Wherever I have lived or travelled during my life, I always turn to earlier writers to tell me about the place. Moving to Vermont in 1980, I was drawn to explore the Lewis Creek watershed just to the south of our home; three earlier explorers – plant collector Cyrus Pringle; geologist John Bulkley Perry; and artist/storyteller Rowland Evans Robinson – became my guides and companions. These three men who had so intensely loved the landscape that I was coming to love, had also experienced uniquely painful hardships. “Finders” of geological, botanical, and ethnological treasures, they had also endured great loss. This book is a love story, mine and theirs, with Sungahneetook – the River of Fish Weirs.
The book itself was both “lost,” and then found. I finished writing it in 1988, and, after it was turned down by the one publisher (University Press of New England) to whom I sent it – I was very frugal in those days, making only a single copy of manuscripts, and mailing them out one at a time to publishers – I never sent it out again. A group of dedicated conservationists were beginning to take up the protection of Lewis Creek’s lands, and the manuscript was passed from person to person for years. Then, in 1999, I met Middlebury’s John Elder on a PEN writer’s panel, and after I shared a chapter with him, he ended up publishing it in his Middlebury Bicentennial Series in Environmental History.