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Save What You Love with Mark Titus

Author: Mark Titus

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Wild salmon give their very lives so that life itself can continue. They are the inspiration for each episode asking change-makers in this world what they are doing to save the things they love most. Join filmmaker, Mark Titus as we connect with extraordinary humans saving what they love through radical compassion and meaningful action. Visit for more information.
15 Episodes
Check out Apay'uq Moore and her art:⁣⁣ Follow on instagram: @aprilbencze View Aprils work on her website:⁣⁣ Save What You Love with Mark Titus:⁣⁣Produced: Tyler White⁣⁣Edited: Patrick Troll⁣⁣Music: Whiskey Class⁣⁣⁣⁣Transcript:⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus  ⁣⁣
Check out Chris and his work: ⁣⁣Save What You Love with Mark Titus:⁣⁣Produced: Tyler White⁣⁣Edited: Patrick Troll⁣⁣Music: Whiskey Class⁣⁣⁣⁣Transcript:⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus
ccthita.orgTlingit & Haida - Government - PresidentCentral Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Tlingit & Haida) is a tribal government representing over 30,000 Tlingit and Haida Indians worldwide. We are a sovereign entity and have a government to government relationship with the United States.⁣⁣Save What You Love with Mark Titus:⁣⁣Produced: Tyler White⁣⁣Edited: Patrick Troll⁣⁣Music: Whiskey Class⁣⁣⁣⁣Transcript:⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus
Check out Colleen Echohawk and her campaign:⁣⁣ @echohawkforseattle ⁣Colleen in her own words:"In these difficult days for our city and the world, it has never been clearer that the way we do things has to change. As an Indigenous person, the spirit of service has deep roots in my family. I bring that same spirit to my work. I’m the executive director of Chief Seattle Club, a nonprofit building  $100 million dollars of new affordable housing in the city for Urban Indians. Our city is facing unprecedented challenges, and we can’t accept more of the same from City Hall. These are historic times, and they require historic solutions."⁣⁣Save What You Love with Mark Titus:⁣⁣Produced: Tyler White⁣⁣Edited: Patrick Troll⁣⁣Music: Whiskey Class⁣⁣⁣⁣Transcript:⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus  ⁣⁣
Check out Ray's work:⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣Other topics discussed:⁣Seaspiracy⁣⁣Save What You Love with Mark Titus:⁣⁣Produced: Tyler White⁣⁣Edited: Patrick Troll⁣⁣Music: Whiskey Class⁣⁣⁣⁣Transcript:⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus  ⁣⁣
Check out Ray Troll and his work:⁣ Paleo Nerds Podcast: Facebook Instagram Save What You Love with Mark Titus:⁣Produced: Tyler White⁣Edited: Patrick Troll⁣Music: Whiskey Class⁣Instagram: @savewhatyoulovepodcastWebsite: savewhatyoulove.evaswild.comSupport wild salmon at⁣Episode Transcript:⁣⁣
Check out Melanie Brown and her work:⁣ Salmon State United Tribes of Bristol Bay Instagram: @fishwineski Instagram: @aprilvokey ⁣Other topics discussed:⁣Stop Pebble Mine NowSave What You Love with Mark Titus:⁣Produced: Tyler White⁣Edited: Patrick Troll⁣Music: Whiskey Class⁣Instagram: @savewhatyoulovepodcastWebsite: savewhatyoulove.evaswild.comSupport wild salmon at⁣Episode Transcript:⁣⁣Mark Titus  0:00
Check out Daniel Schindler and his work:⁣ Alaska Salmon Program⁣⁣Save What You Love with Mark Titus:⁣Produced: Tyler White⁣Edited: Patrick Troll⁣Music: Whiskey Class⁣Instagram: @savewhatyoulovepodcastWebsite: savewhatyoulove.evaswild.comSupport wild salmon at
Check out Amanda Wlaysewski and her work:⁣ Kvichak Fish Co⁣⁣Save What You Love with Mark Titus:⁣Produced: Tyler White⁣Edited: Patrick Troll⁣Music: Whiskey Class⁣Instagram: @savewhatyoulovepodcastWebsite: savewhatyoulove.evaswild.comSupport wild salmon at
Check out Dave McCoy and his work:⁣ Emerald Water Anglers⁣ instagram: @davemccoyewa⁣ Save What You Love with Mark Titus:⁣Produced: Tyler White⁣Edited: Patrick Troll⁣Music: Whiskey Class⁣Instagram: @savewhatyoulovepodcastWebsite: savewhatyoulove.evaswild.comSupport wild salmon at⁣Episode Transcript:⁣⁣Mark Titus  0:00  Welcome to Save What You Love. I'm Mark Titus. Today's episode we spend time with Dave McCoy. Dave is a Seattle based, Patagonia ambassador. He is a fly fishing expert and guide. He takes people all around the world to see incredible places and connect with wild fish on a fly. And he is one of the most empathic humans I know. Diving into this idea about connecting to what we love and maybe sometimes thinking about do we love it too much. we dive into all that and more on this episode of Save What You Love. If you're enjoying the podcast and you listen to it on Apple podcasts, consider giving us a rating or writing a review, or both. It really helps us a bunch to get the word out and keep these podcasts coming to you. Enjoy the show.Whiskey Class  0:55  Music: How do you save what you love?Mark Titus  1:24  Dave McCoyDave McCoy  1:26  Hey Mark, hey.Mark Titus  1:28  Travel and adventure guide, entrepreneur, fly fishing pro, Patagonia ambassador and owner of Seattle's premier fly fishing mercantile, Emerald Water Anglers, how the hell are you today? Dave McCoy  1:42  I could not possibly be better, all things considered. Mark Titus  1:47  All things considered. That's right. That seems to be the operative term here of late. I know you're coming to us from beautiful sunny Seattle today. We are in the throes of spring time. And I think we'll dive right into it with this thing that we both share a total passionate love for and I know from your history, this is kind of where it all started. But can you tell me a little bit and talk to our listeners about one word? Water? Why water? Why did that? Just invade your imagination and continue to sustain your imagination to this day?Dave McCoy  2:30  Wow, water. Ironically, of all the podcasts I've done. That is or this is the first time I've actually been asked that question. So cool. It is it's super cool. And as refreshing and scary is, as everyone listening can probably imagine.Dave McCoy  2:50  Water? Well, I think it's natural for kids. As soon as they start to gain a personality for themselves to be infatuated, but you don't have to. You don't have to fish or any of the things that we're probably going to get into regularly to be enamored with it. We drink it, we play in it, we bathe in it. And so naturally I believe that given given most circumstances that would hopefully be normal. You wouldn't you would want to explore what it brings to you a little bit more. And for me having a dad that was a PE teacher that literally wanted to spend his summers on water itself in water itself. I I am the walking talking, living breathing example of someone who became overly infatuated with it. Skipping rocks catching frogs catching little fish swimming diving cannon balling you name it, I've always loved exploring it so.Mark Titus  4:12  Can you, do you have one seminal moment that you can think of that kind of lit off the fireworks for you for for this obsession with water? I share all those things you said by the way and I bet you most of our listeners do too. But I know you you talk about it as the catalyst early on for your love of wild and agile is fish and all the work that you do the great work that you do but is there one incident or was it kind of accumulation of all those things?Dave McCoy  4:43  I think it's collectively accumulation I think as you as I spent more time around and in water from learning to rowboat when I was probably five or six to catching water. Snakes and slinging them into Davis lake and having them swim back to me for hours at a time to fishing, to skipping rocks to learning to try to skip rocks with a slingshot my dad made to making rats out of dad's beer cans and making little mini rapids on the side of the river to send them through led me to want to put a real boat in similar sized rapids and do the same thing. I just at some point in time, I think the scale just tipped and I realized that water and all of its forms were something that I wanted to spend the rest of my life involved with. SoMark Titus  5:43  I know you and I also share a similar path in that somewhere in your teen years or early adolescence, you kind of drifted away from fishing and in that sort of stuff and kind of moved into some other things. And we both played soccer for one thing. But can you tell me a little bit about that gap time what between that early fascination and then and then tell us how that, you know, evolved into what you do now?Dave McCoy  6:14  Well, that gap time gave me the opportunity to test my fortitude as a human. I pressed my limits and a number of different ways. And I'm lucky to be sitting here talking to you. So I think were so one of the things and when I said water in all forms, I coached ski racing for a number of years and was really infatuated with frozen water I still in our rivers depend on that frozen water for their lifeblood. It's part of what is considered Coldwater sanctuaries for our natural Miss fish in the Pacific Northwest and all well, everywhere. There's an anatomist fish, they're going to rely on that some degree. For me, coincidentally, having been raised in that fly fishing world from both of my grandparents and a bunch of my uncles and my dad and my mom and everybody else, and throw myself headlong into skiing and ski racing, moving to Colorado and having to find a job to coincide with ski racing. This just landed in my lap one day, and it was evident almost immediately that this was where I was probably going to spend the rest of my life.Mark Titus  7:36  So you're saying this landed in your lap didDave McCoy  7:39  fly fishing and guiding rowing boats. Mark Titus  7:43  And did you get a job right away in fly fishing?Dave McCoy  7:47  Yep. Mark Titus  7:48  Hmm. It's kind of a dream dreamy idea. Dave McCoy  7:51  Yeah. So it was just it was a very, you just, I don't know how much humans had a lot of people have the opportunity to look introspectively at what they've unconsciously absorbed through just being present and around things. But I was never just really in to fly fishing, or even fishing. I love being around it. I love the fish. I again, I love the water. And being around the water. That was probably the pinnacle of my excitement among that those early years. But from being around it as much as I was the fly fishing came very naturally. Once I realized I needed to tap that sort of untouched resource in my in my subconscious and start relying on it for income and a job. So it was it was a fairly natural transition. Actually, quick, but natural.Mark Titus  8:54  Do you feel like cuz I've guided as well and understand what that world is? And do you feel like there was a trade off between the purity of your passion for water and your passion for fish? And having to create an economic reality out of that?Dave McCoy  9:18  At that time? No, no, no. And I and I think that leads to what we'll end up talking more about, but I think when you're in your early 20s and you and you start doing that, for me, it was a cool job. I was very much into having the cool job when I was in my you know when I was 20 in my early 20s I I didn't really care that I made a little bit of money or a lot of money. I just wanted a cool job.Mark Titus  9:45  Yeah, I so I had the same same experience same motivations, it was best thing I had ever done or done or could have dreamt of doing so. Alright, well so we know that What you do is revolving around fish and bringing other people to that, that fish and that sense of wonder. I'm going to start out with some really crucial life important questions here like this one. for fishing, in particular, and the outdoor in general, people that do it a lot and get out, tend to hold secrets about places that are special to them, or they've caught fish, or they've done well that. So the question I posed to you, and the bigger topic will reveal itself is secrets, to share or not to share? What is your general philosophy on sharing secrets about special places and special fish and things that you encounter in the wild?Dave McCoy  10:57  Well, general philosophy is I don't own any of those places I don't personally possess the private access to any of them. So therefore, while they may not be obvious by looking at Google Maps, or to Gaza tear anything like that, if they were, if it was a space that was formative enough to me, then I can only imagine how it could possibly be the same for somebody else. And in the spirit of what I do. Professionally, I guess, I mean, in the spirit of what I do, if I think that that place could share that, you know, same impact with somebody else, I think they should know about it.Mark Titus  11:48  I wrestle with this, and I tend to agree. And, you know, really, the bigger question here, from my perspective, is, what is best for the resource, and what is best for the human experience interacting with the resource,Dave McCoy  12:09  boy.Mark Titus  12:10  And so, you know, I can just speaking from a human perspective, I know that going out to places that are wild, and free, and in in nature are medicine for me, and I feel a certain sense of calling to be helpful observers to others. And yet, we can also love something to death. And so there is that wrestling with, you know, telling somebody privately, either through your friends or family, or through your, your guide business, and