life in the FLOODPLAINS

The air was wet and cold and perfect and it pulled my cheeks tight against my face. I stretched them with a smile. This was a place that the fish seemed to enjoy as much as I did and the notion that one of them might actually be here this morning was all I needed. I knew enough about pursuing steelhead with a fly to appreciate having the elements in my favor.

As the sun crested the tree line a sharp ray of light cut through the soggy air, striking the water’s surface and sending up a spiraling column of fog. I turned my gaze to the downstream bend, listened closely in anticipation of the morning rush hour. Half way through the run, I heard wing beats and looked up in time to see geese in perfect formation. They honked in collective protest of the congestion I imposed on their daily commute. Cutting the sharp bend in the river, they disappeared beyond the trees, their honks fading to a murmur. I went back to casting and hoping, contemplating my own congested work commute, for which I was soon to be late.

For many of us, this is the luxury the floodplain provides – an imminent, if fleeting, escape to something very real, powerful and purposeful. Like dogs after their tails, we chase these emotions in our nine-to-five lives, often with little to show for it. But here, only steps removed from the ceaseless whir of an interstate, the insanity of a strip mall and the mindless magnetism of handheld technology, we find purpose and meaning. Sheltered between the banks, real life unfolds, the high water marks working as blinders against whatever it is we’d rather not see.

Therein lies the inspiration for FLOODPLAINS – a window into the wonder that awaits us. By capturing moments and memories from the river and the wild, we remind readers of our relationship with place and inspire others to find their own floodplains to explore. As the river reinvents and redefines itself day by day, season by season, it’s an open invitation for us to rethink what we thought we knew. We hope to do the same with FLOODPLAINS, providing story angles, photographs and illustrations from the outside.

- Jim Lampros, steelhead season 2015