Conservationist, writer, natural resource field technician, and manager of North Sound Trout Unlimited & North Sound Women on the Fly.
Water’s behavior is utterly lawless. She moves wherever and whenever she damn well pleases. She gnaws at intrusive dams. Water freezes but somehow refuses to succumb to a greater density. She shapes rocks and coastlines — forms boundaries between territories. She takes down deeply rooted trees in a single fell swoop. When you stand on the side of a river in June, you can close your eyes and nearly feel her carving away at the bank below you. Water doesn’t care who you are or where you came from — she will always be there to remind you who’s boss. Water is the chief engineer, the master excavator, the matriarch of power.
I don’t hold loyalty to any one river, lake, or ocean in particular, but I enjoy climbing around in the rocky tributaries of the Nooksack, wading cautiously in and with total admiration of the Skagit, reminding the Elwha that she looks drop-dead gorgeous whenever I get to see her, and running my fingers through the salty spray of the skiff on the Puget Sound. Occasionally, after a few sips of whiskey and a Bruce Springsteen dance session, I’ll even welcome a beating from some seriously cold surf on the Washington coast. These places are magic, and I am forever indebted to them for their hospitality.
I’ve chosen to dedicate my life to water and all of its inhabitants. Water has restored my life in some unfathomable ways, and it is my turn to pay it backwards and forwards. I lean on water for therapy and healing, for recreation, to put groceries on my table, and to connect with other people — a particularly difficult challenge for me. Water indicates the health of our planet, or lack thereof. So if water does so much for us, what do we do for water? Corner me at a party (I’ll likely already be in the corner) or in an elevator or at the grocery store, and I’ll share all my water stories with you. I’ll tell you why you should care about water and the life that it sustains. I’ll tell you how you can help. And if you want to share your water stories with me, well then I’m all ears.