A Gentleman Afield

It is also proper and right to model oneself after John Muir.

It is proper and right that a gentleman should, at least on occasion, seek more healthful environs beyond the city’s limit and refresh and recreate himself among streams, trails and mountaintops.  It is a lucky gentleman who ventures out with frequency — for he is a sportsman.

There is he who throws himself wholly into a single pursuit, for instance the dedicated equestrian who sees to jumping his horse over higher and higher fences, or the mountaineer who wishes to hammer the flag of his club or family crest atop every mountain that peaks above the treeline or the fly-fisherman who agonizes over each season’s insect to mimic with hand-tied lures.

And then there is the dilettante — the gentleman who dallies in many pursuits, happy to acquaint himself with the essence of a sport for the sake of amateurish adventure. The dilettante is ever the apprentice, constantly learning from masters, but rarely mastering.

It is Dudley Dickerson’s place as an amateur sportsman and dilettante to find these dalliances and offer some introduction to the leisurely pursuits that might refresh and recreate a gentleman — to seek out masters who know of leaping coops and traversing glaciers and tying woolly-buggers.  It is through these masters one can learn the vocabulary, the traditions and spirit of sport. It is on rare and special occasion that these masters provide reason, and focus, and joy to life.

In an effort to provide some relief to the current, oppressive summer heat, Dudley Dickerson submits journal excerpts (in four parts) of a precarious trip on which he ventured across the frozen landscape during a Minnesota winter.


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