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Welcome to Riverswind notes

I hope you will join in my adventures here in Humboldt County and elsewhere as I explore nature & people.

I welcome your comments.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Thinking about my Mom

I talk to my Mom almost every day now since she lives over 700 miles away. She gets calls from other family members and her neighbor calls her every morning to check on her also. I'm certain that every phone call cheers her up and helps brighten her day which is spent in her small home with her dog usually watching TV.
My mom (Rose Lark Schulz) is the youngest and last remaining survivor of Newton and Irene Lark's family. She was born in Sonoma County, California in 1917 and raised from a small child by her father with the assistance of a Nanny. Her father known by my generation as "Papa" Lark was a Pharmacist and became owner of the Lark's Drugstore in Guerneville, Ca in 1910. Rose and her sister Marion and two brothers, Warne and Don grew up in Guerneville when the Railroad was the main transportation to this resort town from the Bay Area. In the summers the town was choked with summer vacationers who filled the local beaches and swam in the warm waters of the Russian River. My mother married my Dad at the early age of 17 and I was born the following year. After I was born she was told by her doctor that she would be unable to give birth again. She loved children and fortunately had many nieces and nephews(my beloved cousins)who were her surrogate children in a sense.
Auntie Rose has been a very loving, warm,affectionate and giving person in their lives as well as mine throughout the years. I owe my ability to be a loving, giving person as well as my love of music, dancing, good food and cooking to my mother.
She was "Rosie the Riviter" during WWII working in the Richmond shipyards,helping to build ships that would carry supplies to our military personel overseas. My Dad was her crew boss and as the story goes he had to fire her eventually. It was not that she wasn't a good worker but because the other men on his crew were having trouble concentrating on their jobs. In other words, my mother was distracting them because she was attractive. In fact when I was old enough to realize it I became protective of her when men whistled. She thought it was funny when I told them that she was my mother. After the war we moved to Cazadero because my Dad accepted a job working for my Uncle Warne Lark who had invested in a small Lumber Mill. Not many women would have or could have endured the lifestyle of living in a tent for months and cooking outdoors with no running water or shower facilities. However,my Mom was a trooper and she did it with a flair, cooking gourmet meals with food gathered by my Dad from the wild. We ate well and lots of Venison, Salmon, Steelhead, Trout, Abalone and Wild Mushrooms that year. In the winter of that same year we moved to a small 3 room house(shack)on the Bohan Ranch up the hill. We lived without electricity and had only a Outhouse for a toilet. For bathing we heated water on a woodstove and poured it into a tub large enough for one person. It was during that year I read Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn by candle light and dreamed of the day I would become a Boy Scout.
The following year we moved to Guerneville where My Dad and Mom built a small home on the Russian River. Today I have wonderful memories living on the river,fishing,Scouting,Baseball,and swimming in the river. Summers spent with Herb Genelly a life long friend, and his family who owned and operated Genelly's vacation beach resort. Herbs father Herb and mother Edna had weekly BBQ's of steak and delicious Tamalie pie and a Horse shoe pit where many a game was played by Herb and I. Life in Guerneville was interupted by my parents divorce and I moved to San Francisco reluctantly in 1952 with my Mom. I finished my last two years of School at George Washington High school. At the time of the relocation I was not happy having to leave behind my friends and it caused some bitterness and tears. In retrospect the experience was key in the growth of my character as I was exposed to a greater diversity of ethnic and religious backgrounds among my peers. In the summers I worked for my Uncle Warne in Lark's Drugstore in Guerneville and the memories of those 5 years will linger forever in my mind.
In the 60's my Mom took over my job as Manager of the Golden Gate Riding Academy after I left because of a divorce with my first wife. It was there that she became a "legend" among her friends at the stables for her outgoing, friendly as well as "take no guff" personality and delicious cooking. Her Parties for the stable crew and mounted Policeman were truly memorable to say the least. Her experience at the stables taught her how to delegate responsibilities and she has used that talent to her advantage over the years with those of us who are willing to help her when asked (or coerced) with food. My cousin Ray Lark can attest to that as he has helped her more than anyone including her own son on projects ranging from plumbing, gardening,Washing machine repair, painting, and home maintenance, etc.
My mother had a short but enjoyable happy life in her "senior" years with Jim Britt
former professional boxer and Bar owner. They traveled in their RV to Thousand Trails resorts often accompainied by her sister Marion and Ed LaFranchi. When "Jimmy" could no longer care for himself my mom became a fulltime dedicated caregiver for nearly 10 years.

