Excerpt from Knee Deep In Fish

“Our half-hour ride takes us down small country roads. By preference and design, we have plotted a course that leaves four-lane highways completely out of sight and out of mind. Our chosen course is a collection of stitched together, lane and a half, tar and gravel, farm to market roads. Thus, named such by the federal government during the depression to create work for, and provide assistance to farmers for moving their crops to rail heads and market outlets. This path to our farm takes us longer. No matter. The beauty of the drive on this crisp clear day is more than adequate compensation. 

Old trees, many different varieties, push in against the gentle curves and rolling hills. Now and then, the early afternoon winter sun shoots sharp shafts of bright warm light across our path. The autumn leaves are not quite yet done. Here and there, a wild cherry or white oak showers the road. The light breeze pushes double armfuls across our way like wee small children holding hands and scurrying across our path to the opposite side. As the truck whisks through the procession, dozens more of gold and caramel-colored leaves gleefully spring high, swirl, and dance in the rear-view mirror. Every mile traveled, the winter light paints a unique scene of colors, textures, and movement. 

I find it hard to describe the beauty and magic of these moments. Old fence lines of rusty hog wire are nailed to handsplit cedar posts silvered by age. Sections of barbed wire long ago grown into forty-year-old oaks, hickories, and sweetgums line unused pastures. Driving further on, we pass mustard yellow ragweed that has taken over the center of the dirt two track lane. Then we round a sharp curve with yellow flames of hickory or a splash of sumac so vibrantly scarlet that you might declare it unreal. The farm, our destination rises on our left. Will knows this place, remembering well barn-burner dove shoots and icy morning duck hunts. He bounces back and forth using his eighty pounds to sway the truck from side to side, telling me, “Hurry up, Boss. Let’s go!”

This passage appears in the chapter “Two Duck Suppers” in the book Knee Deep In Fish by John P. Faris, Jr. To read additional excerpts from John’s book collection, to include a complete chapter from his first book, click here.

Subscribe To My Newsletter


We respect your privacy.