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Temperatures rising

Temperatures rising

The coming spring is warming, though barely unfrozen, like the pond the first time I try to go swimming after ice-out, when I know if I’d just jump in it would be fine for the rest of summer but not yet so I walk in slowly, and feel the blue slide up my legs. One day, probably soon, I’ll just jump in all the way and be fine. Not yet.

No strangers

No strangers

Funny how we remember some things and not others, especially parts of the same story. Like my first deer hunt. Dad and Mom hunted every year on Roy Stewart’s orchards, but that was adult sport; kids not invited. Then one day Mom handed me her rifle and a bullet and sent me forth.

Moving “stuff”

Moving “stuff”

What is it with the female of our species that, when she is overcome with  a special kind of ambition that can only be satisfied by cleaning up piles of “stuff” collected by her mate. It happened a week or so ago with my spouse. She suddenly decided the garage needed reorganizing. Translation: Seek out piles of stuff of questionable future need. Either it goes to my heirs, the recycling center, or placed on one of those flea-market apps that…

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Wandering upon a kid

Wandering upon a kid

““Your belly’s fat,” the youngster observed. “You having a baby?” “Nope, I answered. “But I have been working on that a long time.” The kid’s name was Haven; he was five years old, and learning to use his powers of observation. How does one complain about that?

A near-record memory

A near-record memory

“Long before trolling had anything to do with an Internet that had not yet been invented, Dad loved to troll the lake in front of our home in a 16-foot boat with a 5.5-horsepower Chris-Craft motor idled back to provide only enough power to steer the boat. On any normal summer Sunday morning, while Mom and kids were at church in town, Dad would be in his pew at the back of the Skowhegan boat, puffing Phillip Morris cigarettes and…

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The most graceful bird

The most graceful bird

An eagle is majestic, beautifully decorated, lord of all he surveys. He is not always hunting, but even when he is not, he is cataloging possibilities against the time when he desires a snack. Wild turkeys are utilitarian. Ben Franklin, according to a 2013 article in Smithsonian Magazine, wrote in a letter to his daughter he thought the wild turkey “a true original Native of America … a little vain and silly (but nonetheless) a bird of courage.” Some have…

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Fishing season opened this week

Fishing season opened this week

Fishing season started this week. It was too darn cold to brave the squadrons of fisher-folk who’d be gathered in all the most productive places, though I did buy my license. When I was a lad, we were one of two families living year-round on the lake. Some summer folks from town had their weekend-only cottages in clusters; between the clusters were large trees that passing storms had pushed into the water, and lily pad farms where the broad leaves…

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Frozen lakes, guns and contracts

Frozen lakes, guns and contracts

Wind blowing across the frozen lake has carved a thin layer of snow into hard-packed ripples, like white mud that has flowed down a hill during spring thaw. The granddaughter and her young friend make tracks across the ripples, then take running starts to slide across the ice where the snow has blown clear and polished the glassine surface.

A seriously big togue

A seriously big togue

Fishing season opened this weekend past. I did not go, for several reasons unnecessary to list here, but the day did pull out images of fishing seasons of my youth. Being a boy with little patience for sitting still for long hours, I spent most of my fishing time alone with a homemade spooning rig or a spinning rod and reel set and store-bought lures. Dad, was more into dragging a two-inch piece of silver metal wrapped partially around a…

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Do we wait for the river to die to call it ill?

Do we wait for the river to die to call it ill?

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission reports its data collection funding has been cut, while more than 2,000 miles of waterways still suffering from mine drainage from coal mines abandoned nearly a century ago. And increasing numbers of smallmouth bass are being found cancerous and dying in the 100 miles of river below Sunbury, PA (near the Shamokin Dam). Meanwhile, PA DEP Secretary Mike Krancer and PA Fish and Boat Commission head John Arway continue to spar over whether the river…

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So many colors in a rainbow

So many colors in a rainbow

Google has started a new, free, travel opportunity. It’s called the Google Art Project, and offers young people of all ages opportunity to visit places many will never have opportunity to see – for instance, Freer Gallery of Art (Smithsonian), Denver (Colorado) Art Museum, Hong Kong Museum of Art. Point your browser to www.googleartproject.com and start admiring. Art, one of my college professors said, is the history of the tribe. To which I add, that and fiction. In both, the…

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Kids need (outer) space for dreams

Kids need (outer) space for dreams

I went for a walk in the woods one day with the granddaughters, in search of the source of a creek which flows from the county where I live in south-central Pennsylvania, across the state line into Maryland, and joins the Monocacy River east of Thurmont. A paper company once owned the particular piece of forest, 2,500 acres of the first tree farm in the state that gave birth to the nation’s forest conservation movement. There was a time when…

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