Sunday, April 19, 2009

A new direction

For those of you who occasionally stop by to see if I'd posted anything, thank you. And, I will continue to post items up here, but in my blogging experiments, I realize that many of the topics I try to cover here tend to be big and heavy, if not for the format, then quite possibly for me.

However, I've been tossing about an idea in my head for a few months, one I believe lends itself more easily to blogging. This idea first occurred to me as a joke, one I pondered while hunting a local haunt, but it soon morphed into something that I feel I can work with.

So, if you get a chance and seem interested, check out my new blog, Lands on the Margin.

You see, I don't come from the same outdoors tradition common to many folks in the outdoors media. Growing up, I never hunted preserves or paid for a fishing guide. We didn't know how to do it, and we didn't have the money for both travel and guide services (plus tips, I'm guessing). We camped in Yosemite National Park exactly one time.

Where I developed my passion for the outdoors was in those lands where access was free or very cheap, and often fairly close. We fished a local county park for bluegill, crappie and bass. We hunted a friend's property, or we drove up and combined our vacations into camping, fishing and hunting trips in the National Forest or BLM lands. We went spotlighting (not jacklighting) at night along county roads looking for interesting animals.

On these marginal lands we saw beautiful and rare species, amazing displays and behaviors, and other people, too. We met others like us who appreciated these spaces. Personally, I developed a patriotism that includes, as a right, access to free and public lands.

We also saw terrible degradation from people who cared nothing for the great responsibilities that come from such a right. Refrigerators, ovens, the carcasses from burned-out cars, and worse, tossed in these places because somebody didn't want to pay the $10 at the county dump.

Like I said, the idea to write about these lands started as a joke in my head: Answering the question I posed to myself about how I can uniquely and substantially contribute to a community I love. I thought, "Well, as a young-ish white man from the countryside, the only unique perspective I can bring is a conversation about hunting on marginal lands." Our marginal lands are used and abused, in good ways and in bad, yet they have no voice. Over time, I started to realize that, in fact, I might be able to provide a place for information about these lands, the opportunities they provide and the threats they face.

So that is what I will do. Please head on over there if you get a minute, and offer some advice or perspective or your experiences in these strange and interesting places. I'd really appreciate the help and ideas.

The other day, I went fishing at the Barge Canal in West Sacramento. There, I saw some teenage boys, some fishing, and some just goofing off. As I was leaving, I realized that I was seeing some form of me a few years back. One guy hissed at another, "stop throwing stuff in the water, you'll scare the fish!" That would have been me. I passed some old carpet remnants that some idiot had left, and an empty styrofoam container that previously held worms. I also watched a pair of wood ducks splash down, squealing with delight, and watched guys throw their garbage in their truck as they wolfed down some sandwiches before launching a boat for the evening. I passed a black bass on the heavy side of 3 lbs., spawning among the tules.

Yeah, I wanna write about this.


Phillip said...

I like the new idea!

I started from the same humble beginnings, and for the most part I'm still not that far removed.

Can't wait to see what you come up with!

Josh said...

Thanks, Phillip! I hope this will give me the opportunity to post more regularly, and include pictures!

I'm not asking for secret hunting/fishing spots, but I'd love to hear ides from you about good places that fit this description.

native said...

Wonderful endeavor to embark upon Josh!
The great thing writing about the outdoors is the fact that you will be compared to the likes of: Hemmingway,Roosevelt,Frost, Muir or Capstick.

Truly aspiring and also inspiring!

Rebecca said...

I like it! I was just thinking about this the other day because I wanted to take the boy to just do some birdwatching and nature spotting. There aren't that many places anymore like that. They're all blocked off, signs posted, garbage around, etc. All because of the refrigerator and beer bottle leavers. Gack!

I also think you should post some pics on this blog of your garden, ducks, flies, etc. Good should share!