Clippings: What happens in the woods…

What happens in the woods stays in the woods. And that can be a problem. MATTHEW DICKERSON When I was young (many decades ago), if somebody asked a question that had a seemingly obvious answer, a common wisecrack reply was to ask the rhetorical question, “Does a bear poop in the woods?” It turns out the answer to that reply is not as obvious as it might seem. Years of hiking in Alaska bear territory as well as years of living in the Vermont woods has taught me that bears defecate pretty much everywhere. Not … (read more)

Matthew Dickerson: On hubris and nature

Recently I had to leave the bubble of Addison County in order to help a family member. My trip took me across some areas of rural New England. Since I was driving alone, I had plenty of time to appreciate the landscape. For me that often means admiring th … (read more)

Matt Dickerson: One month, one river

I’ll admit to distrusting my memory these days. (What day of the week is it?) Last week seems like months ago, and May seems like a year ago. The middle of March might as well be several years ago. And 2019? Could be a different lifetime.  So when I say i … (read more)

Matt Dickerson: A fisherman gets a birthday surprise

I walked out on the dock, set down my fly rod and my blue canvas boat bag with my boxes of flies and fly-fishing gear, and went back inside for a canoe paddle and seat cushion. When I returned to the dock, I found sitting on my bag a beautiful two-tailed … (read more)

Matt Dickerson: Ephemeral nature

Ephemeroptera. That is the scientific name of the family of insects known more commonly as mayflies. The word is made up of two roots that come to us from Greek, through Latin. The first root is related to the modern word ephemeral. Though ephemeral has c … (read more)

Matt Dickerson: All this distancing is making things crowded

My alarm went off at 4 a.m. I bolted upright, fumbled for my iPhone on the nightstand, and shut it off as quickly as I could, hoping to avoid waking my wife. Before I could even stand up, I heard a high wind whipping through the trees outside. The turkeys … (read more)

Matt Dickerson: Wild brook trout put on a big show during an unusual April

I admit that I don’t usually do much trout fishing in April. Sure, after spending more than five long months (starting Nov. 1) with few opportunities to get out on a stream or river and cast flies, I always look forward to opening day of Vermont’s trout s … (read more)

Matt Dickerson: Social distancing safely in the Vt. outdoors

Five p.m. was rolling up on me and I needed to get outside. I’d been sitting at my computer all day, working remotely — preparing remote lectures for my classes, and holding remote office hours. I’ve learned more about Zoom teleconferencing than I ever wa … (read more)

Matt Dickerson: Fishing and social distancing

So what does a sports column look like in an age of COVID-19? In one sense, outdoor writing is quite different from more tradition sports media, because the outdoor sports themselves (fishing, canoeing, hunting, etc.) fall in a different category than com … (read more)

Matt Dickerson: The power of stories

Anglers like to tell stories. I’ll admit that’s not always a good thing. Some anglers may tend to ramble a little bit. Some of their fish stories may even involve an exaggeration or two. I’ve even been accused myself of sometimes rambling, and perhaps str … (read more)

Matt Dickerson: A first adventure in snow

Several days ago my wife, Deborah, and I went snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on a thick blanket of lovely fresh snow. We weren’t alone. Joining us on the outing was our friend Felicia. Felicia had never been snowshoeing or skiing before. Felicia is … (read more)

Matt Dickerson: Outdoors (and outdoor winters) in Vermont

This coming June, the Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA) is hosting their annual conference at Jay Peak up in northern Vermont. It’s a great gathering of outdoor communicators: writers, photographers, filmmakers, editors and publishers, and oth … (read more)

Matt Dickerson: A decade of family, friends and rivers

The decade of the “Teens” has come to an end. I know that most writers penned their end-of-the-year columns, or best-of-the-decade stories in late December as the decade was winding down. I’m a bit behind, as you may have noticed. But it’s not because I h … (read more)

Matt Dickerson: Fresh fish through the ice

The first fish caught me by surprise. It was a landlocked salmon, and a fairly large one by the standards of that small Maine lake: about 18 inches long, with a visible kype identifying it as a male. Perhaps a frustrated male that hadn’t been able to spaw … (read more)

Matt Dickerson: On hope and delight (reflections on the end of a decade)

It’s the second of Christmas’s 12 days. The next time you pick up a paper with one of my columns, Christmas will be over. In fact, 2019 will be over. It will be a new year. The way most people tally decades (making the most of the same second-to-last digi … (read more)