Grandfather

by | Jun 2, 2019 | 8 comments

He didn’t fish. He hunted. Wandering over wooded mountains, and whispering through the wheat fields, I followed my grandfather into a broken forest. We climbed over long oaks, and we scaled fallen hemlock trunks to reach the other side of a small stream. My footsteps fell into his. He walked slowly — much slower than a boy’s patience could match. And when my eagerness overtook me, Grandfather turned to force my pause. He leaned in and granted me this wisdom: “Slowly, child. Life’s secrets are in these trees.”

He was gone before my sons were born.

And now, when I enter these forests, these forgotten tramps, miles away from industry and deep inside shaded canyons, the wet moss absorbs my footfalls and silences the mental rush of an average life. These muted and hushed moments are given for remembering — for reaching into the past. And I do remember him. I feel what he felt. Because we share the same blood, the same passions, the same determinate thirst for answers about our craft.

Connected forever, I follow his footsteps.

 

 

 

Grandfather

Domenick Swentosky — from the album,  Afterlife (2008)

Grandfather as you move on through the clouds up to the sky
Won’t you draw a line connecting you to me
Through all that you have taught me and your blood flowing in me
You have left a trail of life I’ll try to follow for me

There was a permanent fall season to his presence
And he taught me to walk softly through the leaves
Saying, “Child if you will only take the time to look around
You will find life’s little secrets among the trees.”

Through the doorway to the forest he would enter
Close his eyes and feel the softness of the ground
With one motion, then another, with the patience of a hunter
He would walk across the mountains and back down

Grandfather as you move on through the clouds up to the sky
Won’t you draw a line connecting you to me
Through all that you have taught me and your blood flowing in me
You have left a trail of life I’ll try to follow for me

His soft voice made a friend of all who met him
And his stories could bring laughter to a crowd
Just the way he’d stop to think, hold a breath, and meet your stare
Made you feel like there was no one else around

Grandfather as you move on through the clouds up to the sky
Won’t you draw a line connecting you to me
Through all that you have taught me and your blood flowing in me
You have left a trail of life I’ll try to follow for me

Forever in motion, forever in motion
Forever in wonder, forever in wonder
Forever in motion, forever in motion
Forever in wonder, forever in wonder

With his bold hands he could build a man a kingdom
But never ask what might be in it for himself
Built a life by never stopping, always learning, always giving
He was a man of such great passion and great wealth

Grandfather as you move on through the clouds up to the sky
Won’t you draw a line connecting you to me
Through all that you have taught me and your blood flowing in me
You have left a trail of life I’ll try to follow for me

 

Photo by Josh Darling

Enjoy the day.
Domenick Swentosky
T R O U T B I T T E N
domenick@troutbitten.com

 

Share This Article . . .

Since 2014 and 600 articles deep
Troutbitten is a free resource for all anglers
Your support is greatly appreciated

– Explore These Post Tags –

Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

More from this Category

Lost Fishing Friends

Lost Fishing Friends

The lost friendship transforms a river bend — the one with the ancient and hollowed-out sycamore — into an active tombstone. The towering tree with the undercut bank becomes a place to remember shared moments of casting into cool waters, where the ghosts of laughter and fond companionship persists.

Seven Days

Seven Days

For those who fish daily, the routine resonates. We are part of the pattern, not mere observers of the design.

We have time to learn and grow, to breathe deep and sigh with satisfaction. We’ve the time to stand tall, to rise from the constant crouch and the intensity of a fisherman, to take in the surroundings, not once, but regularly. It’s the ferns, the sun and the rain, the trout in the water and the birds on the wind. It’s everything . . .

What water type? Where are they eating?

What water type? Where are they eating?

Fast, heavy, deep runs have always been my favorite water type to fish. I can spend a full day in the big stuff. I love the mind-clearing washout of whitewater. No average sounds penetrate it. And the never ending roar of a chunky run is mesmerizing. I also enjoy the wading challenge. The heaviest water requires not just effort, but a constant focus and a planned path to keep you upright and on two feet. Constant adjustment is needed to stay balanced, and one slip or misstep ends up in a thorough dunking. It reminds me of the scaffold work I did on construction crews in my twenties. I always enjoyed being a few stories up, because the workday flew by. When every movement means life or death, you’d better stay focused. I always liked that . . .

The Twenty Dollar Cast

The Twenty Dollar Cast

“Okay, Dad,” Joey bellowed over the whitewater. “Here’s the twenty dollar cast . . .”

His casting loop unfolded and kicked the nymph over with precision. And when the fly tucked into the darkest side of the limestone chunk, Joey kept the rod tip up, holding all extra line off the water. It was a gorgeous drift. And the air thickened with anticipation.

We watched together in silence as Joey milked that drift until the very end. And I think we were both a little surprised when nothing interrupted the long, deep ride of over thirty feet.

“Not this time, buddy,” I told him.

Joey flicked his wrist and repeated the same cast to the dark side of the rock. And because the world is a wonderful place, a no-doubter clobbered the stonefly nymph . . .

Nobody Home | Nobody Hungry

Nobody Home | Nobody Hungry

Nobody home means there’s no trout in the slot you were fishing. And sometimes that’s true. Nobody hungry suggests that a trout might be in the slot but he either isn’t eating, isn’t buying what you’re selling, or he doesn’t like the way you are selling it.

Does it matter? It sure does!

New Structure | Old Structure

New Structure | Old Structure

One of my favorite places in the world is a deeply shaded valley that runs north and south between two towering mountains of mixed hardwoods. The forest floor has enough conifers mixed in to block much of the sunlight, even in the winter. The ferns of spring grow tall, and thick moss is spread throughout. The ground remains soft enough here that all large trees eventually surrender to the valley. When they can no longer support their weight in the soft spongy ground, they fall over, leaving a broken forest of deep greens and the dark-chocolate browns of wet, dead bark. It’s gorgeous.

Fallen timber also dictates the course of this cold water stream. The fresh tree falls force the creek to bend away from the hillside. Rolling water carves away the earth and lays bare the rocks — these stones of time, as Maclean puts it. And when water cuts into a neighboring channel, previously dry for centuries, new river banks are undercut and fresh roots exposed . . .

What do you think?

Be part of the Troutbitten community of ideas.
Be helpful. And be nice.

8 Comments

  1. This reminds me of my grandfather, although his passion was crappie fishing.

    Thanks for bringing up those memories.

    Reply
  2. Thanks for the song, Dom. It’s very moving.

    Reply
    • Or is it a poem? Very touching, hope my grandchildren feel as you did for him.
      And thanks for your blog, Dom. You take our fly fishing to a higher level, learning to slow down and appreciate more than getting the hook in the water.

      Reply
  3. Immense beauty in the story

    Reply
  4. My parents were state department wonks, never around much. My grandfather was my role model. He hunted and fished passionately and tried to teach his only grandson, who didn’t regret not paying attention as often as he should have until it was too late. Nicely said, Dom.

    Reply
  5. As a 73 year old grandfather, I know he’d be very proud of what he instilled in you, his grandson. Wonderful.

    Reply
  6. You are a poet. Thank you for the moment and the memories.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recent Articles

Recent Posts

Pin It on Pinterest