'Strong is the Current'

My definition of a good read is a book that follows me around all day in every room I wander. It’s always in my hand, waiting to be opened. Next to my bed stand it sits on top of the other hardcovers, relegating them to a future read.

Hopping out of bed and on my way to the kitchen for a nice morning dark-roast brew, the good book is in my hand, ready to entertain. After being away for the day, I arrive home and there it lies with the bookmark begging to be moved.

Joel Spring’s latest book, Strong is the Current, is my new constant companion. Spring has written a gem, chronicling his journey of fishing while trying to cope with the tremendous grief of losing his 23-year-old daughter to brain cancer.

The author writes of his healing process while fishing the small backyard streams in Western New York. Spring, who is a kayak angler, prefers to cast for what some would call secondary fish, not the glorified trout and salmon found in Lake Ontario.

He has a love affair with what he calls “the nastier fish.” During one of his outings he hooked two pike.

“Unlike bass, northern pike aren’t afraid to tackle something nearly as big as they are, and both of those first two pike weren’t much bigger than the lure,” he writes. “The biggest of the pair was maybe eighteen inches and skinny as a snake. I held him up for a moment, his colors glimmering in the morning sunlight. I like pike, even small ones. His malevolent eyes signaled to me that if our roles were reversed, he’d kill me right then and there, no hesitation. How can you not like a fish like that?”

Strong is the Current is not just a book about fishing; it’s a book about life. I have endured a great loss, and when Mr. Grief sneaks up behind and knocks the daylights out of me, I head to the woods for solace. Spring goes fishing.

My attachment with this writer is profound. What nature teaches and sharing grief will often bring a bit of sunshine in your life. And, for that moment you breathe a little easier.

As an outdoor writer and an avid reader, I have turned the pages of hundreds of books. You can be a great angler and you can also be terrific with words, but it’s the combination that makes an effective writer. Spring has that ability, and after finishing this excellent read, I do breathe a little easier.

And, now I know how to catch gar with a rope lure — gar being one of those “nastier fish.”

Strong is the Current is available through Amazon or by contacting West River Media. P.O. Box 15, Charlestown, MD 21914.

Another great Wayne Co. trail

When traveling folks plan on visiting the rural beauty of Wayne County, outdoor recreation is usually at the top of the to-do list. The county borders Lake Ontario on the north and the historic Erie Canal on the south. Between those geographical icons you’ll find other delights for the nature lover.

Wayne County has trails … lots of them.

Carol May, past president of Wayne County Trail Works and now a board member of the Genesee Land Trust, is proud of a new trail in the county.

“The 74-acre Cornwall Preserve was purchased by Genesee Land Trust in 2016,” May said. “This unique property encompasses two-thirds of a mile of natural lakefront on Lake Ontario and much more.

“Cornwall is diversity. If you hiked all trails, you would cover approximately 3½ miles of old-growth woods, wetland habitat, and a meadow with newly planted pollinator plants. With the help from an Eagle Scout project we are going to construct a boardwalk through the wetlands.”

May said the Genesee Land Trust works together with various organizations and defines their acquisitions as “Ambassador Projects.”

Wayne County Trail Works has 30 trails that are part of Wegmans Passport Program, and the new Cornwall Preserve is now a part of that. Trail Works has partnered with Wegmans and their Passport to Family Wellness Program, as well as with the villages and towns of Wayne County and the Cornell Cooperative Extension Service EWPH (Eat Well Play Hard Coalition to combat childhood obesity), to produce this program.

The program involves an actual “passport” with 30 outdoor trails mapped out and described around Wayne County. Some are village history trails, others are canal trails, and many are nature trails for wildflower viewing or bird-watching. Each trail head has a unique symbol that you can trace or rub into your passport book.

When completed, turn in your passport to be eligible for drawings and prizes. Passport redemptions can be made at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Newark.

All the information for the Passport Program is on the Trail Works web page at https://trailworks.org/.

The Cornwall Preserve is open to the public dawn to dusk, every day of the week, but closed on Wednesdays for agricultural management. Contact Genesee Land Trust at (585) 256-2130 with questions, or visit www.geneseelandtrust.org.

Chris Kenyon’s “Outdoors” appears every other Sunday. Contact Chris at (315) 879-1341 or ckenyonrun@gmail.com.

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