I think that's a legitimate argument to be made that, you know, you've put in the time, tons of it, you invested in it, why should you give everything away. But then there's also social media, like people get in all sorts of hot water by posting pictures of, you know, really cool places, that not everybody who uses those places wants to be out into the general public. So I don't know, where do you draw the line with that stuff?Dave McCoy  13:17  It's a great question. I mean, I obviously I deal with that every day, I I personally managed, like 11 social media accounts. So I kind of rely on on beta, if you will, to, to supply that, that sort of constant stream to all those channels. There comes with that knowledge, obviously a responsibility to care for it. And like you already have mentioned, we can love something to death, and we're living among that situation right now. are within that situation right now. So I wouldn't say that it's, I don't, I'm not going to have an answer that's gonna, that's gonna paint a clear picture on this. I think that I'd like to believe everybody can be socially responsible and absorb something without feeling like they need to go reshare it and reshare it again and reshare it again, to the point where, you know, it gets over shared and then theoretically gets over fished or over loved. Where do you go with that? I mean, I think it's a great question mark. It's and it's, like I said, there's not a clear and easy answer to it.Mark Titus  14:46  I wrestle with it. You know, I mean, like, I've been filming little John's out on hikes that I like to do and I filmed one you know, going out cutthroat fishing, as you know, the You know, two weeks ago and and yeah, I didn't mention exactly where that was, I mentioned it was in Puget Sound, but one of the reasons is my, my dad is experiencing limited mobility, he had a back injury and you know, people like my dad get a sense of being able to participate by seeing these things, and it feels like it. Its intention at its best is to be of service, and to provide some cool, you know, experience for folks. At the same time, you know, I really wrestle like, man. You know, is it going to serve, the greater good to have everybody showing up here, but then again, it's not for everybody, either.Dave McCoy  15:47  So let me let me interrupt you really quick. This is something I've been wrestling with two things, I've been wrestling with one for a long period of time. And the second one, sort of recently, as we morphed into talking about what I know is inevitable in our conversation. The first is so many people in our industry. I'm just, it's gonna, I'm gonna sound like an asshole. So many people in our industry, and I'm going to sound like a hypocrite to some degree to rely upon a lot of these places, and exploiting them for money. I'm not gonna lie, I run I operate a guide service, I own a business that depends on people going out fishing, to buy stuff in order to enable them to go do that. Right. Yep. But if you just look critically at all the media out there that's put out there in an effort, at least from people in my position, how many of them are obviously or even semi, obviously charging the consumer with the idea of being responsible in their endeavors out there? Not many. And in a consumer driven market, like we are the big players, the people that have the most eyes on whether they want to admit it or not. They're a role model. This goes back to Charles Barkley back in the 80s. Talking about him not being a role model. Both Yeah, you are a role model. And therefore, knowing that your business is reliant upon the use of all these resources, you need to be being more of an advocate for Responsible engagement. It's not there yet, we're not there yet.Mark Titus  18:08  How do we get there? You are? Honestly, just I know, a lot of fishermen. And I know a lot of people that are into this sport, and lodge owners and friends that are I consider very well respected people in the industry. And they, they all hold you in high regard for this. How do we move the needle toward the rest of us, really carrying that mantle as well? And, and walking the walk, like, like you're describing?Dave McCoy  18:41  That's, that's hard. I mean, you're really talking about, you're talking about one of a number of different ways and probably a collection of them together. One is it's got to be grassroots, there has to be a base of consumers that realize, and this kind of feeds into the second item that I wanted to mention. There needs to be a base of consumers that are going to finally decide they've had enough and are going to be vocal enough to start making these people. These are these companies be more responsible in how they market in what they market? And to eventually, you're going to have this generational change in the people managing and owning these businesses are going to have come up through this sport at our time now, where resources are diminishing. And yet, we're still trying we're still talking as a as a industry about growth. How do we grow this was a huge growth year. Well How do we consciously talk about that, and in the same breath, recognize that we're trying to bring more people to the sport while watching through privatization through mineral extraction through esa listing of species? How do we, how do we, in good conscience, bring more people into the sport in order to achieve that growth, realizing that there's fewer and fewer places for them to actually go to enjoy it. And eventually, you're going to have people come through that, this timeframe and the industry that will then be in charge of running these companies or their marketing arms. And I think we'll start to see that change. Unfortunately, like everything else, it's going to take time, it's going to be a reactionary thing, a little bit like government.Mark Titus  20:55  This is a fantastic topic. And it's definitely going to play into one of my last questions I have for today. But you know, we're in this time of transformation, there's going to be pre COVID, and post COVID. PC, you know, in the history books, and we have all had to pivot, we have all had to sacrifice to some degree, we've all had to dig in and find ways to be resilient. How is this shaped you in 2020? And in really, in the framework of what you were talking about, in the bigger picture of how do you how do you find a way to be resilient, and, you know, profitable, still sustainable in a business sense, with a resource that's seems to be only growing smaller or not? Certainly not getting bigger at the moment. But what is your personal compass, Ben in this last year, which has been so challenging, I know as for your business, from your location in in a part of Seattle that got, you know, cut off from the rest of Seattle during a pandemic? But what how have you sort of navigated these waters? And how does that look and affect your, your view on sustainability moving forward?Dave McCoy  22:26  Well, it's how to, it's had an considerable impact. During this last 12 months, we've had the time to look fairly, fairly critically at who and what we are, as a business, we there's fisheries in this region that I don't feel like should be open. And so therefore, we really backed off of advertising that were even guiding them at all. Because I don't want to be a party to the to the hammering the nap, last nail and knees, fisheries coffin. And I've had to have fairly colorful conversations with people that argue that our presence there, during even during these times is necessary in order to gallows the term they used in order to sort of keep the order and, and anyway, regardless of how they said it, at the end of the day, it's my feeling on those comments towards us deciding that we didn't want to guide certain fisheries was really a view from from where I said that those people are a little bit worried that if someone like us decides to stop guiding is that a cascade effect and more people decide to do the same. The state sees this from, you know, what should be a support of their management policies in favor of closing fisheries that should be closed based on NOAA and escapement. Anyway. So we did, we did a lot of internal searching. And I felt like the way that a number of things I'll try to cut to the chase. One we went, we went carbon slash Climate Neutral as a company this year. I feel like this is a way for us to, as a business constantly continue to do what we do in an urban area on fisheries that are heavily impacted by that proximity to the urban area and the interest in fly fishing. By not contributing to some of the factors that are negatively impacting them. To I didn't hire some staff back after COVID for the sake of of trying to reshape how the people that work for me think about the about the industry to My take is I don't necessarily need to grow, like have this percentage of growth in sales in order to be sustainable. I'm in a space where I can be sustainable based on our outlook and how we operate as a business. As long as I can manage to maintain what we're currently doing, which I believe we can. My wrestling matches that I believe we've got a slightly different view of the world and our fisheries and how to operate within them as a as a business like ours, that I want to have an impact on more people with that perspective. That's a problem. Yep. Hence, podcast.Mark Titus  26:12  Yeah. So this is, this is all heady stuff. And it's important stuff in you know, especially if you're gonna keep going and doing and, you know, serving the people that get so much out of what you offer. But you've already been doing things. You've been spearheading efforts, that man back when we grew up would have been, you know, preposterous. Catch, and release was such a thing. When we were growing up, it was like, why would you do that you've got a perfectly good stringer. And now, you've recently, you have really led the way. Lots of other people are as well advocating for this, but you've really been vocal about three words, keep fish wet, that water thing. And what is that? How did it evolve? And why should we do it?Dave McCoy  27:10  Well, you already alluded to it. The whole idea of having a perfectly good stringer and a lot of places, has kind of led us to this diminished resource. So that was talking about, we've just got fewer fish in a lot of places. And we just have to recognize even as catch and release, it's a Bloodsport, we do have mortality from catch and release fishing. That mortality rate will increase. The longer you play a fish with too light of a rod, and then hold them out of water for too long a period of time. And we can get into a tit for tat argument over exactly how many seconds that might be. But let's just agree to agree here that the fish don't breathe oxygen like we do, they can only breathe when they're in the water. And in the spirit of knowing that we're doing what we're doing as a catch and release angler. Who we shouldn't be in spirit of conquest and having achieved our goal, we landed a fish, we tricked it into eating our fly and we won, we should be good sports, we should just get them back on their way as quickly and as as gently as possible if that's going to be the intention. So there is no reason for us to be holding them out of the water, landing them on rocks, doing all the other things that have been the norm and been acceptable for generations. It's, it's it's one simple little little change of of manner, and how we continue to be impactful on our on our fisheries. It's really not that hard.Mark Titus  28:58  So just help me fill in the blanks and paint the picture here. I'm standing in a river and I'm casting to trout, and I hook one what happens next? What do I do?Dave McCoy  29:13  Well, hopefully you landed Yeah, we're not I mean, I've gotten to this place now where I really honestly truly for myself, personally, I don't really care if I catch fish anymore. I I really enjoy just being on and in the water. That's why guiding is still so much fun for me because I get to it's more fun living through somebody else's rod than mine anymore, almost so and then capturing it with the camera, even if it's not the fish if it's just the scenery and little, little things going on around lambda and lambda quickly and I think that there's ways to still make the fish the hero and capture that essence of that of that fish in a way that keeps it wet, keeps it in the water and doesn't and doesn't require the possibility of the fish flop Friday if that could go away make me so happy.Mark Titus  30:15  And tell us tell us what the fish flop Friday is all about.Dave McCoy  30:18  It's this right here where you see if I've got something I can do that with you land your fish and you're like hugging it like this and it goes. Mark Titus  30:30  Okay, yeah, fish fly Friday. Got it.Dave McCoy  30:32  Yeah. So there's, there's a way for us to like not do that anymore and still give the fish the credit there do with regards to you know, capturing, being able to show friends that you you know that you did catch a fish. And then it was a pretty one.Mark Titus  30:50  We're going to go ahead and check out our Instagram feed at save what you love podcast. And you can check out Dave's Instagram feed which is @ewaflyshop_seattleDave McCoy  31:03  Well, @ewaflyshop_seattle or @davemccoyewa,Mark Titus  31:10  There are great photos and we'll post them in all three of those showing underwater