Lake Fausse Point, Louisiana

April 4th, 2005

Wish Me Luck

The first window of opportunity to get on the water this year might be opening. Repeat: might.

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 seventies.

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 lives.

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 www.iuniverse.com, Amazon.com, 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.


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