taken you, how you made the most of it or how you celebrated, how you WISH you might have made the most of it, how it transformed you or how it shifted your life perspectives.  I would love so much to hear from you and wish, to the moon and back, I had one thousand copies of this magazine to give away.

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This post of mine is part of a blog hop that includes most of the contributors to the first volume of Bella Grace, read what they have to say about life (and the exquisite beauty therein) and besides being inspired, you’ll find many more chances to enter your names in drawings for other copies of Bella Grace.

Thank you all, as always, for being here.

You make my world go round.

X

:::Post Scriptus:::

Please pardon any delays on comment moderation — I’ll be away from my computer for a few days.

GIVEAWAY CLOSURE: September 15

IMG_9354[Zoetic Rings :: sterling silver & American turquoises]

Officially bound for the shop tomorrow!  I cannot give a certain time for this update as I’ll be preparing listings between errand running and appointments but do please pop by when you can and hopefully I’ll have them on the shelves for you.

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