shots of fish. And if I'm if I'm following the story correctly, and looking at the images correctly, basically, instead of a fish flop Friday scenario that you put painted nicely, we're talking about netting the fish gently and rubber net, and then perhaps taking an underwater photo with a GoPro or something similar and gently letting that fish go is that sound about right? Dave McCoy  31:42  And granted, I walk around with $30,000 worth of camera gear every day. And I don't expect everybody to do that. I don't expect everyone to even have an underwater capable iPhone. But there are some some very creative ways that are compositionally very attractive to photograph a fish without having to lift it out of the water. Even if you want your face in the photo with it, there's there's ways to do it.Mark Titus  32:17  How far of lifting a fish out of the water is acceptable in your mind. I mean, at all or it's like...Dave McCoy  32:25  If you just, I... this gets into a creative space for me or you know, keep fish wet talks about fish and dripping. And I know that they're trying to find a place where they've got the path of least resistance for acceptance among our among our sport constituents. I just prefer not to remove them fully guild from the water if that's possible. I like having the I ride out of water level, I think you get some really cool reflections, WI and coloration throughout the frame of keeping that fish right there at water level, it slips out of your hand, you can taco shell it in a way that you're not putting your hand all the way around it. In general, it just lends to a better handling of the fish period. So.Mark Titus  33:17  That makes sense. So I think all of this is driving toward doing what we can with our own actions and our own behaviors, to venerate and protect and hopefully recover the fish that we have left the fish that we love. So with that in mind. I'd love for you first of all, because we've been slinging around this word anatomist. Can you give us a definition of anatomists fish? What does that mean? You know, for those who aren't necessarily from the Pacific Northwest or have those kinds of fish in their watersheds, Mark Titus  33:54  Simply put, it is a fish that goes to born in freshwater goes to saltwater and comes back to spawn again. And in that same fat in that same freshwater, migrating up rivers from the sea to spawn as it is said so eloquently in the app.Mark Titus  34:20  Perfect. So in this part of the world in the pacific northwest of the United States, we are facing unparalleled challenges for our anonymous fish here, Pacific salmon and steelhead, which are a sea run rainbow trout. This is a hot topic, it can go on forever. We could talk for three hours and not even scratch the surface. But I would love to know from you. What do you identify as the top three challenges we currently face in their survival and recovery here on the west coast and salmon nation from Northern California, clear up to top of Alaska.Dave McCoy  35:05  Top three? Well, in the spirit of being controversial, I would say that we, as a angling community can't even agree on, on the science behind what numbers are right, what numbers are wrong, and what really is the cause behind their decline. So first and foremost, the angling community is going to have to be able to come together, and agree that this has gotten to a point where we have almost loved them to death. And that opportunity is going to have to take a backseat, if we want to have this opportunity, at least the immediate opportunity, it's gonna have to take a backseat, if we're going to want this opportunity in the future for wild fish. So that's, that's one fairly substantial part to because at the end of the day, we're gonna all have to be able to voice again, a very grassroots concern for how they're managed and provide the latitude for managing agencies to do the right, do the right thing, make the appropriate decisions on behalf of keeping these wild fish around. Currently, we kind of barely have that, if, if at all. Because we still want to point at each other and be pissed off that that guy throws spoons, that that guy is throwing a float that that guy's bought, or fishing and that I'm swinging. And then we can almost barely even talk to each other a lot of times, because of that sort of animosity among you know, how we feel internally about how we fish and the end of the day, my God, if the fish aren't there, who cares how you fish for them?Mark Titus  36:54  that's brilliant, andDave McCoy  36:56  Jesus Christ, we need to get over ourselves a little bit.Mark Titus  36:59  Well, and then you get outside of that bubble of our angling bubble. And then you're moving into commercial fishermen and the generations of prosperity, that that's broad and livelihoods that that that that is brought in. Moreover, a lifestyle of being in tune with the ocean and, and fish. And that's just as legit as a sport fishers perspective. And then you talk about the tribes, they'll go even further back. I mean, I just was I had the privilege of being on this gadget with upper Skagit tribe and some folks there that, you know, saw a young woman out for the first time in her life fishing for steelhead in her tribal waters that, you know, this is a 10,000 year legacy there. So it's, it's seems kind of absurd to me that any one group can have any kind of a claim of superiority or ownership in these watersheds. But you concur with that.Dave McCoy  38:08  Yeah, I mean, it's appropriate to probably go down this path right now. But if you want to go back far enough to talk about, you know, what is really impacting our stocks right now. You know, all the big ones that that people want point at from habitat, dams, and overharvest. and stuff like that. Weren't, as far as I can recollect, from my reading of history, an issue until us lovely white folk showed up in the Pacific Northwest. That would be true. So the fact that we're, all of a sudden, on a soapbox talking about how this goes down to real, real hot button topic, for sure. But it's all hot button. It just just only cascades from here. But I don't see how it all I'll try to touch it as delicately as I can, but to get upset at the tribes under their Treaty, taking half of the fish that return knowing that we had as much of an impact or probably more of an impact on the reason why the half as small as it is now is hypocritical in and of itself. tribes, a lot of them not all of them, but a lot of them are reticent to really work with us to and or trust us enough to really go down the path of me maybe stepping back their harvest in the hopes of allowing more fish to come up and actually spawn and a lot of that's because by and large, most The time we haven't taken maybe the hate this word, haven't taken the word, the best first step in trying to mend bridges with, you know with them in that in that co managing relationship. It's still very abrasive, and a lot of ways, and that is gonna have to change to.Mark Titus  40:22  Yeah, I agree with everything you said. And I think ultimately, again, you know, we could talk about this and it goes down to so many braids of channels here that it really is unending. But we are in a place that is unparalleled. I mean, here in Puget Sound, and the sailors sea. Chinook are right on the border of an endangered species listing. And that, of course, affects orcas that affects our identity as people here. So what do we do? Where do where do we go? And what are the sacrifices we're willing to make from this point forward? I don't think our population is going to decrease anytime soon. Washington just got voted yesterday, apparently, as the best state in the nation to live in by someone and just I think, you know, without a doubt, our population is not going down. So like, on a individual level, from an individual business perspective, like your business, Emerald water anglers, from a guide perspective, you guide people on the river, you guide people around the world.Mark Titus  41:47  What, What can we do to save this thing that we love so much? And with the the tools that we have at our disposal right now?Dave McCoy  41:57  Wow. Well, I had, so this is gonna sound like a complete pivot on that question. But it really isn't. It really does go right to the core of what I was saying earlier. And that is to look, you know, at the optic we currently have of our fisheries and what gets celebrated and promoted so heavily by everybody is going to have to change. Or we're gonna have to quit fishing. If we want to continue to fish, we're going to have to make the carp King, we're going to have to make bass on a flyrod, the coolest freakin thing you've ever targeted. We're gonna have to diversify how we utilize a flyrod to engage in water and glean that enjoyment, that soulful, spiritual sort of cleansing that water can bring us in those moments, we're gonna have to just shift how we utilize those things together in order to provide the space for those fish that are in trouble to be able to try to regain their their stronghold again.Mark Titus  43:17  I don't think that's a pivot at all. I think that is a legit answer to that, and one coming from your heart and from your experience. And I think you're veering suspiciously close to storytelling, being a big part of what we do and how we not only tell our customers and our friends and our family, but the next generation, you know, how to move forward in this space that we're in, and how much storytelling is involved in in the work that you do.Dave McCoy  43:59  I work in a fly shop. We have people come in and they want to show us the fish they got. I will I'm happy to say that more times than not when somebody comes in to tell us a story about or talk to us about fishing where they were whatever. Am I am I challenged people with this all the time? Like, yes, you may go, Hey, check out my fish. Look at this. Isn't that awesome? But then that story unfolds and you realize that if you wasted two minutes of oxygen on the story, how much of it was really the fish? Think about that. What rods did you break? What near car accident or a speeding ticket or whatever did you get into or almost into or out of? Who are you with? What were the jokes that were told what You know, birds Did you see? And how close were you to flipping the boat when the orb broke and how much flesh came off of that, you know, on barbed hook that your buddy forgot to pinch down when you were taking it out of the middle of his back, I mean, all the things that that provide that color and richness to your fish at the end of the day. That's really why we're going to do it. And a very good friend of mine asked a great question the other day, if there was not a single fish in the river, would you still go out and spray cast? completely fair question. Answer is probably not right. I mean, like most people, if you're going to be honest with yourself, if you knew there wasn't a fish to catch there would just still go fish, would you still go swimming? fly? 99.9% of people are going to say no. And I get that. But our fish are so depraved. Now there's, there's so few of them now that that we are effectively going fishing, knowing we're not catching anything. And so there's got to be something else that continues to draw us down that path. Even when we don't catch the fish, did you still have a good time I had a blast. Well, let's, let's highlight that, let's highlight why that was so fun in the in the process of not catching a fish, why you still want to go do it again. And like he said, that is storytelling. And that is what we need to spend more time helping people to understand that the result is is really not as glorious as the path you choose to walk towards it.Mark Titus  46:50  Absolutely, I think you and I have talked at length before about the sort of matriculation you go through as a fisherman and as a person growing up who gets into the sport, it's in the beginning, it's all about catching as much as you can, and touching all of it and and somehow possessing it and you grow out of that after a while. And it doesn't consume you. I think that you bring on a great point about observing what's around you. And that story leading up to that moment of connection with a fish. I got to go out on the schedule yesterday and continue to flail away and learn you know, this craft of spey casting that I have now Thank you, Dave, hopelessly enamored of, and, you know, didn't touch fish all day. absolutely loved it. I'd be there doing it 100 times right now, if I could, but I remember the way the light looked on the water coming through the clouds. I remember hearing a grouse thump, thumbing and hearing that evidence of spring come out in the creeks. And it is this experiencial thing. So with that in mind, I wonder, you know, I know a part of your work is in adventure, guiding and taking people traveling around the world and to various incredibly cool places. And how do you see that experience and that product that you offer? growing, changing, augmenting, given the the world that we're in right now, given the environmental impacts that we're dealing with? And why, you know, why? Why do people want to do that in the first place?Dave McCoy  48:54  Those are those were all great questions, too. I think it's, I think it's had a COVID had a really rough impact on the travel industry. And I mean, just on just on every industry. I'm it's, it's really sad to just see where we are