Mom started a tradition in the family years earlier for her Thanksgiving gatherings at her home on the river. A place where each of us felt special and welcome and a place where we knew we would be loved,hugged and well fed with her Turkey dinner and special Pumpkin Chiffon pie and cakes that are "to die for". We have seen her at her best and at her very 'BEST' with her "hackles" up and have learned that she minces no words nor hides no emotion and you can "forget about it" when it comes to political correctness. If anyone got out of line at Rosies they were put in their place with the diplomacy and swiftness of an Army drill sargent. Anyone who knows her will tell you that she speaks her mind and you definitely know where she's coming from.
I'll never forget calling my mom to tell her that I wanted her to meet my "new" love.
Her initial response was "Oh no not again, after what you have been through with women?" I finally convinced her that Kimberley was the one girl in my life who is a real friend and this would be forever. Before the call ended I mentioned that Kimberley was kind of self conscious about the size of her feet. I asked my mom not to say anything or stare at her feet. She responded "Oh I wouldn't do that".
The day we arrived at my Mom's house and walked into her living room the first thing my Mom did was look closely at Kimberley's feet and say "You're feet aren't so big honey"! That is the definition of embarrased. A true character she is and always will be. She has weathered and survived many health problems along the trail of life and still going at the age of 90. Her wealth cannot be measured in her bank account or by material things. It is measured in her toughness of character, spirit for life,loving personality and a beauty that comes from within.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Looking back at the beginning of a career

By the time I got out of the Army my first wife and I had one child with another on the way. We moved from Monterey were I was stationed to San Francisco so I could attend S.F.State University and major in Biology. I got a job working in Walgreens Drugstore on Powell st. in downtown S.F.. After a year I was offered a job as Manager of the Golden Gate Riding Academy in Golden Gate park. It was a job that required dealing with many different personalities of people who rented a stall for their horse at the stables. I also had the opportunity to teach children and adults Western Equitation.
Although I had riden horses as a young man and was confident, I had never taught people how to ride previously. So I went to the library and studied books about Equitation and within a week became an "Expert". Not really but I think the majority of the folks that I taught didn't know the difference. After two years I left the Riding Academy and got my first job in the Biology department working in the stockroom handing out equipment as well as other duties. Since it was only a part time job I found other "moonlighting" jobs as well including working for a Caterer as a Bartender and in the U.C.Medical School Vivarium cleaning Rat cages. Some of my other moonlighting jobs included working for a Commericial photographer processing film in the darkroom; Worked the midnight shift at a large Bank as a Guard; For a brief time I was a Caretaker for Robert Bowman's captive Galoapagos Finches and on one occasion I was hired as a security person for a Rock Concert which was held at the Palace of Fine Arts in S.F. It was during these times that I met new friends who were also majoring in Biology. After graduating with a degree in Biology I took advanced studies. During this phase of my education I remember well getting a call one day from Dr. Hensil who was chairman of the department. He asked me if I would be interested in teaching for Joe Hall as Lab. instructor for a class in Natural History of Vertebrates. Frankly, I was blown away and scared at the same time. After all I had dropped out of a speech class one year because my first assignment was to give a speech. Go figure. In looking back I had always had a fear of getting up in front of people, but then I reminded myself that I did alright teaching Equitation because I had prepared myself. I had taken the class that I would be teaching and earned an A. I knew the subject so I said "yes of course I would be honored to be an Instructor in Biology Dr. Hensil". The experience definitely helped build my confidence and strengthen my knowledge of the subject. I taught another class the following year in Medical Entomology for Joel Gustafson. It was that class that led to my first real job as a Biologist working in the Parisitology section of the George Williams Hooper Foundation with Dr. Frank Radovsky.
It was interesting work which included field collections of parasites and their hosts as well as laboratory preparation of the specimens for identification under a microscope. I learned much about Mites, Ticks, Fleas and parasitic flys.
The job included two field excursions to Baja, Mexico collecting rodents and in search of the Tungid flea, (Tunga monositis). Eventually this job ran out of grant money and I was again looking for a job. A person named Joe Spinelli who I met while at the Riding Academy and later became the head of the UC Medical School Vivarium told me of a job opening.
While Joe was a Veterinary student at Davis he lived in the same neighborhood as Dr. Murray Fowler. He had received a notice that Fowler was looking for someone with my background to assist him in developing a new program in Zoological Medicine in the school's curriculum. I recall meeting with Dr.Fowler and immediately felt comfortable talking to him about the job and what he expected. He called me a couple days later in S.F. and offered me the job. I don't know for sure but I think the fact that I had Eagle Scout on my resume helped me get the job. Dr. Fowler was a Scoutmaster and very involved in the Scouting program in his church. I know that I was very fortunate and blessed with a career doing something I loved. More on that later.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

