Springtime and Wildness in Appalachia


Wild, native Appalachian brook trout, caught last week (on a fly I first learned about while living in Arizona).

A tame animal is already invested with a certain falsity by its tameness. By becoming what we want it to be, it takes a disguise which we have decided to impose upon it.

Even a wild animal, merely “observed,” is not seen as it really is, but rather in the light of our investigation (color changed by fluorescent lighting).

But people who watch birds and animals are already wise in their way.

I want not only to observe but to know living things, and this implies a dimension of primordial familiarity which is simple and primitive and religious and poor.

This is the reality I need, the vestige of God in His Creatures.

Fr. Thomas Merton, O.C.S.O.  When the Trees say Nothing, edited by Kathleen Deignam (Notre Dame: Sorin Books, 2003), 45.  From Merton’s diaries, written at The Trappist Abbey of our Lady of Gethsemani, Kentucky.


Black bear paw print at my favorite Southern Appalachian Stream. It’s an encouraging fact that black bears and brook trout still persist among all the other human and non-human immigrants to the American Southeast.

5 Responses to “Springtime and Wildness in Appalachia”

  1. troutpurgatory Says:

    That’s a honey of a brook trout. I haven’t seen too many wild ones that big up here in PA. Excellent post, as always.


    • Kenov Says:

      Believe it or not that brookie is only average sized for that stream. Sadly, I never spent much time looking for brookies in PA, when I lived there part time; I was too focused on the limestoners. Maybe I’ll go brookie fishing this weekend, when I am up that way. Thanks for the kind words.


  2. rivertoprambles Says:

    It’s encouraging that black bears and brook trout still persist among our trodden ways, as do bloodroot flowers and brook trout among the beaten paths along the Blue Ridge of Virginia, as I witnessed yesterday. Thank you for sharing Merton, and others!


    • Kenov Says:

      And we need all the encouragement we can get these days. It seems to be in short supply. Or maybe I just need to look more carefully for it. Thanks for you encouraging words.


  3. bkoblish Says:

    Reblogged this on Kobie's Blog.


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