currently, you know, within our sport and understanding how the greater world is dealing with with everything that happens in this in this event of the pandemic. We just have products we're not gonna be able to get for months, and I've slowly seeing emails come from manufacturers talking through and around the topic of in case you were hoping to get a size 12 boot in that you might see it in August type of thing and like it's a it's a bigger picture. It's a bigger picture question in that. I think the for me, it tells you you already hit on it's the travel part. It's a story I look at as an opportunity to take this little tiny globe that we have thanks to social media, and make face to face personal connections with all the people that are revered globally. And I'm honored to be able to say that many of them are personal friends, because I've chosen to go see them, where they grew up, where they guide where they operate businesses, and I think there's something really refreshing and stepping out of your comfort zone into a place where you feel awkward, do you feel tested, do you feel uncomfortable, and then you meet somebody that is so closely aligned with your values, but it's on their terms, as far as watershed governments, natural resources, the topography, the all the different thing, all the places that make it different, because it's a different part of the world, and see them looking at the sport through exactly the same lens that you are. It I get chills up my spine thinking about it. There's some unbelievable people in our world, in our sport, doing exactly what we're trying to do here wrestling with all the same issues. And it gives me hope that we really can as a, as an industry, facilitate a positive change on on, so much that we rely upon that the rest of the world will actually at some point have to thank the fly fishing industry for caring so much.Mark Titus  51:43  I think that there is no question you can see the data reflect this, that folks that are in the sport, fishing and hunting communities are contributing tremendously to conservation efforts, in terms of protecting land, protecting watersheds protecting wetlands. And so that's why I asked this question, you know, about travel and about fishing and about touching fish and about, you know, still doing these things that have very real consequences for the fish. You're burning fuel when you're traveling. That's, that's a carbon emissions issue. But what is the bigger picture? What is the bigger advantage of creating these experiences and sharing these experiences it with reasonable limitations, you know, not not jet setting around the world all all the time every day? You obviously can't do that right now anyways, but, you know, I've been asking folks, why why keep fishing? You know, why keep meeting people in other places, other parts of the world in person? And how can we, with technology now augment and enhance those experiences and maybe reduce our harm to the resource to the fish and the carbon footprint as well? Can you speak to that a little bit? What what are your ideas? Your visionary? What are your ideas in that space?Dave McCoy  53:35  Well, you're a filmmaker. And I think when you put when you put stories and situations, people in the place where you've got maximum exposure with limited amount of footprint involved, such as that you take a movie you make it Yeah, you traveled to do it, as did the people that helped you. But you, you do it in earnest, and with the right intention, then you come back, you make a film that gets to touch 1000s and 1000s of people. It's a little bit what I said earlier, I i understand that I'm what I am as a business, you know, the part of my business selling trips and selling product is hypocritical to some degree, in the grand scheme of trying to not impact our fisheries any further, right? I just believe that there's a way to tell the story to people through the lens of a camera for video or still and help them want to go engage more responsibly, then what you're seeing in the average advertisement for somebody that's trying to just like Travelocity is saying, hey, you should go to Seattle and go fish.Mark Titus  55:07  I really like that.Dave McCoy  55:08  Does that resonate?Mark Titus  55:10  It totally does. And I got two other thoughts. One is you've already touched on and I really liked the picture you painted of. Let's make carp sexy. Yeah, let's make, you know, bass, Pike, other, you know, fish that are not necessarily as threatened as an agile Miss fish. And I grew up duck hunting with my dad. And we would go over to the potholes in eastern Washington, and there were carp scare the living shit out of you first thing in the morning, you're putting out the decoys. And this thing would bump your leg and you know, you're thinking Jaws, and it's the golden ghost. But boy, those things will, you know, those things will give you a run for your money. And you're still out in nature, and you're still connecting with your loved ones. And so that's that's one thing like alternate the storytelling to another lens, and another different version of, of that way of doing things. And then the second thing is, can you see you mentioned using a lens filmmaking is is one part of that, can you see any application of, of augmented reality or virtual reality, or these emerging technologies to enhance, not replace, but augment and enhance our desire for connection to the natural world to each other? And to the let's face it the cool stuff that you sell at your fly shop?Dave McCoy  56:46  Well, I mean, I think we're headed there, whether we like it or not. Yeah, I think it's common. In fact, I'm sure there's some people right here and in Seattle Bellevue that are working on it as we speak. some degree of Neil, find a little bit of sadness in the idea that you engage with this in in from the comfort of your living room. But how is that different than just watching a really well done TV show that inspires you to, to all of a sudden buy a reusable water bottle and not use plastic anymore? It's, I think it's kind of the same to be completely honest, I do too. And if that's a place where sect of the of those that want to engage with it can do so. And, and still be within the, the confines of a house, you're eliminating the carbon footprint, you're if you can set it up well enough, because one of the things I was going to mention is the whole skill set and you know, wrapped up in fly fishing is why we do it. If it was about tossing bait, and just drinking a beer. You've chosen the wrong facet of fishing to to pursue, we're more engaged here, we're worth thinking and employing so many different elements of where the fish are, what time of year, is it? What's the water temp? clarity? turbidity? What bugs are hatching? What bait fish are in the water? Are they in spawn mode? Are they migration mode? Are they fresh from the salt have they been in the fresh for a long time? how you approach that water based on where you think the fish are going to be? All you know, we've got a myriad of different little tidbits of data points that we're employing all at the same time to try to catch that fish. And that's why we do it as fly fly anglers. It really, truly is. And so going back to your earlier question, that's why we try why I travel because taking what I've accrued as my skill set and putting it to test again, something I don't get to go do every day. Now we're talking about fun. I again, I don't necessarily give a crap if I catch a fish or not. But it is really fun to see if I can hold my own with what I possess against something that I have never had the opportunity to practice for before. And so if you take somebody to a place where you can inspire them through augmented reality, or a movie or a single picture, and can paint that picture well enough for them to find that same inspiration as close to home as possible. Then we're then we're doing right by the sport and right by the fish. I believeMark Titus  59:55  We had Chad Brown on the podcast here and he He's a fisherman whose work involves bringing kids from the inner city kids that have had tough times growing up some trauma and also socio economic background that wouldn't allow them necessarily to get into the sport. And he's putting them in that position harkening back to what you're talking about, about the paradox and the conundrum of how do I keep a sustainable business going and grow it? And understand also that there is certainly a segment of the population that can't necessarily afford to get into the sport is there is there a space that you can see, or visualize for bringing more people into the sport into this consciousness and more ways to connect people in a meaningful way, that will then help create the the champions for the resource for the environment for the stewardship of the land and the rivers and the Salish Sea? moving forward in the future?Dave McCoy  1:01:13  Yeah, I actually believe I can. And I think when you, at least when I look at what, what I would throw out there as a possibility, there's gonna be a ton of people there and shake their head and be like, no, that's ridiculous. That sounds really stupid. Again, fly fishing has so much depth to it, it's the proverbial black hole for anybody who thinks that they want to be perfect in any endeavor, or be the best. Again, I hate the word best in any endeavor, they will find that the carrot is always just out of reach in front of them as they excel and grow their own skill set. And in the spirit of that, I don't know that your talk, you know, first and foremost, love is king. Chad Browns leading comment. I love that Me too. And I love what he does a lover, His heart is with that good for him. In the spirit of what he's trying to do, we all know the impact that the natural world can have on even those of us that are privileged enough to see it as often as we do. But fly fishing, and the skills that we employ to do it don't necessarily have to be employed in towards an actual fish per se, with somebody who's never who doesn't even get to go outside that often. Like if you can just get people in a place where they can challenge themselves with what we do fly casting, I think that provides a fairly sizable space for people to feel like they can either shrug the weight of everything that's going on in their day to day life by having this focus so intently on on that piece of the sport, to being in a in a field or on a lake, somewhere where the fishing isn't your fly casting, not fly fishing, and therefore you're just you're just enjoying the skill set. It's like going and throwing a baseball with a buddy, you know, playing the game, but you're enjoying all of those a bunch of the different aspects of that sport by just tossing the ball between between the two of you. Right?Mark Titus  1:03:51  Yeah, so so you're suggesting and painting a picture of actually using the skills that flyfishing has to offer and stretching your skills by going through the exercise and doing the thing I mean, I was actually thinking about that this morning, you know, of just the like the example of yesterday going out on this gadget again, and I don't know how many casts I made. And I sure don't know how many I made well, I know how many I made poorly. A lot But um, I love the motion of it and I love the the way that it feels when you suck sex, you successfully release the line and it it hits and it you know, extends and shoots all the way out and if there is a challenge involved in that it is still experiential. And and I think that there is some absolute draw to that for sure.Dave McCoy  1:04:58  Yeah, and and I know. That's like, again, it's a, it's a mindset that would have to be thoughtfully sort of put in front of people. But we have a ton of people sign up for casting classes. And at the end of the casting class, there, yeah, some of them are talking about what it's like to actually go fish, but a lot, a lot of them, they just like to cast. So if you just extend the idea of that, and we already do it, we have fly casting competitions. We have accuracy competitions, we have an FFA exam that requires you to be extremely proficient at a number of different things that you can do by doing this for the flra. You know, I think I think that we've got more aptitude than we give ourselves credit for, we just haven't been put in a place where we have to tap into it as fully as we may have to in the near future.Mark Titus  1:06:03  Well, coming back to the, you know, the three things that you identify as the top three challenges we're facing, I think, is a general summation, the best thing I've always heard is from my friend, Ann Shaffer, at the Elwha. And, you know, she says, protect the best and restore the rest. And she's, of course, referring to habitat, and there are certainly things that we can't control out in the ocean. And there are an infinite number of things to argue about in terms of catching fish retaining fish handling fish, allocation of fish, by humans. But just in terms of habitat, how would you look at where we are? And what do you think that are? What do you think are the most important things that we need to address in the next 10 years? For habitat for an address fish?Dave McCoy  1:07:04  Well, I'm not a scientist, so I'm not even gonna go there with that. But I would say that when people come into the store, this might sound long winded, but I'll get to the meat of your question. When