River Reflections/Memories of the Past

Most days now I think more about the past than of the future. It's amazing to me that a person can store so many memories in their brain for such a long time. I remember well the year that my Dad worked for my Uncle Warne Lark in a small lumber mill north of Cazadero. We lived in a tent that summer by a small creek. I was 10 years old and was given a 22 rifle for Christmas. My Dad was a hunter and taught me well and I became very accurate with practice. I roamed the hills with my dog at my side and stalked my prey. I was very curious about birds and had been given my first Peterson Field guide. I wanted to see them up close so I shot many different birds and remember the excitement when I held them in my hand for close inspection. It was I now believe the catalyst for what later became my passion in life and led to a career as a Biologist. I now cringe at the fact that my first job was a "Bounty hunter" at age 10.
"Mamma June" my uncle Ed LaFranchi's mother lived on a Ranch a couple miles up the road from the lumber Mill at a place called Creighton Ridge. One day I hiked up there with my 22 rifle in hand to visit. She was a wonderfully warm and friendly lady always happy to have visitors. Mamma June hired me that day to kill the Stellar's Jays that were destroying her Figs. I don't recall exactly how many I shot but for a nickel per bird I remember that my pockets were full at the end of the day. It was a day I will always remember.
These days I greatly admire the vociferous and pugnacious Stellar's Jays that visit our home showing off their striking black "shaggy" crest and brilliant blue and black feathers. One of natures many marvels.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas on the River

This time of year the moss laden trunks and branches of the Big leaf Maples,Black Cotton Woods,Oregon Ash and Alder appear as brilliant green roots on plants standing upside down, reaching for nourishment in the cool damp air. Their leaves long gone decomposing in the soil below exposing the branches. In the past Christmas was about getting together with family, lights glistening on homes and Christmas trees laden with gifts. Hot mulled wine brewing on the stove, the scent of cinnamon and clove filling the air. The children had trouble sleeping with visions of Santa Claus arriving late at night.
These days my wife and I have Christmas alone but together, our families too far away. It's much quieter and peaceful and I can even hear the words of Bing Crosby singing White Christmas. It is time now to write Christmas cards to family and friends to let them know they are in our minds and hearts.
There was a time when shopping was fun albeit obligatory. These days I shop on the Internet to avoid the crowds of people who swarm the malls all seemingly in a trance as they trod from store to store in search of that "perfect" gift.
I am always amused by the fact that stores start putting out Christmas displays before Thanksgiving these days. It's all about the buck unfortunately and the reason for the season has been mostly lost over the years.
Each year my wife and I help the disadvantaged and homeless in a small way by working as volunteers with the Salvation Army or by collecting food for a food bank. It always feels good to help others and we appreciate more how fortunate we are. The Secret as Oprah pointed out "isn't what we need or must have, rather it's what we have to give". After all Christmas is about giving, it's about love. Merry Christmas to all and a hope for Peace one day throughout the world.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Squirrel proof Bird feeder

Since moving to our chalet on the river we have often been entertained by the many Eastern Gray Squirrels that frequent our deck and bird feeders. The little rascals not only eat the corn that we put out for them but insist on eating suet and bird seed out of feeders as well. They have ruined a couple of feeders by chewing through the hard plastic to get to the seeds. We bought a metal "Squirrel proof" feeder and had many a chuckle watching the squirrels try to figure a way to get to the seeds. They would get on top and reach over the sides which usually resulted in a fall or a slip. It wasn't long however, that at least one of them began hanging upside down with it's hind feet and reaching up with the forefeet to get at the seed tray without tripping the gate. This behavior finally got one squirrel in trouble. The other morning while eating breakfast and watching the squirrel hanging from it's bird feeder perch we watched in amazement as a mature Red-tailed Hawk swooped down from a perch and plucked the squirrel off of the feeder without missing a wing beat. The other squirrels on the ground scrambled in all directions. The hawk flew to a nearby tree where it perched moitionless for a couple of minutes with the squirrel grasped firmly in it's fist, It's brilliant rusty red tail contrasted dramatically with the dark burnt sierra brown of the body and wing feathers. Then it lifted off with the squirrel clutched in one foot to a perch high on the other side of the river. There the squirrel was ripped open by the strong sharply curved beak of the raptor and eaten piece by piece. This is unusual behavior for a large Buteo but during the cold winter months they are opportunistic,clever and inventive when foraging.
They use the still perching method much like the Great-horned owl, sitting moitionless until their prey is spotted then swooping stealthfully down for the suprise attack. It happened so fast the squirrel had no clue what hit him .
That day and the day after there were no squirrels to be seen.
On the third day I noticed one that seemed a bit more wary than usual. It will be interesting to see if any of the other squirrels take up the habit of hanging upside down. If they do I hope to be waiting with camera ready.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Remembering my Son Randy

