Here it is; middling of May and on my yearly migration from Oregon to Colorado, doing all the things that compose my (writing) life. The Book of Cold Mountain, winner of the 2016 Blue Light Book Award, is hitting Amazon, Ingram, Barnes and Noble and some local and familiar haunts just as I'm doffing my waders and putting on my guiding hat for the summer.
I am especially grateful to Johanna Mueller for allowing her beautiful prints to appear within these poems.To Barbara Reese who's house I stayed in during the time I was writing most of this manuscript and guiding fly-fishing trips. And to the Carbondale Poetry Co-op, especially Tony Alcantara, who I can always count on for a grateful word scouring.
So where to go from here? As described by Joe Riis in the short biopic "Joe" found on The Adventure Journalwebsite, "Those animals that migrate, the wildest ones, they're the ones that define the edges of an ecosystem."
If there are any edges to the ecosystem of my life, they are defined by water, especially rivers. Mountains, where most rivers begin. And friendships with other migrators; poets, fly-fishers, teachers, and fools (in the foolishest and most zen sense of being one).
As the first poem in The Book of Cold Mountain says "This longing/ to immerse in rivers. What of it? And now,/ year after year, migration. How long? The things/ we love most in life are never ours. Why not?"
Just yesterday, fly-fishing with my buddy Nic on the Jack's Fork River in southern(ish) Missouri, watching gar dance over each other. And by June 1st hunkering down in Carbondale, CO taking out the first clients of the year on trout trips. And finally, when mid-September rolls around again, I'll be back in Oregon, steelhead fishing and working with Wallowa County's youths.
What is your migration? What is your Cold Mountain? What is the longing that leads you along the edges of your life?