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Retirement? Who’s Quitting?

Today we call it renewal

      “There are no second acts to American lives,” Jazz Age novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald told us. That may have been true back then, though I doubt it; today it is certainly a falsehood. Many people move on to second or third acts better than their first.
     Retirement for an outdoor-oriented person in particular is not really retirement at all. It is more like shifting into permanent four-wheel drive, shunning the interstates and endless highways to hit the dirt roads and pathways of the countryside. There is finally time to get to the rustic terrain and waterways neglected for lack of opportunity or resources in their professional first act. 
     From a personal standpoint, my expectations upon retirement some years ago were modest. I had no desire to travel the world or live in an endless repose of ease and luxury. What I wanted was to increase my exposure and interactions with the natural world already around me.
     Of course I didn’t intend to retire, for there was a career or two I hadn’t had time or opportunity to enjoy in my previous life. With money no longer my prime consideration, my choices for employment after retirement expanded. Whatever compensation I managed for my outdoor-associated efforts now amounted to a pleasing bonus to my retirement income.
      To their everlasting credit, Maryland’s officials appointed or elected during a long and distinguished existence since the eventual state was founded in 1634 have continued to provide for and accumulate access points for citizens to avail themselves of Maryland and the Chesapeake’s natural bounty. 
      If you were to visit any publicly sponsored recreational area at least once a week, it would take almost 10 years to experience each of its many tributaries, its countless trails, wildlife management areas, conservation areas, boat ramps, marinas or general access points just one time.
      Available outdoor activities at those sites include fishing, crabbing, boating, animal watching, bird watching, nature photography, hiking and hunting at the minimum. For many these can be totally absorbing; for others, especially those who enjoyed the organizational experiences and social interactions integral to their earlier professions, it might still not be quite enough. To those lucky and gifted executive types, outdoor and nature advocacy roles are virtually made to order.
     Now, more than ever, we need independent and knowledgeable individuals to join — even create — organizations devoted to restoring, preserving and maintaining our natural resources, not to mention improving the health and status of our public terrain and waterways themselves.
     A more informed and accurate perspective, renewed energy, sharper focus and a willingness to re-invigorate, confront and demand accountability from conservation organizations and government entities supported by public funds will always be needed and appreciated no matter the generation of the participant.
     The very definition of the term retirement has changed over time. It used to mean ceasing effort and quitting the fields of endeavor. In short, it signified the end. Today, accompanied by improvements in individual wealth and health in America over the last two generations, the word has come to increasingly refer to a renewal, a fresh determination and an expansion of one’s personal goals to include what was previously only wished for.
     Retirement today has come to mean additional careers, opportunities and rich experiences for a population that F. Scott, long ago, foolishly claimed, “had no second acts.”
Fish Finder
     Chumming should provide the best chance at locating rockfish, since the fishing fleets with their clouds of chum are an effective way to concentrate roaming schools.
     Live-lining can also produce nice fish and, if the spot remain available, can be another effective rockfish hunting tool. If a wriggling spot fails to draw an immediate bite, chances are the rock are somewhere else.
     Trolling small- and medium-sized bucktails and soft plastics is also good.     Jigging metal and the same soft plastics, once the fish have been found, should prove effective.
      White perch and the fall feed-up provide an excellent chance for stocking up the freezer.
     Crabs were finally running prior to the rain. Now the full moon has generated the last slough of the year and may produce lots of light jimmies. Afterwards the crabbing ought to resume with a possibility of becoming excellent.