Each year this time in October my thoughts are on that night in 1984 when I was awakened after midnight by a call from my son Steve. I can still hear the quavering tone of his voice and the empty feeling it left. The words have been forever etched in my mind. The message was short and to the point. "Dad, Randy was in an accident and he didn't make it"! "What do you mean he didn't make it"? I responded in a groggy voice. "He's dead Dad". That moment in time felt like a horrible nightmare, something I couldn"t believe, or refused to at least. There were other words, something about calling Nana. I said no don't call her tonight because she needs to sleep and should have her son by her when she gets the horrible news. I remember trying to go back to sleep but the crying kept me awake and I slowly dragged myself out of bed and dressed for the drive to my mother's.

I called my very good friend Steve Boyd and without pause he said that he would drive me to my mother's which was 2 hours away in the early morning hours. There wasn't much said on the way to my mom's, our minds numb and in disbelief at the thought of losing a son. He was 3 weeks shy of 25 years of age, his whole life in front of him. He had so much potential and in an instant he was gone. Killed in a head on collision by a drunk driver!
Randy was a wonderful son. He loved life and was always respectful and loving toward his family and friends. His artistic talents were many including painting, poetry, music and the dramatic arts. He was a dreamer a seeker and adventurer. He was passionately in love with a lady who was a few years older with a 10 year old son. His lover and son were also in the accident. The son survived but his lover died after being in a comma for 3 years. Randy and I were very close even though we were separated when he was five due to divorce and geographical distance. I didn't see him as often as a father would like but managed to get together enough to form a solid relationship and a very strong, loving bond between father and son. Randy demonstrated his love in many ways and began writing cards and letters which he profusely illustrated from an early stage in his childhood until his death. I have kept them like precious gold, all of the cards, letters, poems, drawings, portraits and especially the wonderful memories. Memories of our adventures together, Trout fishing on the McCloud river, backpacking in the Sierra Nevada, Rafting down the Middle Fork of the Salmon river in Idaho,
and the Rogue river in Oregon. The many times he helped me working with young Barn owls, handling, banding and releasing them back to the wild. The hours spent with me in the late evenings watching Short-eared owls in the fields north of Davis. The anxious excitement he displayed when given an opportunity to assist Dr. Fowler and myself at the Sacramento Zoo on one of our rounds. The time he put together a very artistic and effective wildlife montage for a Zoo Medicine conference. The many discussions about life, love and death. The discussions about evolution vs. creation while polishing off a bottle of wine and although we sometimes disagreed we always ended our conversations with a hug and a verbal I love you.
In one of Randy's poems he writes:
Here I am
In my father's voice
knowing his uncertainties,
Afraid of his pain,
my dreams and visions
overwhelmed and rejoicing.
In an instant his pain was mine.
At that moment
A held out hand,
a smile,
and a loving embrace,
The glory of father and son
and kindred friendship.
For my father
I give my prayers
and my trust.

Most days Randy is in my thoughts and my love for him continues to grow while his memories warm my heart and make my life more meaningful.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The loss of a friend

Good friends are rare in life and should be cherished and celebrated. A good friend is someone that you share your secrets with and someone you can trust. Someone who accepts you the way you are ,even your weaknesses. A good friend is always there when you need them, someone you can talk to and get sincere advice from. A good friend does not expect anything in return and is someone who would not betray you.
I lost a good friend this week. He died of complications from heart surgery. It was a tough year for him and his wife for they lost one of their daughters to cancer. The loss took it's toll. I wrote him a posthumous letter today and will share it now:
Dear Carroll
I heard you left recently without saying goodbye. I wish I had called you before your surgery. We will miss your charming humor and polictical diatribes. We were a great fishing team once, traveling up Mosquito Ridge road with anxious anticipation of that big trout on the end of our lines. The long narrow drive was always shortened and more enjoyable by listening to your stories of other days and your opinions about the traffic on Foresthill road. We drank some great wine together and enjoyed some great food cooked by your lovely bride Flora. We hope that Flora's faith and knowledge that your spirit will never leave her can somehow ease the pain of her loss. The memories of a lifetime of cherished love can never be lost. We share in Flora's sadness at this time and hope that she knows how much we care. Perhaps my feelings are best told by Kahlil Gibran in the Prophet where he writes: "When you part from your friend, you grieve not; For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain".
"When you have reached the top, then you shall begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance". I can see you dancing near that stream fishing for that big Rainbow and that is the way I will remember you always.
Goodbye my friend.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Nature in High definition

