I’m writing this in our little camper. We’ve taken Friday off to go camping in an amazing state park in our corner of the world: Yellow River State Park. We are here for a 5K trail race tomorrow. Last year’s race was a great experience and now, with a year under our belt in the camper, we wanted to make it a tradition of ours.

I have memories of this place, driving up after school on a Friday, finding our spot as the sunset, marshmallows around the campfire, then trout fishing in this amazing deep, but clear hole in the “river” where trout love to hang out. It’s a primitive campground, with no electricity or running water, which was normal back in the 1980s but not so much anymore. It still is primitive, but the sites are more significant, and the road is better, but as time has marched on, this little state park enjoys its quiet solitude. As we walked around, we’d stop and hear only the birds and a babble of the brook, nothing else that would imply other campers around us.

As we walked to that fishing spot, an older fisherman pulled up and started to unload his gear. We had a brief conversation and the weather (it was so “hot” when he’d come up earlier in the week), and our conversation turned to the water. He commented about how this used to be the best fishing hole in Northeast Iowa, hands down.

Then he commented on the hole now.


Yup. He commented on how the water was murky and there was so much mossy growth on the creek bottom, both indicators of too much nitrogen in the water. Both come from farm run-off.


Iowa is beholden to commercial agriculture to the point where it’s just humorous what goes on. Ok, not at all, but you understand. In this past session, money was diverted from a program that monitors rivers for pollutants.


I know. I remember what he was talking about: the clear water, the creek running with the foam showing up, indicating something in the water.

And I remember that fishing hole. Clear, clean, and seeing the trout in there, doing their trout thing.  He made a very profound statement, the title of this blog: “You have to learn to appreciate the things around you. Sometimes, those things just disappear. This fishing hole is now just another hole.” That got me. It got me enough that I’m writing this blog on my phone, with no service, enjoying the snapping of our campfire.

That fishing hole is now, like he said, just another hole. It’s lost something, which is sad. However, his comments have stayed with me all weekend into this week and the finish of this blog. We tend to not appreciate things until they are gone. Whether it’s a fishing hole, an old car, or a relationship. Sometimes, we have to stop, sit back, and just smile at the things we hold dear. No, the change doesn’t happen overnight, like with that spot, but the only constants in our lives are time and change. Things will change. We need to take that time to see and appreciate beauty.

Because both are fleeting.

This past weekend was one with quiet, birds, and just calm. No cell services tend to do that to people. We’ve decided we need to do that more often because the time to relax, reflect, read, and just be was well worth the lack of communication with the outside world.

Try it sometime. You might be surprised at what you find. 🙂