“You Always Do This”

 Norma, a friend who lives down the street, won a kayak in a raffle. She’d canoed as a kid, but had never been in a kayak, so she asked me to take her out and give her a few tips. Her request coincided with me trying to get Manyu and Clare out on the water more...

Reno Bottoms

Tuesday I put my kayak in at Reno Bottoms for a day of fishing. The Bottoms are a Mississippi River backwater just below the dike at Lock and Dam No. 8. I often walk the dike with my family and every time tell myself to come back with a boat. Tuesday was the first...

A Mink Skittered Across the Trail

Ever since the young robins on my front porch fledged, I’ve been sitting out there to write. Kitchen chair, card table, laptop, legal pad, gel roller pen, and coffee.  I work for as long as the writing goes well. Sometimes I am there for as long as four hours. Usually...

Sojourners and Freewheels

I know Emerson’s Essays have something to tell me. Unfortunately I do not understand them. Every two or three years I read one or two to see if my ability to comprehend them has improved. Last week when I tried to read “Self-Reliance” and “The Oversoul,” the words...

Dead Aquatic Rodents on the Upper Iowa

On Friday my daughter Clare, friends Pat and Buzz, and I paddled a stretch of the Upper Iowa River. We chose the Upper Iowa because hardly anyone ever paddles it. Decorah is the only city within fifty miles, and with dozens of other rivers in the Driftless Region to...