My wife purchased a new HDTV for our anniversary last month. Prior to that I had recalled to her of my experience while shopping at Sears when I happened to walk through the TV display area and was stopped in my tracks by a nature video. I was mesmerized by the color and precise definition. For the first time on TV I could clearly see the fine vibrissae on wild cats, the pollen on the stamen of flowers, the scales on reptiles and even the setae on tiny insects or as they say "the hair on a gnats ass". I stood in front of the screen for what seemed like an eternity until my concentration was abruptly interrupted by a salesman who barked "have you ever seen anything clearer than that picture? Uh no I've never seen anything like it before I replied.
From that day on I thought perhaps one day I'll get one of those TV's but never expected my wife to buy one so soon. We called our satellite company to schedule a hook up for HDTV service. We live in the woods surrounded by giant cottonwoods, big leaf maples, Douglas fir, Cedar, etc.. The TV technician took some readings in the sky with his compass and told me that several trees were in the line of sight and unless they were removed there would be no HDTV service at our home. I thought to myself surely he must be wrong because we get regular TV with no problem. He explained that the satellites which transmit HDTV are several and a much larger window in the sky is required. I must admit that the news was very disappointing but my initial response was there is no way that I'm going to cut any trees down on my property.
After all it was the trees that attracted us to this little piece of paradise in the first place. The TV guy said he understood because his wife wouldn't let him cut any trees down at their place so he didn't have HDTV either. In parting he looked around and noted "you have your own high definition all around you". I responded by saying yes that is for certain but his compassion didn't help the fact that I would not get to watch the Animal planet in HDTV.
As I type this blog looking out my window I do see nature in high definition. There before my eyes are moss covered trunks and branches on Big leaf Maples, their leaves turning gold and some beginning to fall gracefully to the ground. Dozens of migrating birds moving about in the tree canopy requiring binoculars to distinguish their identity. Chickadees, warblers, robins, thrushes, woodpeckers too. The sky is gray overcast today and winter in not far away.
President Bush has opened the door for more logging roads in the Tongass National Forest in S.E.Alaska More important things to be concerned about than HDTV.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Clearing in our woods

This week I watched the property next to ours being cleared for construction of a new home. Watching the Bulldozer destroy native riparian habitat was difficult for me because when river habitat is lost the watershed is impacted. The impact on the river may be relatively small as a result of one house but as the numbers grow the quality of the river system declines. I know that there will be greater storm water runoff delivered more rapidly to the stream and less ground water recharge during dry periods. Flooding will be more severe in areas that have been denuded of the natural "sponge" affect made possible by native plants.
The multitude of native plants and their roots and the soil gives the flood plain time to absorb the excess water slowing the streams velocity during high water.
I have met our new neighbors and they are very nice people concerned about their impact on the environment and have told me that they plan to plant new native trees and shrubs to mitigate the loss due to clearing. That is great news and I look forward to having them as our neighbors as well as fellow Watershed Stewards: The time my wife and I have spent watering all of the native vegetation that we planted on our property seems more significant now than it did previously. We will continue to plant native plants and remove non native plants such as Japanese Knotweed, Meadow Knapweed, English Ivy, Blackberry. etc. If invasive plants are left to grow unimpeded we will lose what we've come to love and find ourselves living in a entirely different place. At this very moment I hear the sound of the well drillers next door and realize that it is the second step in the process of constructing a new home here in our own little piece of paradise. Soon there will be other activities such as putting in a septic system and after that pouring the foundation and finally the hammers which will no doubt give our Pilieated woodpeckers a run for their money. I have made up my mind to learn something from this experience rather than waste energy fretting over it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Mink amongst us

