Impact.

It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States that certain selected rivers of the nation which, with their immediate environments, possess outstandingly remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural or other similar values, shall be preserved in free-flowing condition, and that they and their immediate environments shall be protected for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.

Wild and Scenic Rivers Act October 2, 1968

 

 

I grew up on Rivers, and they raised me as their own.

Some of these rivers I lived around were unnaturally constrained: their waters warmed, their sediments backed up and their fish destroyed for the benefit of industrial progress. As a kid I never wanted to swim in the waters of the Snake and Clearwater confluence. I turned down the invitations of my friends whenever they went jet boating in the Lewis-Clark Valley. I couldn’t stand the thought of spending a day stranded afloat on those gasoline smelling waters.

I knew there were cleaner rivers out there because I also grew up with the free flowing rivers of the Bitterroots. My father was a passionate fly fisherman, and he took the whole family up the Clearwater and Lochsa rivers in the late summer and fall.

I spent days on the clear banks of the Lochsa, chasing butterflies and minnows. I learned there that even the smallest creek can’t be dammed by the devious efforts of my brother and I. I swam in the clear, still waters while my parents taught me to respect the swift-moving currents. I watched my Mom and Dad pull countless shimmering rainbow trout from those smooth waters. I watched all of them return to the river for the next angler.

As a kid, I had no idea why the confluence in the Valley was so different from the rivers upstream. Now, I know the quote above is the defining difference between the two.

The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act is an ideal, a passion put into words by Senator Frank Church and others like him. Thanks to those written words here I am now, guiding on the Rogue River, another one of the original eight set aside by the act. I’m enjoying this river as many have enjoyed it before me, and many will after.

And with a bit hope, luck, and the help of those like Church, my children won’t be afraid of swimming in the Confluence of the Lewis Clark Valley.

Transitions

2012 is the year we’ve all been waiting for. At least, waiting since the end of the Mayan calender became a media phenomenon back in the early 2000’s.

Here’s what I understand: the Mayan calender ends in December, 2012, which happens to fall upon a unique celestial event called a ‘Galactic Alignment.’ This is where the December Solstice sun and the Galactic Equator, aka the milky, way align. This event technically happened back in 1998, but if you were to calculate this with the naked eye (imagine!) this would occur on the Winter Solstice, 2012.

I could be wrong. It’s happened before.

As a superstitious society, we’ve theorized over what this alignment will mean. Predictions include, and are not limited to doomsday, a “Shift in Perception,” transitions to a new collective consciousness, world unity, WWIII, black holes engulfing the earth, a huge increase of personal enlightenments, some sort of change.

We can interpret it, or not, but this year does seem to be different.  Shifts and changes, celestial or not, are happening.

I seem to go through these life-shifts every two years or so. It just comes with the territory of seasonal work. This year was one of those shifts, from day trips to working multi-days on the Rogue. That’s been my past week. Wrapping up life in the Field of Dreams and driving from Superior, MT to Merlin, OR over the course of 48 hours…

My family is going through a big shift this year. My Mom recently accepted the position of Superintendent at the West Bonners County School District. This means she’s moving, three hours away from my Dad in Clarkston and starting a whole new life in Priest River, Idaho.

Almost everyone I encounter seems to be grappling with personal changes. An ex-coworker thinking of breaking off an engagement, a new friend scheming up a business plan for the next stage of his life, and open ends in the fall for almost all of us river guides. Celestial Shifts are in store.

Of course, we’re all intimidated by change. You have to receive it with open arms though. The future is a blank space of unknown where anything can happen. The Celestial Shift is the inexplicable force moving us towards it. The urge to leave the known is frightening, and we may resist it. Why wouldn’t we? Leaving the comfort of our methodical routine; yes, what we’re used to but it’s boring. It’s comfortable so we want to stay there.

Resist that urge to continue the routine. The unknown of change is exciting, trust me!

It’s a wonderful year to be living life, weather you believe in the 2012 phenomenon or not. Celestial Shift, I can’t wait to see what more you have to offer.