Daily Bread

Outdoor Words. Creative Thinking. Journalism.

The Art of Staying Lost

The Art of Staying Lost.

It happens in your 20’s but you don’t know its happening. It is in this era of simplicity, soft edges, and thrill that the lost of life is in its forming. It is the time when the heart grows to love learning, independence, and grace—the trilogy of a healthy soul. And it is in this nest, where at the time feels so earthly encompassing, that the vastness of land and the verdant world that stretches out from your very soul seems as attainable as anything.

I spoke with one of my fellow classmates this summer, Silas Streeter, a brilliant honors placed mathematics and environmental studies double major, Outdoor Program guide, and Outing Club President. I was calling him to simply catch up. I actually had the great fortune of living with Silas and over 100 more Laurentians in Jackson, WY during the winter of 2014. He asked how I was doing. I told him I’d just starting working for a marketing company in Troy, NY. Silas of course responded with genuine regards. I then asked him the same question. Knowing well what I was getting into and expecting the glorious response of mountain biking, hiking, camping, fishing, and climbing, he responded— “Maegie is working a lot, Carl is doing four ten-hour days, I’m at the bike shop, but for the most part we’re all still staying lost.” He chuckled. There was a small silence on my end. That phrase echoed in my head. “Staying Lost.” It was in that moment I knew what he meant. I knew that Silas, and everyone else out there were following a dream a dream that begins in the soul not in the imagination.

The imagination can dream anything. Flying is certainly on everyone’s list. There is teleporting, status and fame, wild worlds of color and light, peace and tranquility, mythical creatures, magic underwater people, foreign planetary civilizations, etc. The list goes on, endlessly, imaginatively. Then there is this imagination of the soul; it takes a bit more thinking to develop but it is the innermost drive to follow ones heart, to never stop learning, to live in thrill and love and excitement. To always search for newness in things and to maintain friendships that encourages a deeper even fuller exploration of the souls imagination. It is the type of imagination that doesn’t have a cap, it feels natural, becomes an inner compass, it is the type of imagination you listen to, not make up, it is an orb of joviality and youth, it circles around your world like thimble in orbit—you know its there but you never find it, you just follow it because it is. This is staying lost.

Staying lost focuses more on the excitement of looking rather than the problem of the loss. It makes being lost a drive, and feeling of freedom for discovery. It encourages looking, discovering, looking some more, finding, and looking again. What are you looking for, you don’t know but there is nothing telling you to stop. There is never a dull moment. It enhances every other aspect of your life. Your career always gets better because one successful and positive building block stacks on another successful and positive building block. Your relationships naturally get better because of your unparalleled ability to keep excitement at the forefront of your thinking. Things stay new and fresh. The art of staying lost is in the looking. How do you do it? You focus on what matters. You focus on you.

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Fall, Cleveland to Chautauqua

Fall, Cleveland to Chautauqua

Where the hill and threaded bobbin lie
through the green and hardened boughs and why
what yarn has come to lay and lie
in the leafy graves of an umbered sky
the choral banks and carmine eye
of the cardinal that sits in disguise
the golden finch that floats and glides
on a gilded limb to claim his prize
the posy wren that shakes and shys
then falls to her blushing bed and dies
hums a whistling hymn and sighs
out to the burnt sierra dries
the honey aspen hearted skies
the dovey thrush that fall and fly
on the patterns of her poetry

A Perennial Soul

A Perennial Soul

When the pink and floral sun falls through the blue peaked windows of the Victorian home that proudly stands behind the Lake Road of Frederick Law Olmstead’s Point Chautauqua, and when the Miller Bell Tower chimes through the lacy morning fog with its Westminster throng eight strikes and a song from a mile away, the day it lightens, it blesses, it marries.  What leaving Eden does to a man, it drives him wild, turns him into the umbered, crimsoned, and canaried carpet of fall, heavies him into the vineyard bounty, dries his soul into the drifting wood, and breaks him into blossoms.  What harms the man most is his perennial soul.  His intrinsic eagerness to bloom in front of even the ugliest nouns.  Season to season and forever on he fruits in the misanthropic air of natures kind, for what devil makes his garden home and what god claims invisibility?  Nature is the father of the man, and uph ‘isted, he unfolds into heaven his blossomy eyes.

Hardhead, Meathead, Bed-head, Pothead, or Steelhead?

Hardhead, Meathead, Bed-head, Pothead, or Steelhead?

Meat Head: I am such a good fisherman!  the best, no one is better than me! 

Hardhead: This fly worked for me last year, I am not going to tie on anything but this fly!

Bed-Head: (yawn), wait, can I make an omelet before we leave?

Pothead: Dude, when did the season close?

Steelhead: I’m hot, bright colors, yummm.Image

The Reliquary Urn; For Joseph Wright of Derby

The Reliquary Urn; For Joseph Wright of Derby

Oh the Riviera grey
funerals, blackbirds, and the day
by stiff and stiffening stems that ledge
the farms and fields of gnarled beds.
With secrets quiet still and buried
hiding ghosts or locked and worried

by engines, cities, the Paris lights
when candles did more than just illuminate the night;
but the table, in the windmill, by the mantel and vase
and the children who crept in the garden at dark,
in a wintery spring when the wet lambs mourn,
and the altar where Cain and Abel were born.

The light of the sky came in twenty lashing;
to the red in the mere and the gold in the lark wings,
to the babe in the wash of the round copper basin,
and the ring that hung off the neck of the maiden,
to the ribbon starlings that weave in the dusk,
and the stable lamp when the door blinks shut.

Off the rivers windows and glossy oaks,
and the morning willow whose bird it woke,
to the candling fog, burning and swift,
and the sharpening grass of morning’s lift,
to the drunkard monarchs shouldering through
the dampened shade of the afternoon,

where the oxen bends his ebony knees
by quiet cricket and quiet breeze
to the mimsy rolling and palleted wheat
where The Painter blends the evening heat
and pulls the myriad strings of day
through the purple cloak and clay

that crawl amongst the forlorn shade
and creep away as darkness fades
into the burning leaves of morrow
and the darkened homes of ash and sorrow
awoke within the field towns
and heard a voice that rang aloud

Alas the Lord his cherries down
the light, it heeds us through the ground.

Of Brook and Bread Trout

Of Brook and Bread Trout: I

It’s the cool mornings that call out to me to head to the kitchen, sample the breads, croissants, chausson aux pomme, or slide into waders, tie on a dry fly, and play with the hatch on Chautauqua Creek.  My sister is a baker, she knows all about letting different types of dough rise, how to handle yeasty breads versus baguettes, what surfaces work best for kneading.  She has all the right tools for making trophy scones, perfect crusts, and airy croissants—a nice oven, good rolling pins, and baking sheets heavier than a college chemistry textbook.  She’ll tell you that a bakers morning begins at three a.m. The dough rises the night before, and the morning is spent shaping, kneading, baking, and cooling that days product, or catch might I call it for I am a fly fisherman.  With early mornings, quiet, and filled with the aromas that we have both grown to love, her, the bakery, me, the stream, we share the patient rest of waiting for the rise.

The Dawn and Burial Birth

The Dawn and Burial Birth

 

Twas gone who gave the gold-wing dawn

who lost her lofted lie

and married with goodbye

who grew her yawning tide two

eyes and shadows gone gliding

in the gold-grass groom to be

 

wed the waning seasons free and sought

calm from the Canallers green and splintered

oars and pews to seat swans

and pintails and bufflehead blue across

the goldfinch grey and wilted hay lay

seasons sweet to rest anew

 

Late we wait the masthead lurking long

the yelps that calm our darkening days of dawn

who holds her arms to seasons young

and silos thoughts of deepening

 