people come into the store and ask the question, you know, why are fish in this shape? And what are the causes that's, you know, God causes. There's a fairly long list of things that have an impact on dams, old timber practices, mining practices, commercial bycatch, poaching, catching kill sport fishing. As ocean acidification decrease in top predators, apex predators, like the Orca have allowed an increase in secondary predators like seals and sea lions that predate upon anatomist fish. I mean, it just really depends on how far down this list you want to go before you say stop. Okay, I got it. Okay. So my understanding is that in a lot of ways, we have the habitat in many of these rivers, that there are other impacts taking place. And whether that is and I'm just, I'm just throwing it out there. I'm not saying that I know. But whether that is we have to readjust what we think is a sustainable returning number of wild fish to actually plateau and get back to sustainable or whether there's something that literally is out of our possible control right now, at least at the level that we're talking about, that we all share this planet. And we can only do so much as Americans or even as American anglers. So what are the Chinese, the Japanese, the Russians, you know, all the other people on the live on the same little orb that we do how you know and are purveying their, your, you know, exploiting the resources in international waters where there just isn't the oversight and the and the management that there probably needs to be as far as harvest goes. And you know, each country has their own like this is a that's an that's a difficult question. Not one that's easily answerable. I would say that we probably have to do what we can here to mend the bridges and the relationships that may most immediately have enough of a blip to possibly Increase the return of wild fish here and continue to look further and bigger with regards to other issues and try to determine what has caused them. And then as humans are going to have to make some hard decisions.Mark Titus  1:10:21  What are those decisions look like to you?Dave McCoy  1:10:24  Well, I mean, the dragging the feet to change industry to do better by the by the by climate is I get it, I guess it's hard when you're in a place that climate change has such an evident effect on, on what you live day in and day out what you wake up and talk about for the entire day, seven days a week. I don't understand how you can't acknowledge that it's real. Now granted, those of us that do what I do every day are a rounding error in the population of people that are doing commerce, nationally and globally. So by and large, there's just a lot of people that don't have that contact day in and day out with the resources to and haven't for a long enough period of time to really appreciate how much has changed over the years. And so we're beholden to them and their dollars, and how they choose to spend their dollars for lobbying and government. Which goes back to what I would say and challenge everybody in our industry do think about who and where and how you spend every single dollar you're going to spend. Because that is voting, maybe more important, so than actually going to the ballot voting.Mark Titus  1:12:08  David McCoy. Amen. Yeah, ultimately, we have a couple things that we can use to voice our opinions. And the dollar arguably is the strongest. You've done an amazing job, my friend, both in the work that you're doing, I frequent your store as often as I can. And in this discussion, and I'd love to reserve the right to keep it rolling. Because you know what, this is going to just continue on as a discussion in the next year or two years decade. And I'd love to come back and revisit it if you're up for it.Dave McCoy  1:12:43  Anytime. Cool. As long as you don't get booed off the airwaves for having me on here.Mark Titus  1:12:48  Hey, I'll let you know. It'll be the first to know. But before veiling here, I do a little speed round here at the end with everybody. And ordinarily I use the the visual of a burning house. But in your case, because it's apropos, I think we'll call it Your house is in the path of a flooding river, instead of a burning house. So, of course you get your loved ones out first. But in addition to them, what's the one physical thing you take with you before it gets swept away?Dave McCoy  1:13:23  So I don't have to worry about my family, or my cat?Mark Titus  1:13:27  Your cats a loved one too. You get your loved ones out first.Dave McCoy  1:13:30  Fine. My camera?Mark Titus  1:13:36  Now let's call it your spiritual house. What are the two most important things about your life about your values about who you are that you take along with you?Dave McCoy  1:13:48  Spiritual house, does it go back to my loved ones? Because my kid is, kid and wife are tied for first?Mark Titus  1:13:57  Yeah, I'd say that's like, then love.Dave McCoy  1:14:00  Is anybody going to answer differently on that? Unless they don't have family? In the house with them?Mark Titus  1:14:06  Well, I've had some folks answer their sense of gratitude, loyalty, those sorts of things. I think loyalties, that's right in there.Dave McCoy  1:14:17  Does that go with you inherently, though? Yeah. I mean, if you get out it goes with you.Mark Titus  1:14:25  I think what I'm thinking a little more esoteric situation of, you know, if it's all getting stripped away, and you have to hold on to those two things that are most dear to you. ideals, what are those ideals that you use the two most important ones that you take with you?Dave McCoy  1:14:48  Memories, and acknowledgement that I don't know everything. Humility.Mark Titus  1:14:57  That's good. Humility is excellent. And lastly, would you leave something behind in that flood?Dave McCoy  1:15:09  Esoterically again? Yeah. I would say that I'm far from perfect. And if you had the ability to sever the cord from a non evolved, Dave McCoy to an evolved Dave McCoy, I'd leave that part of me behind. But in the same spirit, I wouldn't be who I am today not having done a few times in the past and learn from it.Mark Titus  1:15:50  So say we all. Absolutely. Dave McCoy, thank you so much for joining us here today. How can people get involved with your work? How can they follow along with what you're doing and support the amazing work you're doing for conservation and for engaging the rest of us with connecting with the wild world?Dave McCoy  1:16:08  First, I would say I'm, I try to be as accessible as possible. If for some reason you feel like I've got some answer I can give you to a question you might have reached out through Instagram, the store, email, whatever I'm here to, if you decide you want to start to pay closer attention to the environment and to conservation, look close to home and be the grassroots catalyst for saving something that's that maybe you overlooked daily that if it were gone, you would all of a sudden notice once it was and do what you can to save that and and from there it will it will lead you down down the path that I've been on for the last 30 years.Mark Titus  1:17:07  David McCoy, Patagonia ambassador, owner, Emerald water anglers, we will link to your Instagram accounts and to where folks can find you. Thank you for this conversation. Can't wait till the next one.Dave McCoy  1:17:22  Mark. I love you, buddy. Thank you for the opportunity, man.Mark Titus  1:17:24  Love you too, man.Whiskey Class  1:17:25  Music: How do you save what you love?Mark Titus  1:17:42  Thank you for listening to Save What You Love. If you like what you're hearing, you can help keep these conversations coming your way by giving us a rating on Apple Podcasts. You can check out photos and links from this episode at While there you can join our growing community. By subscribing to our newsletter, you'll get exclusive offers on wild salmon shipped to your door, and notifications about upcoming guests and more great content on the way that's at That's the word save spelled backwards wild dot com. This episode was produced by Tyler White and edited by Patrick Troll. Original music was created by Whiskey Class. This podcast is a collaboration between Eva's Wild Stories and Salmon Nation and was recorded on the homelands of the Duwamish People. We'd like to recognize these lands and waters and their significance for the peoples who lived and continued to live in this region, whose practices and spiritualities were and are tied to the land and the water and whose lives continue to enrich and develop in relationship to the land waters and other inhabitants today.⁣
Check out April Vokey and her work:⁣ Anchored Outdoors⁣ Anchored Podcast⁣ Into The Backing Podcast⁣ Instagram: @aprilvokey ⁣Other topics discussed:⁣Washington Boat Fishing Ban⁣Save What You Love with Mark Titus:⁣Produced: Tyler White⁣Edited: Patrick Troll⁣Music: Whiskey Class⁣Instagram: @savewhatyoulovepodcastWebsite: savewhatyoulove.evaswild.comSupport wild salmon at⁣Episode Transcript:⁣⁣Mark Titus  0:00  Welcome to Save What You Love. I'm Mark Titus. Today we get to hang out with April Vokey. April is an entrepreneur, she's a world class fly fishing guide, and she's created a community of outdoor enthusiasts like me, nd a lot of you, called Anchored Outdoors. And we're gonna dive into it with April today talking about our shared love of wild salmon, our desire to protect them, love and loss, and really how we dig in to protect the things we love most. Hope you enjoy the show. And if you want to follow us, we have a brand new Instagram feed. It's @savewhatyoulovepodcast. And you can check out all the things we're doing at That's the word save spelled backwards, wild dot com. Enjoy the show.Whiskey Class  0:57  Music: How do you save what you Love?Mark Titus  1:25  April Vokey.April Vokey  1:27  Hello.Mark Titus  1:28  Good to see you. Thank you for joining us. April Vokey  1:30  Yeah. Good to see you again, too.Mark Titus  1:32  Where are you coming to us from today?April Vokey  1:34  Today I am in sunny Australia.Mark Titus  1:38  What day is it? It's Sunday here.April Vokey  1:41  Yeah, it's Monday 10am. And I'm just waiting for it to get a little bit warmer over there. And I think I'm about to suck it up and go back to Canada.Mark Titus  1:50  I was just gonna ask you, what are you doing over there? What's going on in Australia?April Vokey  1:54  We had my dog was here and was really sick. And so for the last two and a half years, I've just been by his side. And yeah, now that unfortunately he's gone. I'm trying to find one silver lining in it. It's almost impossible. But the one silver lining is I get to see my aging parents again. So I'm getting ready to head on home and get back with my family.Mark Titus  2:19  Good deal. I am so sorry. I'm a dog person as well. All my life I have to pugnacious renters right now. And I know there's nothing I can say that's gonna really solve that. But it is I know how much in love with my dogs I am and I'm just so sorry for your loss. April Vokey  2:39  Thanks, Mark. Yeah, no, it's it's hell, it hell. And yeah, I don't really it's funny because I feel like the the human in me so badly wants to, like prep people for the things I didn't know. Like, I always like, well, maybe the silver lining is I can help somebody who doesn't see what's coming. But then it's like, also don't want to terrify people about what's to come. Because I know for almost 13 years, that was like, my number one fear. And it's as bad as you expect. So yeah, yeah. But you know, I'm reading a book, I'm reading a new book called it's okay to not be okay. And I think so far that looks like it's promising, because I just don't know what I just don't know what else to do. But try to face it.Mark Titus  3:25  That's great. I we're gonna get into a lot of this, I think. And, and it is okay to not be okay. Certainly part of my story. I think at the head of this thing, I just love to dive in right to the meat of this. And I'm inspired. This question is inspired by part of a podcast episode in your amazing podcast, Into The Backing that you broadcast in July I think last year was this particular episode, you were talking about the guilt or the selfishness about catching and releasing fish. And with that, just kind of as a general backdrop, I just want to ask you the big question. Why do you fish?April Vokey  4:14  Yeah, well, it's changed now to what what it was. I used to fish for the Mad adventure. Right and like it was never the fish, I started fishing quite young. And I'm talking like no, I'm not talking trolling worms with dad. I'm talking when I was 16 17, 18 19, 20 just wild out there. And it was for the excitement. You know, I wanted to run into bears and I wanted to turn the corner and my raft and have some awesome whitewater that I had to push through and I love getting lost like it's crazy, but I just loved the adventure. The fish were just a byproduct of the adventure growing up in British Columbia.Mark Titus  4:53  I know you've told your story many, many times. I've read a bunch of it in lots of different articles. It's a wonderful story. But if you could just for context for our listeners, could you give us a little bit of background how you found your way into this strange obsession that we share for fishing? And it doesn't seem like it was something that just came right out of your family? It seems like you kind of found it on your own.Unknown Speaker  5:19  