From time to time NTC staff and their correspondents come across an interesting book, essay, or blog, or, a new article of outdoor clothing or fishing tackle that may be of interest to our readers. Reviews of such items will be covered in this section of the NTC website. If you wish to contribute to this section, please read our “Guidelines for Authors” and submit your text to the National Trout Center through our email contact address.
Watching and feeling the extremes of seasonal changes in Minnesota are hallmarks of living in mid-continental North America. These include a landscape going from bare ground and mineral soil to croplands luxuriant with leaf and flower; temperatures ranging from -30° to 105°F; and, rivers brown and angry in draining the land from snowmelt and cloudbursts, or clear and serene in meandering to the Gulf. The constant in this is perpetuity itself with the orbit of the earth imposing adjustments on its surface, and by all who live here. The wonder is that so much can be accomplished in so little time, a single revolution about our nearest star.
The distillation apparatus linking the sun’s heat to our rivers’ currents moves millions of tons of water through the atmosphere, onto the watersheds, into the groundwater, and back into the atmosphere about 75 times within a typical human lifespan. Fortunately, at least a few humans have taken the trouble to observe and record for the rest of us the pulse and patterns of distribution of this immense flow of water.
Thomas F. Waters (we can only applaud the juxtaposition of surname and subject here) in his fifth full-length treatise on the magical and often lyrical movement of water across the landscape, shares with his readers a personal and compelling homage to the role of surface waters in the annual cycle of life in the upper midwest. “The Rivers of Minnesota” is a comfortable blending of geography and ecology and our human trysts with recreation and conservation in the North Star state. Opening with a stimulating Foreword by the late Tom Helgeson, a writer long known to midwestern fishers, and preceding the dedication, is Riversong, a poem as gentle as the waters it describes. Throughout the remaining 400 pages, chapter after chapter reverberate with the song of moving waters and the spirit of the writer whose own life has been so intimately intertwined with streams and rivers. Readers will appreciate the respect he has shown them in not revealing too much, that they might encounter their own mysteries in traveling the myriad waters of the state, with fishing rod or paddle in hand.
Books like this remind us that life is short.