Cattail catch the brimming gold

the silver ice whose hardened hold

tells not but far nor seasons near

but thanks the dawn of nigh and near

for saying do at morning new and mourning

night and music too

 

When the lashless sky portrays a bound

of roundless shiftless seas and cracks

the bulwarks steady ease and fills

the Red whose running knees buckle, sink

and reach for please, God ambers olive leaves

 

the silver hand that held the chapel high

and dappled clouds that hilled and sighed

and waved the voyage sea boat by

so dawn could tuckle in sleeping

to wince a satin prayer of weeping

for night to call the salty blacks

and dawn dark gashes down their backs

the sutured roots the tigers rats

the headless stems in piles and stacks

 

Columbus head and hard he hailed to lee to

lands a fury frowned a famished sea

the crack, the wound, the wound, the whip, the snap

the dawn the sky a golden sap

the song of thunder coming back

the wicker womb a boney trap

shoulder to shoulder back to back

shoulder to shoulder back to back

shoulder to shoulder back to back

the fleas and ticks and lips and rats

the ship it banged it bobbed it tacked

the men they brawled

the women scraped

the captain groped and grabbed and slapped

the hatches blew, the mast it cracked

with land in sight they drifted, trapped.

 

Her purple lids that hung and heavy swung and wooed and wailed

some babies caught in musket fire smoke and heavy hail

the captain foolish captain clung unto his grail

his grave and stupid knave that pushed the seas into his sails

so thought the his crimson hand that sunk the gavel and the stand

took the count and jury clan asunder down to sea and sand

 

In the morning left a trillium sea

still and lifeless her Iris breaths

her pregnant belly floats and grieves

with skin as dark as chrysanthemum seas she prays

 

the orchid in the window at the farmhouse

hung petals yellow clouds blossom in the grave bloom

the tannin sheets made in the field

in the evening

Creativikey —The Key to Creativity— Inspired by Fran Betters.

Creativikey —The Key to Creativity— Inspired by Fran Betters.Image

The question at hand is “What isn’t Creative?”  The source of imagination is an inherent skill that we’re all born with.  Creativity is present in all of us from day one.  Why is it that some of us harness the universal gift for longer periods of time than others?  If you’re someone who doesn’t “think creatively” or someone who is “too creative” where does the happy medium lie.  Everything begins with an original idea, whether sparked from an old idea or one that rises from the invisible source of the soul, every original, or even modified original idea takes some creative thought.

I tie this back to fly-tying. The goal is to mimic the pattern, size, and kinetics of an insect in the wild, as to fool a fish into thinking its real food.  Exact replication, little to no room for error, patterns, colors, and materials pretty much decided for you, and names that mimic the names of the actual insect being replicated haven’t gotten the fisherman anywhere. 

Catching a fish on a fly isn’t about tying that exact olive colored fly that sticks to your windshield on the way to the stream, it is about being creative and simply using the color olive to entice and or excite the fish into seeing something new.  It literally is impossible to know exactly how well fish can see but its safe to assume that they see well, can tell miniscule differences between shades, and have an unparalleled sense of their surroundings, which includes what is above the surface. 

The late and great fisherman and fly-tier Fran Betters didn’t catch fish on exact replicas of the flies native to the Ausable River region of the Adirondack Park. He began tying his own patterns, trying new shapes, colors, and sizes.  Some words of wisdom from Fran “It is important to remember that each bit of information we are told or read about fishing is another bit of knowledge to be put to the test in practice and then retained or discarded only through experience.  Each journey to the stream is another lesson along the road of ignorance. There is no dividing line along that road between ignorance and knowledge, and the person who thinks he has acquired all the knowledge on the subject of fishing only succeeds in proving his ignorance (Fran Betters Fly Fishing – Fly Tying and Pattern Guide 2).”  Fran goes on to talk about his father and how he taught young Fran to keep an open mind.  In other words, he used creativity to his advantage and created some of the most effective and well known fly patterns known to fly fisherman today—the Ausable Wulff, the Haystack, and the Usual.

