With filming starting soon on The River Why, this Q & A with D.J.D. from back in 2001 is still relevant today. You can read the entire interview here. LINK
This respons to a question about a favorite pair of shoes is vintage Duncan,
What makes your favorite pair of shoes different from the rest?
My Patagonia wading shoes are different from my others in that they
have felt soles and fit over waders, and so allow me to walk
comfortably for hours in and out of cold moving water. What this does
to a walk is pretty amazing. Two days ago, for instance, I crossed a
muddy channel that no one in regular shoes could possibly have crossed
without getting their shoes sucked off. This brought me, still warm and
dry, to a magic island. I then walked miles up through this island,
which reminds me of some glorious deer park where the Buddha would hang
out — herds of literally a hundred or more whitetail deer fleeing in
the distance. Wild turkeys. Moose. Many many kinds of birds. Big serene
Ponderosa pines. Great horned owls and bald eagles in the cottonwoods.
Aspen groves with white bark, growing in "fairy rings" because the
entire grove is a single organism that encloses you as you enter.
At the upper end of this walk I reached a favorite stretch of river
where I hooked and after a long time landed a twenty-four-inch brown
trout. This is a rare fish. A one in a ten thousand fish, maybe. A
trout this big and powerful, in fast water, remains invisible for the
longest time as you play it. On the end of a sensitive rod, this
invisible life feels as though the kingdom of heaven is hidden inside
the river and you have hooked into the kingdom and it's electrocuting
you with a strange feeling that enters your hand and shoots up your arm
and soon fills your whole body. It is indescribable to finally capture
and briefly hold such a wild, shining creature in your hands, then
quell its fear by returning it to its kingdom.
Combining such walks with my love for contemplative literature, I
trudge along in my favorite shoes, on the way back to my little truck
with the Live Aloha bumpersticker, thinking about the saints and mystics. Catherine of Siena,
for example, said, "All the way to heaven is heaven." On the face of
it, I was thinking the other day, this is an insanely optimistic
statement that flies in the face of a ton of our grimmest
experiences. Yet Catherine of Siena was no fool. Nor was she sheltered.
She lived in a time of hatred, and she made her outrageous statement
even though half of Italy and beloved members of her family were
killed, during her early childhood, by the Black Death.
Catherine owned no felt-soled wading shoes, I was thinking, and so
maybe took no Magic Island walks. But my theory is that she walked
around feeling as though she was playing a fish like my Magic Island
Brown Trout anyway. Catherine of Siena, it seemed to me in my favorite
shoes the other day, somehow hooked an invisible and interior fish that
somehow connected her to kingdom and electrocuted her daily with joy.
And you know what? I believe what I was thinking in my best shoes on my magic island the other day. I believe Catherine was playing such a fish. I believe we are, too. And hope we grow ever more vividly aware of it.