Yeah, so Dad didn't fish, Dad doesn't fish. Nobody in my family really fishes. And so I was more drawn to the water. I think, really, the fish have always been a byproduct for me if I really have to look into it, because it was never the drawing. It was never what drew me to it. When I was a child. It didn't draw me to it when I was an independent teenager and young woman, and it still isn't what draws me to, you know, going fishing, it's never been the fish. And I understand it's different for everyone. But for me, it's just always been about the experience. But yeah, I love the water. And when I was really young, we were out and saw a dead salmon. That wasn't all you know, it hadn't been. It was it was pre spawn, not post spawn, so it must have hit its rock or something going up the canyon, or its head on a rock going up the canyon in any way. My parents explained that this enormous, beautiful, big Chinook salmon had tried to spawn and I'm looking at this river going yeah, but it's like 10, 15 feet wide. And they explained the migration. And that was it. For me, I was like, well, mathematics say that, obviously, I can intercept this fish, and it just kind of went from there. Then the rest is, you know, like I have mentioned before, and I don't want to bore you or bore anyone, but it was all I could think about I saved up my allowance to go and do it. And you know, by the mall, there was a tackle shop that became very quickly, my go to spot. So when I was in eighth grade, you know, 12, 13 girls would go to the mall, I'd go next door, get my stuff, spend my allowance on Jensen eggs, and then basically counted down till I was 16 to be able to go and drive and do it and then did that the day I turned 16 and met a man on the river who became kind of my mentor, not in fly fishing, but in conventional fishing. And I knew by 18 I was I was gonna do it professionally and set out to really, you know, expand my skills and my knowledge and started my own guiding company when I was 21 Well, I guess 2007 so whatever that was, I started guiding at 21 for someone else and then eventually started my own operation i a year after.Mark Titus  7:21  It's funny, I spoke with David James Dyson recently on the show here and the people that I really admire and have found their way into fishing and found a lot of solace in fishing and a lot of purpose and fishing actually say the same sort of thing. It's it hasn't been about the catching and possessing and the fish experience necessarily, at least just with the rod and reel for for David Duncan, it was beholding and I have a coho that came up out of the deep in Johnson Creek in Portland. And I'm hearing from you, you know, this encounter with a Chinook even though it was passed on, it still was this encounter of wonder. And I definitely felt that way as well. Like, you know, as two years old first time I encountered a fish with my dad a Chinook. He caught it I chucked my brand new little pole at it and lost it. And, but all the things, the squidy things and the flashy things and, and all of the things and then it just became like you this obsession to just keep doing it and learn more and go deeper. So I definitely identify with that.April Vokey  8:34  And the other thing, sorry to cut you off, but the other thing just look, it's all kind of flooding back to me now. But it was like I would be just as excited about fresh deer prints or fresh bear prints as I was about the fish but I think I wanted to connect and touch with all of those things, but obviously, you can't and so I think that the one thing that I could physically hold was was the fish I mean, I think the thought of killing something back then it was just like appalling to me right? Like going hunting for deer or something was never on was never an option for me back then it is now but it wasn't then. And so obviously I knew I wasn't going to catch a deer and cuddle it and you know, I tried catching mice I tried catching frogs I tried catching everything but the one thing that I really could control was catching fish. So yeah, I think now looking back it definitely wasn't about the fish. But I think that it was just the way it was like the final cap in being able to actually touch something after being out there and, and all that wonder.Mark Titus  9:38  I agree it is the connection part and I think we'll hone in that a little bit later on in the conversation here. But it is it was and it remains that connection part. That is what keeps me going still. So you you get this obsession. You're doing all this rad stuff as a young woman I mean, I gotta say, you know, come on that had a young guy like myself been able to hang out with a young girl who was into that sort of thing that would have been just beyond my wildest expectations. I didn't think creatures like you existed.April Vokey  10:18  You would have hated a creature like me, I was not someone you wanted to hang out with. I think I believe it. Seriously, I got way too envious. If you caught more fish than me, I didn't want to be around anybody because I just wanted to be out there alone. But then sometimes I knew for safety, I needed to be around somebody. All creatures like me, I don't know about the other gun, ladies. But I know for me 20 years ago, be thankful we didn't know each other mark, because I was a nightmare.Mark Titus  10:43  This, the competitive part does not surprise me.April Vokey  10:48  It was never like, that's the other thing is it was never about the fact of like, who caught more fish, it wasn't like that, because I'm still not competitive with my spouse fishes. I'm not, I'm not a competitive angler. But you know, when you're out there, steelheading. That's all I'm talking about right now stealing when you're out there, and it's been seven days in a row and you haven't seen a fish. And then for that glimmering 10 seconds, you get that up close and personal experience. It was okay if I could be there to see the fish and be there for the experience to actually see it. But if I was upstream, and my buddy caught that fish after seven days, and I wasn't even able to see it, that that's what I'm talking about. It was never who caught it. Remember, this is way before social media like there, there was no ulterior motive I there's no ego. I mean, it was nice to get a photo. But it was just I wanted to see that I and that cheek, after seven days of not seeing one. And so that's, that's more what I'm referring to.Mark Titus  11:47  I get it, I got it and had that same feeling. And it was about that. Missing that connection. If a guy next to me caught a you know, 45 pound King by stumbling into it. And you know, we've been pounding it for a week and haven't seen anything. It's, it's tough. It's tough. You, you push this and made this into your life. And that's incredible. takes courage. And you were really cooking along? How did your focus on life change in 2008?April Vokey  12:24  So is that with? Are you talking in regards to starting the company or my car accident?Mark Titus  12:29  I was referring to the car accident in particular. And there's some method to this. So if youApril Vokey  12:33  Oh, you're drawing me in, are you?Mark Titus  12:36  I doubt I could actually do that. But yes, this is the only way of making sense in my own little brain here. SoApril Vokey  12:44  That's, that's okay. And look, I'll be honest, you are getting me. This is you're the first person I really spoke to in two weeks since I've lost Colby. So I am definitely I'm easy to draw. And right now, I've got experience, I've got feelings I've never had before. I'm in a very strange, admittedly dark place right now, you know, so I have no idea what will come out of the conversation. But I'm just happy to connect with somebody. So absolutely. And that's, that's my hope to,Mark Titus  13:13  honestly, as part of this show. So yeah,April Vokey  13:16  and you do a great job. By the way, I've got to commend you. You do some wonderful work too. So but 2008 Yeah, I was going on a fishing trip I had I had been a cocktail server at a casino. And had up until then, I had guided in the day, and then I would cocktail at night. And that worked really well I either choose 8:30pm till 4:30am shifts, or I do tend to six depending on on season. am and so anyway, I had just gone down from full time into part time and was really excited to do my first ever filming with this fly max films, it was called them showing my agent out because this is long time ago. And so we're on our way to our first ever shoot, really and this is we're just holding little, you know, game cams. We didn't have a crew or anything and I was the guys were already there and I was driving up with a girlfriend and we got in a life changing car accident. So we were doing 100 going one way and the drunk driver she was three times in court three times over the legal limit. She was coming the other way 120 kilometers and she was in a three quarter ton Chevy and I was in my thankfully lifted Toyota Tacoma and we had like for headlight head on collision. And so everything just overnight changed. I mean everyone lived I don't know how they had to use the jaws to get the driver out and my passenger broke her back and the liver, pancreas and intestine were all detached and I walked away with a with obviously injuries but a rebuilt right foot I had a what's called a loose Frank fracture. So they had to basically rebuild my joints and plates and pins and all that stuff. And overnight, I thought, oh my god now. So because I had gone down to part time I lost all my benefits. And because being a waitress who just didn't, I did what we all did when you're, you know, in your early 20s, and like claim that I didn't make very much money and tip. So all of a sudden, I had no income at all. And I couldn't go back to work and unemployment insurance wasn't going to compensate me for my tips, because I hadn't been claiming them. Anyway, so long story short, I had to do something. And so I thought, well, I'm going to just dive headfirst into Fly, my company at the time was called Fly Gal Adventures, I remember that, yeah, and I couldn't keep guiding because I was obviously injured. And I couldn't teach and there was a bunch of stuff I couldn't do. So I got creative and started doing a lot of stuff online, where I could, you know, selling merchandise, tying flies, writing articles. And this was at the same time that Facebook came out, or was really starting to gain speed. And so I did utilize Facebook to launch my career. And obviously, that was met with a ton of criticism, because no one had done that, at that point, male or female, it was not being done. And so being a female doing it, and obviously using myself to some degree as clickbait, not sex, it's different. But, you know, I was catching beautiful big fish. And so I was posting pictures of beautiful big fish. And, and that obviously, was met with a ton of criticism, which I do understand, especially looking back now I can understand, but at the time, I was really trying to feed myself and do something I really loved. And it all just kind of happened at the same time as the car accident and social media. And I went through a really dark spot in trying to figure all that out. You know, I was this young adventure, and all of a sudden, I was stuck on a couch. Obviously, the trip was canceled. Filming was canceled. Everything was canceled. And I just remember laying on the couch being really depressed. And I've never had that before. Yeah, it's all it gets all flooding back to me now, especially feeling how I'm feeling now. But I had never been depressed and all this. So I called my physical therapist, and I said, Look, I know I'm not doing so well, mentally. And I all the guys are filming anyway. Excuse me, can I go? And you've got me doing physical therapy. I knew I was in a wheelchair. But I'm doing physical therapy anyway, with my upper body and it's still water season. It's May in June, it was May at this point. Yeah, May at this point, can I go up to the lake and roll myself around, I can wheel myself down and get in the boat. And anyway, so I did like one of the guys came back down. And we drove on up. And for six weeks, I lived in that boat and I was happier than a pig in s**t. I was I had my cast on I was in my wheelchair, I would wheel down eventually, over the next couple of weeks, I was able to get on my crutches. And then I would crouch down, put my rods in my boat. And we filmed that entire first season actually with me on crutches.April Vokey  17:59  But I was just happy, you know, and that was my real moment of, Oh, this is really life changing. I'm a totally different person than I was a few weeks ago. And of course it was this really weird high that I wasn't on painkillers either. So this was just this high of life of like, I'd realized that I'm only here for a short amount of time, and I'm going to use every single day like it matters. And then it really did it. It catapulted me into this strange sort of hype.Mark Titus  18:29  We're talking to a lot of folks, I'm one of them on this show about transcendent moments, you know, and I too, you know, through my journey through addiction have went to a place I never even comprehended, existed. And by grace came out on the other side, and I think that there is there is some commonality in this storyline, that people have to find some sense of a bottom or some sense of a stretching of their resilience into maybe