A Return to the Simple Things

I’ve often preached here and elsewhere that those of us who appreciate natural things should all be sure to get out and explore our immediate surrounding thoroughly before rushing off to the Outer

Banks, the Rocky Mountains, or Europe. We should learn to value all the habitat that surrounds us and not just dream of the beauty and rich experiences of far-off lands. And yet, I haven’t always followed my own advice.

There’s a muddy stream winding through the northern Pittsburgh suburbs and it passes by almost within sight of my back window. And somehow, I’ve almost ignored this water and rushed off to what seemed to be more fertile flows. But I’ve needed simple, short escapes lately and have found what I’ve needed just across the broad parking lot, between the old dike and the freeway. Almost daily, I take my telescoping pole in hand and spend an hour or so prospecting the flow that drains Wexford and Ingomar Pennsylvania before filling North Park Lake and rolling on to the Allegheny River.

It fixes my perspective, often beginning the day with a mind that contemplates the flowing water and the wild things that find refuge along its banks. It’s winter and no-one else is fishing so the water is mine alone. The birds that fill the thicket on either side seem surprised to see any creature on two legs. I pull in unsuspecting chubs from time to time but this is just extra. My fishing remains as simple as it get – a pole with short line tied to the end, a single hook and bait. And another day begins with some wildness among untamed creatures here in the heart of suburbia.

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