What is a better reward than one than comes from nature? When a river, a mountain stream, a quiet lake nestled miles from the nearest road, can thank you, your accomplishments become rooted deep in your creative synthesis.  To catch a wild brook trout on a fly pattern designed from your inner most curiosity for success, and to develop a pattern from nothing other than your appreciation for the natural world, and to have it become one of the most well known patterns in the world of fly fishing is to have succeeded creatively.  The key to creativity to tie I mean try because you lose nothing in the process. 

The Roger Tory Peterson Field Guide to Trees and Shrubs that Rhyme

The Roger Tory Peterson Field Guide to Trees and Shrubs that Rhyme

Carolina buckthorn
Labrador tea
Sweetleaf
Sweetbell
Bog rosemary

Gumbo-limbo
Bitterbush
Inkwood
Pepper tree
Terebinthifolius

Big flower paw paw
Coco plum
Buttonwood
Princewood
Possomhaw viburnum

Sparkleberry Smoketree
Corkwood
Gum
Chokecherry Hornbeam
Rhododrndron

Prince tree
Princes tree
Loblolly pine
Nannyberry Red bud
Wooly pipe vine

White ash
Black ash
Green ash and Blue
Pumpkin Carolina
And Ashleaf too

Hobblebush
Arrowwood
Squashberry black
Maple, Willow, Sycamore
Poison sumac

Hawthorn
Margret
Washington moss
Tree-of-Heaven Devilwood
St. Andrews Cross

Honeysuckle
Woodbine
Pale yellow rock
Swamp Bella Northern
common lilac

Sand cherry
Black cherry
Greenberry Bristle
Supplyjack Jack pine
Moonseed Thistle

Pussywillow
Catgrape
Wolfberry Dogwood
Troutlilly Toadflax
Goatsbeard and Foxglove

The Cast of a Woman

The way they throw a ball, run, do things the boys do, they have an unexpectedly captivating way on the man.  There is this inherent divide between the masculine movements of men and the feminine touch of a woman.  We’ve grown up with the boys, fighting, racing, and always trying to out do one another by example. But when the girl joins the pack, no matter how much better, faster, stronger, and more confident she is, there is always that quirk in the way she beats us at our own games. What is it about how she moves her arms when throwing a football, the way she lifts her knees when she runs, how her elbows instinctively protect her womb as she wrestles out of our grasps during capture the flag?  What is so noticeably different in the way she moves that has over the years coined a phrase “…like a girl?”  There’s an art to it.  She steadies, acts, and pursues her movements with a poise—awkward at first but beautiful too. A focus that sounds from deep within hidden by the veil of her smile, the quirk in corner of her dimples, the freckles in the squint of her eyes, the unwarranted flash or her hair, and the shape of her body, so different than ours.   The look she gives you after a perfect execution as to say “how did I do?”  So genuine, so conniving.   The way she casts a fly-rod, perfect, present. And how now, none of it matters for it is us on the end of her line.

Back to The Local Movement

If you ask any of your grandparents they’ll tell you a local movement didn’t exist in their day. They’ll tell you “local” was just how things were.  There were the local corner groceries, local pharmacies, bakeries, hardware stores, technical services, breweries, the list goes on.  It was before the big box stores, the chain super mega marts, the coffee and doughnut stores that have sprung up on every corner—times were simpler, economies sustained, communities were communities.  And then somewhere, somehow things went wrong.  Local as your grandparents remembered it tanked, family businesses closed, people moved away, farms became gnarled fields and unkempt barns.  A culture was lost and people we didn’t know moved in, alien stores sprung up that contained what seemed like everything.  Scarred communities were patched with only a band-aid strong enough to plainly keep people living. The local economy vanished.  But, how has it come back?  Where did the local movement as we know it today begin? Where is the epicenter of local? 

