I was running through some old photos on my computer the other day and one caught my attention. I took this photo on a failed fishing trip on the Deschutes river in May. The photo is taken from the inside of my car, facing west towards a large bluff on the opposite bank of the river. I had taken this photo while I was still in bed, my feet were still tucked in my sleeping bag. Leaning up against the inside of the car is an Oregon atlas and outside are two fly rods leaning up against the fender. The photo itself is not important, but for me it represents something more. This was how I lived almost every weekend between April and August; camping somewhere in the woods on the bank of a river, sleeping in my car with the seats folded down, and eating whatever I grabbed out of the pantry two days before. This one photo basically sums up my life before I landed myself in Senegal; running wild and free in the great outdoors, my only companions being a fly rod and an album of Jack Johnson. Just like here in Senegal, I was living my best life. I was inspired by the-one-and-only Katie Dodge, a great friend I’ve made here in Senegal, to write about my obsession with this photo and what it represents. The best way I found to do it was in the form of a poem. This will probably be my only poem blog post, so soak it all in and enjoy.
I Am From
I am from winding roads and sticky gear changes.
From run-down gas pumps to upkept fly shops,
I am from the dirt plastered on my fender,
To the crumpled atlas at my feet.
I am from planning nothing
And doing everything
I am from the smell of dew on sage
The wet scent of pines, spruce, and cedar.
I am from the murmur of winding, lazy creeks
To the thunder of rapids and waterfalls.
I am from deep valleys and taller mountains
From frosted sleeping bags to sweat stained fishing hats
I am from cold beans at night,
To cold oatmeal in the morning.
I am from the sweet scream of my drag,
The burn of the line on the inside of my fingers.
I am from failed knots and broken rods
To big catches and grander stories
I am from storytelling and laughter;
I am from freedom and exploration,
I am from where I stand,
Where I laugh with the people I love
Where there is a smile on my face
I know exactly where I’m from,
But I have no idea where I’ll go.