achieving their potential or even having a glimpse of what that is. You just gave me one great example of courage of just getting off the couch, getting into a boat, even with a cast and doing this thing. But at 25 years of age you you did another huge example of courage. I think when you kind of cut a lot of things loose from your life and decided to move in another direction. Can you tell us a little bit about that? April Vokey  19:33  Oh, you're getting you're gonna get me dark here. Um, I don't know how I feel about this going on YouTube, but I'll share anyway. Yeah, so that I have never told anyone this before. I think I'm safe telling this. I had put off getting going through a lot of my PTSD and even you know, driving back up again, after I had to just close my eyes almost the entire way. Because every time that a car would come around the corner, I would have these horrible flashbacks. And so I just had these, I just didn't want to deal with it. So I was happy. And I was high. And I think this is why I've never admitted this because I don't want to deter from the stories that we do have to hit rock bottom. But I remember being in the hospital and the counselor had come to me and she said, if you don't start talking about this, you're going to get hit with it later. And as I've done that, I'm I promise God, that who or whoever was listening, that if I survived that crash, because in that moment of I knew we were going to crash. And I said to whomever was listening, like, God, if you just let me live with this, I promise I'll never take it. I will never ever, ever waste another day because I had been so career hungry, leading up to that point. And it was all that I focused on. And I put a lot of things second, and it just I didn't like who I was at the time. And so I just thought, you know, if you let me live through this, I promise I'll never take another day or relationship for granted again. And so and I did that. And so instead of having to deal with what I had just gone through, I was like, I can beat this, look how happy I am. Look how strong I am, I'm doing this, I'm happy. But every time that it would creep in and what it just happened, I would push it out in my mind. And a lot of things happened after that. And I started to look at my relationship a lot differently. It was like, you're miserable. And you're complaining about the littlest things that I just don't understand. Because I'm just happy to be alive and you should be happy to be alive. Why? Why are we letting these little things bother us. And so I grew away from my relationship and ended up doing another running away essentially, I got in my truck and I drove on up to the Bulkley at the time and disappear I thought it was gonna be gone for like six days, I think I was gone for I don't know, I was gone for over a month. And really just had this moment of like, I need to be free and somewhere in there and I and admittedly, I can't remember it's all a big blur. So I can't remember this happened before or after that Bulkley trip. But I had a total breakdown. I don't remember it. I just woke up in the hospital. And this is this is a little embarrassing, but I think that it is something I do want to mention because it is important to know in the story. I decide at some point in all of this I had drank myself into I've don't drink at all, by the way, never have. And one night somehow I just drank like a whole you know those big things of vodka from the airport? Oh, I do. I literally don't remember any of this mark. I have no idea. I was alone. I don't know anything. I just remember I woke up in the hospital. And my parents were like, I was like What has happened? And they said you. I guess somehow my sister walked got she my sister whose boyfriend was living inside of that was living with us at the time. Thank you Stevie and Dana walked in and I was totally unconscious. They haven't told me the details. I don't know if there was vomit or what. But anyway, I was severely poisoned. And they brought me to the hospital where I was pumped and admitted for a day or so. My parents were like, you're obviously going through something. It's when I spoke to I went to counseling after that. And they said this is PTSD. You've had a total breakdown. My parents moved me in with them. And at that point there, I left my relationship. I really left everything. And it's all coming back so fast anyway, and so that was in the fall. And that's when I got Colby. It's all just kind of hit me right now about Colby. I totally forgot about that. But that's when I got Colby. Now it all makes sense.Mark Titus  23:25  Colby your soul soulmate dog.April Vokey  23:29  And I just I did Yeah, I got Colby so I got back from that trip. It would have been October. I got Colby in November, and left my relationship and Colby and I started over and Colby and I absolutely kicked ass for the next 13 years.April Vokey  23:45  We were perfect. So yeah. So that's the timeline. I totally forgot that he came after that breakdown. But I was strong after that Mark. I was totally up until now. I have been so strong. I had there were no other breakdowns. I had a you know, I ran I had a bad couple bad. I had a single abusive relationship that didn't last that long and that one was fine. I got strong left that Colby and I have done well. Colby and I we I've beengreat since then. So yeah,Mark Titus  24:20  Well, you know, Brene Brown, among others suggest that vulnerability is a hidden strength that we don't talk about in North American culture often and we especially as males don't embrace or show and I definitely agree with that idea. And I've had to for my own survival vulnerability to me thank you so much first of all for sharing this and it just makes me first of all, feel for you. And secondly feel akin to you for the the depth of That grief that you're feeling. And I felt that as well. And I think it does make us stronger. I mean, if you're able to go there and deal with the PTSD that you've dealt with and feel the actual feelings for me, it was about putting the alcohol on top of the feelings because I didn't want to feel them. I wanted to obliterate them. And it wasn't until I got completely, I got my ass kicked completely, and completely admitted defeat, and asked for help and complete surrender, that I could find my way up. And so I appreciate you very much for sharing this.April Vokey  25:44  Oh, sorry. It's just it all hit Mark. That's, that's all part of it. There's been so much grieving with this thing Colby. And it all just hit, he was like, he was like my savior back then. And I've just relied on him for so much over 13 years. And then to have all of a sudden, just gone. It's like, anyway, it's just a whole, it's like an end of an era. It's, it'sMark Titus  26:08  it is,April Vokey  26:09  it's like for the first time in my life, I have to like stand up on my own. It's so weird, because everyone who just has dogs is like, it's just a dog. But he was, you know, like I said, before rolling we, if we're lucky, we have one soul dog, I think. And it's just a totally different relationship. I used to like, I used to, like, look at him. And in my head, I'd be like, blink, like, we are so connected. I feel like if you know what I'm thinking blink? I would it's insane. But I really believe I really believe that some people. Maybe we all do, I don't know. But I believe dogs are just they can do so much for us. SoMark Titus  26:49  well, I obviously agree. And I just I'm, I feel very honored that you're willing to share with me. So thank you. And, and I'm here for you like off camera. You know, off tape, if you ever want to talk through stuff, because I do a lot of that.April Vokey  27:11  Well, it's not you said something interesting. And the podcaster in me needs to, from my own comfort needs to sway it back at you. Sorry, but just so I could get my self together. Why do you think it is, I was telling my husband this the other day that I also believe that we need to hit rock bottom because admittedly, and I'm scared to say this because I don't want people in business to you know, think I'm going anywhere. I'm not. But I feel like I've hit rock bottom again for the first time in 13 years. And I said to him, but I'm stronger, and I'm more mature now. And so I can know that everything's gonna be fine and better. Because I believe in my experience anyway, that colbys taught me how to love my daughter better, how to live better how to just all the wonderful things that you learn from a relationship like that. And I was saying, you know, I know he's worried about me right now. And I said, look up to Fine, I will be better than fine soon. But why we were talking, we were trying to figure out why it is that we have to hit rock bottom to get to this stage like you hit rock bottom. And not just overnight. I mean, you hit rock bottom, gradually, it went on for a long time. Why do you think that hitting rock bottom helps us to you know, I'm stronger and taller than ever before?Mark Titus  28:21  I think you do a great job of flipping the script here and in the recovery community that I'm in we talk about hitting having to hit rock bottom and have you actually done it Have you actually hit rock bottom. And because if you haven't, and if you're trying to be of service to another person who hasn't, it's it's not gonna go very far. And really the reason is because for me, I still believed that my will and my control over the situation we're going to win the day that and that is the exact parallel with the the problem that I have, which is this isolation. I isolated myself from other people from other creatures from other souls from other beings, I think my affinity for a, an indigenous way of looking at the world and a way of life that doesn't have a word for religion, because everything is connected because everything is by his essence, part of the spiritual nature. So your your connection to Colby. My connection to my dogs, my family, my wife, my beloved ones in my life I had let that go down to the size of pinhole I had completely isolated myself because of the disease that I have. And so I kept thinking I could control it. Like, if only I drank this amount of booze as a medicine on these days and at these places, and I could control it all. And that was a course a complete illusion. And it wasn't until I had lost. Fortunately, I didn't lose my marriage, I didn't lose my house, I didn't lose all of my business contacts. I didn't obliterate everything. But I was on my way to, because out of fear, and out of complete isolation, because as an addict, as a person in recovery, an alcoholic, I isolate, I drink, I die. That's how that disease works. And, frankly, it was through grief, it was my inability to process grief to deal with emotions. It had something to do with being a male, but certainly not everything. It had more to do with being a human. And being a person that has a disease that tells me I don't have a disease. And so I needed to go all the way down to find that bottom underwater, in order to some way beaten and bedraggled. Reach up and ask for help. I didn't know how to do that. I wasn't taught to do that. That's not something that was in my lexicon. But when I did, the rest of the world was there to meet me, my higher power was there to meet me. My life is expanded to beyond anything I could have dreamed. Because of that, one moment of asking for help and asking for grace to come back in through the portal, but I, I wasn't gonna allow that to happen, because of my own will to control the situation. And that's why I think I needed to hit rock bottom. SoApril Vokey  31:56  do you define rock bottom as finally just completely letting control go letting go of control?Mark Titus  32:03  For me, it was it was a surrender. It was a surrender of I, despite my best thinking, I don't have this, I don't have this in spades like I think I do. And so once I did it, again, it just, the world opened up again. And now it's a part of, I have daily medicine, that's part of my ritual of, you know, quiet time, and meditation and connection with my community and reading and exercise and getting out and fishing every week, no matter what. Hiking, those are the things that I have to do. That's my medicine now.April Vokey  32:54  It's so true. It's so true. So on Friday, I'm taking that advice and I'm doing exactly that. My husband was like, you gotta go take a week just go. So I'm sorry, I don't even know where I'm gonna go. I know I'm going down to the Snowys and I'm just gonna get on that mountain and just start walking. Crazy, right? You know, it's like sitting around it I think that you can hit rock bottom and be at home. And again, I don't know I'm only gone through this twice. I've been through at once then and I'm going through something similar although not as bad now and the one thing that saved me last time was getting outside really getting outside making changes. Kidding bottom getting outside and I haven't done that in two weeks. I've been hard to get out of bed I mean I do and I hide in work. I'm a total workaholic always happen so I reallyMark Titus  33:45  don't know anything about that either.April Vokey  33:47  Because I can't I have a hard time sleeping with everything and nights are unbearable. I just work and so on Friday, I'm doing it so we should connect after that. I'll let you know how it goes because I haven't done much we can just get out.Mark Titus  34:01  Let's do