Wednesday, August 4, 2010


My plan was to drive down Oak Creek Canyon and see if I could connect with a wild brown trout.

I'm in Flagstaff again this summer to recharge my creative well --- to paraphrase Hemingway. It is suffering from an overdraft. Hanging out in and around the family cabin, and fly fishing Oak Creek, are some of the ways I recharge that well.

As is so often the case when I'm here, first light woke me. Actually, it was the morning air that got my attention and lured me out of a deep sleep. I climbed down the ladder from the loft and put the percolator on the propane burner.

We keep ground coffee in a silver can labeled "tea." I had loaded the can with Late for the Train's North Rim blend. Beyond French Roast, they describe it as Volcanic, like Flagstaff's geology.

While I waited for the water to boil and the coffee to perc, I picked up a copy of a new book I brought along to read on this trip, Shedding Skins. It is an anthology of four contemporary Sioux poets.

The morning passed as I read poems and drank coffee on the porch. The sun rose and warmed the meadow. The aspen and ponderosa pine and bunch grass transpired and the air became pleasantly humid.

When I read a line by Steve Pacheco, the first line of his poem, "The Lower Sioux Rez: Three Scenes," a trickle of creative water started to refill the well.

"I feel I owe something to the blue jays for their loyalty."