The first window of opportunity to get
on the water this year might be opening.
Wish me luck.
I may - may! - get my truck back today. However,
a cool front is coming through later today packing
20-25 mph winds through Saturday. This will surely
put the fish down. But the forecast Sunday calls
for light and variable winds and temps in the
With me luck.
Of course, by the time you kind folks read
this, it will either have or have not happened.
But wishing me luck is still beseeched.
Geez, but I'm getting desperate, ya know? Here
I am, first of April, and haven't put the boat
in the water yet. Folks on the street here in
town are patting me on the back about the
publication of my book, saying things like,
"Wow, you wrote a book about fishing, huh?"
"No," I reply honestly. "I wrote a book about
my life, my heritage, wooden boats and fishing."
"Yeah, but it's mostly about fishing, right?"
"Well, it's a lot about fishing."
"Boy, I hear they're tearing 'em up right now in
the basin," they say. "I bet you're in heaven!"
"Go jump off a cliff," I say and stalk off angrily.
What a pathetic year so far. Crazy weather,
crazier incidentals. Gas just hit about $2.15
a gallon here. I'm not sure, but I think the
boat is on empty. However, I do think I filled
the truck up before it got wrecked. Anybody got
a siphon hose?
I sat down last night and tied a few more
Jitterbees, even though I have a box full
of them. I just needed to do it. I polished
the silver on my bamboo rods and dressed
all my lines. I wept a little.
Wish me luck.
Grande Avoille Cove is out there, waiting.
I miss it so much. A recharge for the soul.
I can feel my battery running low. I need
green-black lakewater and cypress stands. I
need Spanish moss and Sawmill Bayou. Catching
fish is a bonus to all this, of course.
When I was a lad, my grandfather and I went
to a river cane patch somewhere. I don't
know the location. It was like a scene from
some jungle movie. Stalks of river cane - that
specific variety that Chitimacha people used
for basketry - was like a forest. The culms
were three or four inches around, and the
canopy of leaves above left no room for
undergrowth. We cut a few into manageable
size and loaded them into his truck, then
sat for a moment drinking cold sodas.
A slight breeze ruffled the canopy above,
making a vaguely rasping, brushing sound
as the bamboo spoke among themselves. There
was a small bayou nearby, soft and still,
and the fallen bamboo leaves were like a
carpet under our feet.
After a long silence, he said to me, "This
is where God lives."
He didn't meant that exact spot, of course.
He meant the entirety of the natural world,
no place and every place. In the rustling
of bamboo leaves, in the trickle water
flowing into the lake from a rise in the
swamp; in the small bowl of twigs where
birds nested, in the gossamer rays of
sunlight penetrating the overhead cover.
It's very hard to find that particular
variety of cane anymore. Where once it
grew in abundance, it has been largely
obliterated by agricultural chemicals
and land development, by erosion of its
natural wetland environment and by disbelief.
The Chitimacha people were renowned as the
finest basket weavers in the southeast,
perhaps in all the Americas. There's a
very, very small patch of stunted culm I
know of and keep its location to myself.
I visit it in the boat now and then, and
though the stalks are tightly packed and
small, I go there to remember sitting with
my grandfather that day. To go where God
Wish me luck. ~ Roger
It's out! And available now! You can be one of the
first to own a copy of Roger's book. Native Waters: A
Few Moments in a Small Wooden Boat
Order it now from
or Barnes & Noble.com.
Roger will also be giving away three autographed copies to
readers. Stay tuned, for an announcement on the Bulletin
Board on that soon.