Vermont.  Sure, local foods have been used in Vermont restaurants for decades, local beer has been around for a while, and local cheese and bread has been a staple on every Vermont table but what made Local cool?  Who made it cool? 

We begin our journey in the Northeast Kingdom, an area of northern VT laden with farms, fields, lumber roads, and a few dedicated folks and towns that understood both the health and economic benefits of supporting their neighbors. This is where the holy trinity of local began—bread, cheese, and beer.   Ed Behr, well-known author and editor of a quarterly magazine The Art of Eating lives in St. Johnsbury, VT.  He first heard the term “localvore” back in 2005.  Behr says it began because “people started to inquire about where their food was coming from, and who was producing it.” People in the Northeast Kingdom are friendly and neighbors can trust each other.  Aside from being more nutritious, “knowing who people are is key to enhancing a local movement” says Behr.  It isn’t just about buying local it is about understanding and feeling local. 

One major contributor to the local movement is Pete’s Greens, a certified organic, four season, vegetable farm located on the edge of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom in Craftsbury, VT.  Their slogan, “Vermont can feed itself!”  And their ideology, “By deciding to eat locally you support thousands of small producers such as creameries, cheese makers, slaughterhouses, butchers, bakeries, sauerkraut makers, and of course vegetable farmers. Foods grown locally and in-season are also more nutritious, taste better, and eating them connects us to our place and to our present time of year. Local food production is interesting work that makes a great career and creates a fine quality of life here in Vermont, keeping our agricultural economy an important part of our culture” sits at the heart of the local movement!

Then there is Jasper Hill Farm; a cheese making Mecca located in Greensborrow, VT, a rural Northeast Kingdom town. Started in 2005, brothers Andy and Mateo Kheller recognized a way to keep the Vermont dairy industry alive. The dairy industry was vanishing, farm after farm were selling their cows and closing their barns.  Jasper Hill Farm started buying milk from the remaining dairy farmers and making cheese. They did everything but “milk the industry” dry and created a way to keep Vermont dairy farms alive.  According to the Art of Eating in an interview between Ed Behr and Mateo Kehler “I believe we have the power to make an impact and demonstrate that there is an alternative to the commodification of our food, our landscape, and our communities,” says Kehler.

The local food movement spread quickly.  People began recognizing the importance of preserving the livelihood of Vermont farmers and understanding the importance of culturing a local economy.  Communities of sharing are coming back, and we are becoming neighbors again.  According to the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA) in all of Vermont’s 14 counties there are 63 registered farmers markets! So, certainly local food is at the heart of the local movement but what about art, music, and local services.  If you’ve been to any of these markets you’ll quickly notice that it isn’t just food being sold but it is jewelry, art, poetry, services, pretty much anything and everything that is local.  There is an insurgence of local in everything, and Vermont has a host of examples of people, artists, companies, and businesses that are pushing the local movement and enhancing the local economy.

It is nice to have a local pocket here in Vermont but without those farms, artists, and  people of good will dedicated to standing their ground and keep local in the minds of all, we would be nowhere.  It takes bravery, courage, and a passion for a community to break the mold of corporate life and live a life of humble locality.  Those who enjoy the local movement outnumber the people who built the local movement.  It is up to us, the buyers, supporters, and neighbors of local farmers, artists and musicians to help them make a difference for us!

Look at Localvore Today.com.  Their mission is to make the local movement accessible to everyone.  By simply offering a daily opportunity to save money and support a local business, the local movement is growing, and the local economy is improving! Everyday a new local Vermont business is highlighted, and everyday patrons save money and spend money locally!  We are dedicated to preserving the local culture that Vermont was founded on.  We are here to provide the community with a venue to explore local cuisine, art, and services.  Together, Vermont’s local economy will strengthen, and communities will grow.  

Rise and Follow,

Nick Sirianno