Life Within a Pandemic

The view of Red Rock’s bluffs from the trail to the Ash Grove in  Spring Mountain State Park.

Hopefully I got your attention with some scenic photos of places visited during this awful time of pandemic horror. For my daughter and I, these were necessary diversions designed to help us remember that life, given to us by the Lord, is meant to be lived. Lived in joyful hope, not in fear and worry. By design, our lives are to be relational, both with the Lord and with each other. It is unnatural for us to be shut away from our loved ones, regulated to phone calls and FaceTime. I can tell you that my wife and I long to touch, smell, and cuddle with our grandchildren. While the separation is said to be temporary, it is not what any parent or grandparent would want.  

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2014: No Shortage of Good Days Here

The north-western ridge of the Spring Mountains and its mirror image on the pond.

https://edmitchelloutdoors.com/2017/06/05/fly-rod-reel-magazine-done/I am a John Gierach fan, have been ever since I discovered his “Sporting Life” column inside the back cover of “Fly Rod & Reel” magazine. I started reading him about the time that Nick Lyons stopped his “Seasonable Angler” column in the identical location inside “Fly Fisherman” magazine (at least that’s my recollection of the timing). I now own about five of his books, which are really compilations of essays on angling for trout and a bunch of other things to do outdoors. I will own all his books someday, but for now I have enough to re-read them every year or so.

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Brotherly Love on Dacey Reservoir

My son Doug and brother Bruce, launching into Dacey Reservoir (Grant Range in the background)

The Greeks have four words to describe love based on their observations on the subject. There is their word éros (ἔρως) to describe “physical” passionate love that carries a sensual desire and longing; a more self-centered “erotic” driving force. Then they have philia (φιλία) to describe a “mental” love, an affectionate regard or friendship that exhibits the give and take seen in families and friendship (the root of Philadelphia, city of brotherly love, originates from philia). Their word storge (στοργή) describes “affection” as in a parent’s natural affection for its offspring. Most importantly, they have agápe (ἀγάπη) to describe a “spiritual” love, a true sense of unconditional love that is selfless; it gives and expects nothing in return. Agápe is the word used in the Bible’s “love chapter,” 1 Corinthians 13; it is a sacrificial and spiritual love. I believe all four words are used in the Bible, but perhaps a more scholarly Bible reader will post a correction to that assumption.  Anyway, the point is that in context each clarifies what God was saying in the Holy Scripture.

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Cold Creek Fall Stocking Completed

Brian fishing Cold Creek at sunset

Brian and I made time Thursday afternoon for a half-day trip to Cold Creek. The last time we fished together was in May 2010. As I recall, on just his second fly-fishing excursion Brian out fished me that day. That was a very good day.

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Cold Springs Reservoir – Wayne Kirch

Doug tubing Cold Springs, Grant Range in distant background

I admit to enjoying fishing alone. When I am by myself I feel as though I am in control of all the decisions. I can decide to fish shorter or longer, stay overnight or not, even to change destinations without consulting a fishing partner. Of course, I only “feel” as though I am in control. When traveling alone and making changes to the “plan” I always check in with my wife, both to keep her informed of my location and travel itinerary as well as to ask permission when such changes affect her expectations of my presence at home.  

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Evolution of a Fly Fisherman in the Mojave Desert

My good friend Bill fighting a Lahontan cutthroat on Martis Creek inlet. Note the trout porpoising under the leverage of Bill’s fly rod.

In prior blogs I’ve written about the allure fly angling has had on me since my early youth. It is rooted in New Hampshire. My earliest memories are of our home on Benton Road in Hooksett, New Hampshire. Benton is a rural-like road, and Hooksett is just north of Manchester. Our backyard was the New England woods all the way to the Merrimack River. The Merrimack is a large, powerful river, and its upper reaches still support Atlantic salmon as part of the Merrimack River’s Anadromous Fish Restoration Program. There is a small brook, Benton Brook, that is north of our old house towards the Londonderry Turnpike. The brook drains into the Merrimack, and on the way it skirts along the backside of commercial property on the west side of the Turnpike. One of those properties has a little man-made reservoir that contained stocked rainbow trout back in the early 1960s. As the crow flies, the Merrimack was less than a half-mile from our house, and the meandering course of the little brook was about a mile long from where it passed under Benton Road. Also behind our house, in the thick of the Merrimack Valley woodlands, were other shallow ponds and swamps. I recall skating on Maureen’s Pond on double-rail skates in the winter, and that was without adult supervision. As a child I never realized how close we lived to the mighty river; the thick woods made it seem so far away and mysterious.  Images of my brothers Neal and Bruce emerging from the woods with water moccasin snakes, cottontail rabbits, grey squirrels, and even a porcupine are still vivid in my memory.  At the edge of our property, abutting the woods, my father had a dog kennel.  Dad raised Weimaraners, training them for bird hunting.  We had a chicken coop where we harvested fresh eggs, and a garden that grew fresh melons and vegetables.  I recall the wonderful cucumber sandwiches mom would slice up, as well as the trouble I got into from secretly dipping wild rhubarb in the sugar bowl, the pink stain being the convicting evidence.  I may be suffering from selective memory or romanticism, but I think that was a wonderful way to start a life, and I’m thankful for those beginnings. 

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Haymeadow Reservoir – Nye County, Nevada

The velvety look of sage in springtime from Haymeadow Reservoir

Brian has finished his first year at UNLV and is awaiting the end of the primary school year before he starts full time as a YMCA summer camp counselor. He’s also scheduled to start summer school in a couple of weeks; he’s trying to get a head start on a five-year engineering degree. So he has just a few weeks to relax before his summer gets busy.  And with our Budget Hearing looming next week I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to take a day, or more accurately an afternoon, to introduce Brian to the trout at Wayne Kirch.

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Anderson Reservoir – Fish Lake National Forest

Father-son fishing duo

My sons, Evan and Brian, were lined up for an over-night fishing trip to Utah. We had not decided where in Utah, but the Red Creek trip on July 7th was not what I hoped it would be. And although Panguitch was great, it was too technical for a teaching trip for Evan. After giving it some thought I opted to take the boys, Brian and Evan, to Fish Lake National Forest just east of Beaver, Utah. There are numerous lakes such that if one was slow there was another just up the road. And, being a farther drive from Las Vegas there should be less people.

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Tom Vincent, Best in Show!

Tom clutching Best in Show award 

My son, Tom Vincent, wins yet another art award!

Pardon my pride, but Tom was awarded “Best in Show” for his oil-on-wood-panel work titled “Ashton Taylor”. This was a juried art show for students of the College of Southern Nevada (CSN), and it included a $250 prize… wow!

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Hermosa Beach & Anaheim, California

Ashton, Tom, Evan, Brian, Denise, me, and foster children awaiting table at Blue Bayou

Those of you who know Denise and me also know that we were fostering two small children. For the sake of anonymity I will refrain from using names, but our friends and relatives know of whom I speak.

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