Archive for September, 2015

Sep 26 2015

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Walt Franklin’s New Book

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BLAM front coverI have just released Walt Franklin’s new book, Beautiful Like a Mayfly, under the Wood Thrush Books imprint. As most of you probably know by now, I’m a big fan of his, having published his work repeatedly in years past. In 2014, I reprinted his collection of fly-fishing essays, River’s Edge, thus assuring that it would stay in print. This newer work complements that older one.

Beautiful Like a Mayfly is both a travel narrative and a collection of nature essays. Even though it spans four decades, Franklin is reluctant to call it a memoir. Rightly so. It’s more a celebration of life lived simply: roaming through Greece and Germany, fly-fishing out west and here in the Northeast, and engaging the world as both a naturalist and a conservationist while always keeping a watchful eye for songbirds. And Franklin gives it all to us with generous helpings of humor, erudition and insight, per usual.

I couldn’t be happier about publishing this. While I’ve been busy cultivating an online bookselling business this past summer, I’ve pushed this project ahead, one step at a time. Now here it is, the finished product – a fine addition to the Wood Thrush Books list, and a welcome break from a long parade of self-publications.

You can get a copy from or by going to the WTB website, If you are new to Franklin’s work and want to sample it first, check out his blog, RivertopRambles. He posts there regularly.



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Sep 15 2015

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Between Seasons

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town forest pondIn the middle of the workday, I load my dog Matika into the car and drive to the town forest just a few miles outside of Saint Albans. Cooped up for several days running, Matika needs to get outside and stretch her legs. Quite frankly, so do I.

The trail is still damp from yesterday’s daylong rain, but the sun shines brightly through the forest canopy. I break a sweat in a manner of minutes. Summer lingers like an unwelcome guest at the end of a party, despite the fact that the trees are starting to turn.

Not far from the parking lot, I come upon a small pond with a few birdhouses around it to encourage avian habitation. I stop for a moment to take in the juxtaposition of summer heat and the rusted leaves of a couple red maples. It’s a win/win situation as far as I see things. I like autumn just as much as fall.

Continuing along the trail, I notice blue asters in bloom. That’s a between-season wildflower to be sure, just as comfortable in summer heat as autumn coolness. Seeing it reminds me of my long September hike through the Adirondacks a few years back. Since then I haven’t been able look at blue asters without smiling. They are denizens of the deep woods in late summer and early fall, even though they grow pretty much everywhere.

The smell of the forest in September – that’s what I like most about this time of year. It’s a dry, earthy fragrance with just a hint of floral sweetness. It’s as if the forest is satisfied with itself. Once again the growing season has been a success. Now there is only this pleasant coasting towards colder, darker days.

And yet I am not complacent. Wildness stirs within me with each step I take. Even though this is only a lunch hour hike, I hunger for a much longer excursion into the woods. Soon, very soon, I hope – before the snow flies.



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Sep 04 2015

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Cooling Out

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Version 2Judy said I should go into the woods overnight. She’s been around me for 30 years so she knows better than I do what I need. Between publishing, book promo, and my online bookselling, I’m going to be very busy this fall. Best to get out while I can.

I packed up a few essentials, loaded my dog Matika into the car, and headed for a mountain brook where, surprisingly enough, I’ve never camped before. I followed a trail a mile back, until it veered away from the brook. Then I bushwhacked upstream. Sweating profusely in an unseasonably hot afternoon, I looked for a pool at least the size of a bathtub. There I would make camp and dunk by overheated body.

I struggled up the steep, rocky ravine nearly an hour, until the brook was a mere trickle. Then it suddenly appeared: one of the biggest pools I’ve seen on any mountain brook in a long while – thirty feet across. But there was no good place to camp.  There was nothing even close to flat. I pitched my tarp on the overgrown remnant of an old woods road not far away, calling that home for the night. Then I stripped off my sweat-soaked clothes and went for a swim. Matika waded along the edge of the pool, getting her belly wet. That was good enough for her.

After cooling out, I settled into camp for the night. Building a small fire then cooking on the sloping ground was a little tricky. My things kept rolling away. Sleeping was even trickier. Matika and I gradually slid downhill through the course of the night. By morning I was in her place and she was no longer beneath the tarp. Poor dog! But it was worth it. A pool that big in such a wild and beautiful setting is the stuff of dreams.



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