VIRUS DIARY: On a river, with rod and reel, he finds peace

This May 6, 2020, photo, shows a wild brown trout taken on a dry fly from a Catskills river outside Roscoe, N.Y. Fishing shops in Roscoe that should be overflowing with anglers are empty, due to the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Rob Jagodzinski)
This May 6, 2020, photo, shows a wild brown trout taken on a dry fly from a Catskills river outside Roscoe, N.Y. Fishing shops in Roscoe that should be overflowing with anglers are empty, due to the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Rob Jagodzinski)

ROSCOE, N.Y. – The Catskills village that calls itself “Trout Town USA” is all but a ghost town this spring.

Fishing shops in Roscoe, New York, that should be overflowing with anglers are empty, due to the coronavirus outbreak. Guide services are idled, since they are nonessential businesses.

Yet the region's famed rivers remain open, mercifully.

Like many who love the outdoors, I’ve been pinned down lately by stay-at-home guidance along with work, house chores and storms that have struck during days off.

When I finally see a one-day window of clear weather, I leap through it.

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I have always found spiritual connections in rivers. As a child in Erie, Pennsylvania, I caught chubs and suckers in a polluted creek down the block. Later there were trips with my older brother for Allegheny Mountain brook trout. During Army tours, I caught golden trout in the Sierra snowmelt, and rainbows in brawling Alaskan waters.

There’s a tune by “The Band” entitled “The River Hymn,” a gospel reverie: