Middle River Dispatches is a gumbo of posts about fly-fishing, conservation, politics and days afield.

When you walk through the woods

Many years ago when I was contemplating my own view of religion, divine beings and spirituality my father gave me a poem, When you walk through the woods. The poem speaks of the things you see, hear and feel as you walk through the woods and realize those things are not of the hand of man.

The poem as it was know in my family, became a touchstone for me as it helped define my love for the wild places. Even today when I take my fly rod and venture up some remote blue line stream I recall portions of that poem.

The poem got new life for me yesterday.

My friend Chris Hunt who pens the excellent Eat More Brook Trout blog has posted a truly delightful story, God and Fly Fishing, about his recent appointment to oversee Christian education in his parish.

But after a bit of reflection, I agreed to do the job, largely because I think there a lot of people like me out there who don’t necessarily buy into the Biblical aspect of religion, but who value the overarching message of the faith that asks for good deeds, a life well-lived and a charitable heart.

And we get a sip of wine on Sunday mornings to take the edge off.

He goes on to make the connection to fly-fishing that speaks to many of us.

I’m not sure how much credence my priest put in my carefully crafted answers about how my faith and my fly fishing are often one in the same. I think it’s kitschy and probably a bit disingenuous to say that I’m closest to God when I’m fishing, but it’s not far from the truth, either. A lot of anglers—especially backcountry anglers who loathe the idea of fishing along the road when other options are available, or who don’t care for the idea of elbow-to-elbow fishing along some crowded stretch of river—know exactly what I mean.

Do your self a favor and give it a read…


  1. I can relate to this.

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