By nature I've kept myself busy while my wife enjoys an expense paid trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. She will surely have many photos of one of the most unique areas in the world in regards to wildlife. One of my former professors at S.F.State University Robert Bowman did his Phd thesis on the Anatomical adaptations of the Finches of the Galapagos Islands. I missed a lifetime opportunity to go with him and another student Steve Billib to the Galapagos because my wife was about to have our child and I had two jobs. I've been doing the "Honey do" list including painting the bathroom watering the plants, etc. On Sunday I took a break and while watching Sergio hand the British Open to Padrig Harrington I caught a flash of movement out of the corner of my eye on our deck. My cats were nestled in my lap and as I rose to see what it was they flew towards the sliding glass door. Wow I thought that is a Mink on our deck and I was a mere 6 feet away from it. It's chocolate brown fir glistened in the late morning light as it hopped in a undulating manor across the deck and back as if it was lost. It continued toward the grassy area between our kitchen and a small pond and then disappeared under the deck. I have been privileged to observe a mink previously out by the river but it was a very pleasant surprise to see a Mink on our deck.
We have had other wild animals on our deck including a Long-tailed weasel, Racoons, Opossum,
Douglas Squirrels, Gray Squirrels, Cottontail rabbits, and several species of birds. I have been reading a very interesting blog at by an old classmate in Biology named Dr. Chris Wemmer who is a retired Smithsonian Scientist. . Now I have a infra red remote camera on my wish list.
Back to my chores and looking forward to seeing my sweet lady soon and hearing
all her exciting observations of animals and children in remote villages of Ecuador.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Reflections on the river

This beautiful evening sitting on my bench above the river I see reflections of tall Douglas firs straight as poles lining the opposite bank and clearly reflected as a sureal painting on the moving surface of the water. The trees and their reflection are mesmerizing and my mind tuned to reflect on the past. I've noticed that as I grow older there is a sense of urgency to record my thoughts and philosophy of the "river" of life.
Like a river, life provides opportunities and many forks which as Yogi Berra has suggested I have always taken . All of the choices I made have inevitably led me to where I am today. My only regret is that there wasn't a shorcut because the river of life was rough at times and even capsized me more than once. I am convinced that each event or period in our life must occur before we meet the one, the only one.

That's the person who comes into your life and changes it for ever for the better. A real friend who accepts you for who you are unconditionally. I found that person 19 years ago but didn't realize it until a couple of years later. This year we will celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary but to me it has been a lifetime with my best friend and sweet wife.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Sights and sounds by the river

This evening while sitting on our bench above the river I enjoy watching Cedar Waxwings as they fly out from their Alder perches to catch insects on the wing. I marvel at their striking yellow tail tips and glossy "wax-like" brilliant red tips on their flight feathers. They remind me of flycatcher's in a hurry and their descent as graceful as a butterfly. The river has voices like a crowd of people in the distance softened by smooth extemporaneous jazz. This moment interrupted by the distant sound of a loud motorcycle on the road above. I feel fortunate to have the ability to see and hear the marvelous wonders of nature and would have great difficulty if I had to chose between losing one or the other. Hegman wrote: "Sound always ends in silence, but silence never ends". It would be a grim life without the sound of birds singing, water rushing over rocks, smooth jazz or my wife's sweet voice saying "I love you". On the other hand without vision I would have never experienced the sight of her beautiful face, the sun going down on the Colorado river, the amazing heart-shaped face of the Barn owl or the smile on a childs face. My thoughts are interrupted by a Great blue heron flying low above the waters surface as the sun slowly disappears below the horizon leaving behind a golden glow on the river rocks. The rattling sound of a Kingfisher and the mellow coo of a Mourning dove reminds me that I am privileged to have both sight and hearing and would rather give up a limb or two instead. Now as I prepare to walk my path to the house a coolness fills the air and the Canary reed grass glowing in the sunset dances to the tune of the river's wind.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Summer fishing on the East Fork

Well this is my first attempt at this so don't expect a book. I live on one of the last remainig wild rivers in the state of Washington. However, this time of the year the river is extremely low and temperatures are high. I don't fish on our property this time of the year although there are a few Summer Steelhead in the deeper pools. Today I chose to carve a fish out of Sugar Pine and stay cool in the shelter of my cave like shop. It will be a nice 15 inch Rainbow Trout when finished that will be donated most likely to the Columbia Land Trust for their annual auction.
They do great work buying land along the Columbia river and it's tributaries. The land is important natural riparian habitat which is saved from development. Outside my shop I hear the adult Robins keeping track of their newly fledged young and Swainson's Thrushes whistling at each other. It's great to be alive!