One morning last week, I poured my first cup of coffee and took my mug and my laptop out to the back porch to try to shake off the lingering cobwebs and to enjoy a relatively-cool beginning of the day. For the last several weeks, the late summer heat and humidity had remained impressively oppressive, but the morning had a noticeably different feel to it. There was a slight breeze out of the north that promised a coming change of the seasons. As it blew through the screens on our porch, the faint wind brought the subtle yet recognizable odor of the fall. Leaves turning color. College football Game Day. Brats cooking on the tailgate grill. Art festivals.
This weekend, at Old Fort Park in Murfreesboro, Tenn., I’ll participate in the annual Greenway Arts Festival (Saturday, Sept. 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). The one-day event features a wide array of artists and craftspeople from the middle Tennessee area and is open and free to the public. Artists' booths line either side of a section of Murfreesboro’s greenway system, with the popular Kid’s Castle and the park’s tennis courts nearby. It’s a great event, featuring live music, good food and plenty to see and do for everyone in the family. I’ll have a booth at the festival, and I’ll introduce some new artwork along with a selection of originals and limited-edition prints (including Christmas-themed art and several boxes of Christmas cards). Everything will be for sale, marking a nice opportunity to stop by, enjoy the beautiful day and maybe pick up a piece of artwork for the upcoming holidays.
The Greenway Arts Festival is the first of two fall shows for me. In November, I'll participate in the prestigious Gulf Coast Arts Festival. The event takes place on Nov. 2-4 at Seville Square in downtown Pensacola, Fla. While I’m extremely excited about presenting my art to an all-new audience in a setting that should really complement the traditional themes of my work, I’m also facing numerous “things to do” in advance of the show. It’s fun stuff, though, and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to enter a new market and meet some new friends. I’ll share more about this event in the coming months.
Back home, on the fishing front … well, it’s been tough. But, the burnt orange sunsets, the shorter days and the cooler evenings signal a change of seasons is imminent. Better fishing certainly looms. While I’m sure someone out there has been catching everything that swims, my last five fishing trips have realized just a handful of gullible fish, and have included two absolute “skunk” days.
But, last Monday – Labor Day – with the end of the annual Trash n’ Bass fly-fishing tournament looming, I went gar fishing. Yes, gar fishing. Armed with a couple of nylon rope flies (a rope fly is just a small section of unraveled nylon rope tied to a hook, along with some fish-attracting flash; gar have very narrow, bony mouths filled with multiple rows of razor sharp teeth, making them difficult to “hook;” instead, the rope fly ensnares them as the teeth get tangled in the nylon) and a 7-wt, I paddled my kayak around a deep pool on the west fork of the Stones River, where I had observed gar in the past. In a couple of hours, I fooled several fish, and managed to land three long-nose gar, with the biggest being just a shade over 36 inches.
In first place, prehistorically.
I know it’s not the most glamorous fish one could catch, but gar are still fun to tangle with, especially on the fly. And, based on the way my last several trips went ... well, I was just happy to catch something.
For now, it's back to prepping for the upcoming festivals, including working on a couple of new paintings. It'll be a busy next couple of months. But, I hope to see you on the Greenway this weekend. Please stop by my booth and say hello.