I you know I honestly this is you're gonna laugh. So I had to trick myself into committing to this weekly. I'm call it wanderings now and so I made my brain think okay, it's part of work. So I actually go out and I fell. I filmed myself wandering in these various places. And I put it up on our on our Eva's well YouTube channel. And really, it was two things. It was one it was a way to trick myself into going out and getting that medicine every week. And the second part was, I know like my dad has some limited mobility and other folks are, you know, kind of house bound with COVID and I was like, Okay, this might be a cool way to be of service and share hiking and getting out to waterfalls, and I've just, I just filmed last week, catching 14 Searun Cutthroats in South Puget Sound and it was amazing, so fun. And it was like my dad can't get out and do that. So I started doing it and so it filled out whatever it takes, you know, it's just check those box And it does. It does give me that medicine dose that I need so good on you. And all you have you just got to startApril Vokey  35:08  and sounds like a one, right? Just get out there. Because there's so much science showing that it obviously there's biolog There's our reasons why it, it helps us. I can't think of a single moment in my life where getting outside hasn't helped me. So it's, I'm a little disappointed in myself that two weeks over two weeks in and I haven't done it but.Mark Titus  35:26  Well, disappointment doesn't serve us. But you know what, do whatever it takes to do it, go do it. And you're right. I mean, there's there's just no bad. There's just no bad time going out into the wild. I mean, it's going to. There's the research, but it's it's, it feels like home to me. And I know it does for you too. So well. We're going to do just a little bit more chronology for half a second. And then we're going to kind of get into current events here. But I 25, the year 25 years old was a big year for me. I kind of came into my own as a guide in Southeast Alaska. And I lived in the Tongass and I was guiding for five months a year and I lived out there for two two full winters at the lodge. It was some way out. place called yes Bay Lodge no roads. And I knew I was home for the first time. And I read a fair amount about during the time you were around 25 I read a fair amount about your advice to other women who fish and I guess you said you one quote you had was were the mascara if you damn well want to. And then I was particularly moved by a quote I read from a blog post that you wrote in 2009. I'm just going to read it here.April Vokey  36:49  Oh, this is so embarrassing.Mark Titus  36:51  Oh, it's good. I think it's I think it's really fantastic because you already talked about this a little bit. And you said "I'm allowing myself 10 minutes to remove my tongue from between my teeth and say a little something that has entertained my thoughts for the past six years. Assumption and I go way back way way back. High maintenance, made up ,prissy, fake my fishing buddies and I always chuckle when the guy who has too much time on his hands feels a strong desire to make a crack about my makeup or color of my hair. If only know they knew the joke was on them. Truth be told as a casino cocktail waitress for longer than I care to admit, serving drinks and pretending to care about the pace at which chicken fingers are served, allowed me to fish like a maniac during the day and learn more about fishing faster than the average weekend angler. Tight shirts, combed hair, manicured nails, I always had to fake ones to try and conceal my embarrassingly calloused and rugged fishing hands". I love that part. "And an easy on the eyes image we're all part of the uniform. For years I would work until the early morning on only to clock out and head straight to the river for some early morning fishing car packed with all my gear, a toothbrush and a small tube of paste. I would drive all night through icy canyons, stopping only for the occasional energy drink, day old coffee and consequently dreaded rest stops. When my eyes began to feel heavy, I would nap in the lonely bend of a highway pull out until I would snap back to consciousness by a semi truck or obnoxiously honking train. Hell or high water I was making it to the river so I could fish all day before driving all dusk back to work to do it all over again". And I was super moved by that. I mean, one about your image that you bring up about making it in the world. And I think another quote you said was you know, I was the best woman I could be then.Mark Titus  38:38  And your absolute dedication. This wasn't like you were out instagramming this this wasn't like you were out. April Vokey  38:47  There was no Instagram Mark Titus  38:48  doing this to be cool. There wasn't Instagram, right?April Vokey  38:51  There were no cameras on phones back then.Mark Titus  38:54  So this was a drive that I certainly identify with. And I know any of our listeners that are listening who loves something so much, they would do anything for it can identify with. So could you you know, just tell me a little bit about what you have told other women that have done everything they can to be as enamored of this, this fishing that we are obsessed with. And finding your way in this world. It's typically a male dominated sport.April Vokey  39:32  Sure, I thought I was gonna dread reading something from 2009. But it actually gives me some comfort because I remember all of those nights, I mean, years of those nights, and yeah, I still stand by that all these years later. Where to start? I mean, look, I would waitress and so I would I literally people don't know this but in half my photos. If I had someone there to take a photo, I've got nylons underneath my waders. I don't even have long johns, I've got nylons, I've got a picture on the internet. I'd have to dig it up. It's old, but I've got like, I still have kink in my hair from like having, you know, those I don't know, you know, those old flat press like those flat arms that were kinky there that was like popular back then. And I would still Reek like hairspray. And you know, as a cocktail waitress I make I make zero or cocktail server, I make zero apologies for needing to look nice, it was part of the uniform. I was also sturgeon guiding in and around that time. And so my fingers were just stacked with like, I don't know if you've ever got or gone fishing for sturgeon, but you get bait and stuff in your fingers. And so, and I've got I already have really rugged hands because I work hard. And so the only way to hide all that was with these fake nails, which is of course looks ridiculous in a fish photo. But at the time, that was my whole thing was my uniform. And again, this is before social media and before photos and iPhones or even WiFi like there was no such thing as WiFi back then. I remember because Ross used to play this poker game. And I would always try to call the hostel that we all stayed at and Ross would be on the line and it would beep beep beep remember because it was like dial up internet. And but even though we didn't have to worry about the idiots online, you didn't have to worry about the idiots on the river. Right. And you didn't have to worry about idiots and what they said after and, and those are real problems back then. And in fact it looking at it now it was almost more complicated than it is now at least there's some accountability online, or people to stick up for you online. Or at least there's just the safety of that person being far away. But when back then you were kind of putting yourself out there because if something did happen to you, you couldn't just call for help. And there were not nearly as many towers as there are now, you couldn't just take a photo of the person because I mean, we're still using film, digital came not their long out, you know, not the far after. But still, we didn't just have phones to take out. It was you just had to deal with a lot more idiots on the river. And they did present a really real problem. And so my option was to either go inside or go to a gas station on my way to fishing, and take it all off. But that would have taken more time than if I had done what they were accusing me of which was taking the time to put it all on. So it was this weird irony and that I was just that. And I wanted to I needed to work and pay my bills. But I wanted to go fishing. But then to take everything off and try to change what I looked like, was going to take more time than putting it on, which is what I was being accused of is Oh well, if you really loved it, you wouldn't be putting that much time in how you look. So it was funny catch 22 it's a little bit different for a lot of ladies now. And maybe for some women back then. But a lot of what I have to say still does carry over like who cares? If you wear mascara? It sounds stupid now because there are so many women out fishing now that you would almost never the comments of like mascara are slim to none. None, right? Like there's so many women out now wearing mascara that you'd look stupid to be like, oh, but you're wearing mascara, but back then, that was a really real problem people had a real problem with you wearing mascara. Or like a pink scarf, the fact that you know that it had color to it was like a real issue.April Vokey  43:26  So but you there's that but there's other concerns now, right? There's other other bullying and stuff that goes on and people seriously questioning your, your motive, your motive. And I feel for a lot of women now just trying to open my mind to today get out of 2009 because though a lot of that was written in 2009, but I'm referring to before all that because I was fishing the Thomson, which is what I was doing all those trips before I was guiding so that would have been I started guiding, well Gly Gal, my company started in 2007. So it would have been prior to that, that that I was really referring to but now you know fast forward to now we have to deal with people questioning if we're actually doing it for real offers because of an Instagram photo, which is really offensive in a lot of ways especially if you're trying to share an experience with somebody and you're not you don't have ulterior motives. So I feel for women today more than ever because looking back now it's a lot easier to argue wearing mascara than it is arguing why I'm out you're actually doing it. I guess that Yeah, the argument now is who cares, right? Like if someone wants to criticize your motive, it really doesn't matter but it does kind of suck a little bit if you're trying to share the experience and people are trying to take that away from you.Mark Titus  44:37  Totally. Wear the pink scarf, wear the mascara.April Vokey  44:40  Yeah, sorry about that. Probably then we could go so deep into that conversation and I'm willing to if you... did you have, did you have an aspect in particular?Mark Titus  44:49  I think that's just right. I honestly I just keyed in on tjust that image of like I'm getting off work. I'm jumping in my rig I'm going fishing period and yeah I just I like I'm gonna do it no matter what. That's what I was just really moved by that. No, we'll keep moving along here. We could talk for three hours. And I'm going to try to move this along so you can get your day going. And I'm just loving this. Thank you so much. So let's flash forward here to today. Tell me about this little being known as Adelaide, and the man with the blue eyes and How have your streams merged in this lifetime? Where, how has this changed? How is this enhanced your life? And how does it fit into Anchored Outdoors?April Vokey  45:38  Yeah, so the little being is my three year old daughter, who I totally admit I've been the worst mom ever for the last couple weeks. But I'm got my, I'm coming back on Now the good news is, is that she knows what's going on. And we're not hiding it. So she's, I don't want to hide life from her. So she's seeing it in its raw form. I was obviously not that night, because that's when it gets rough. But she's she's handling it really well. And I really look at her, just with the utmost respect, because she gets it, she understands it. But she's still in that stage of everything is so exciting and so exhilarating. So I'm able to look at life through her eyes right now. So I really appreciate her more than ever. I met a man without my husband. I don't even know that eight years ago, maybe we don't celebrate anniversaries or any of that stuff. So I don't know when we met. But I think we got married in 2014. And we met in Norway. And it was actually love at first sight. It really was love at first sight. And we shook hands and I had to go I was managing a lodger or guiding on the dean at the time and and I had one space open and I was like I had to go back after Norway and and we just like I'd love to see you again. And he had left Norway on his way back home and Australia. And I got a phone call from him in Japan. And he was he was traveling back home. And he was like, "I've never felt like this before I'm coming for you". And he literally changed this flight and rerouted to the Dean caught like the last flight and we've been together ever since. And so we decided that we would have a baby and here we are.Mark Titus  47:17  Wow, that is that is amazing. That is truly a love story.April Vokey  47:22  Its not always butterflies and roses. I mean, let's get real I mean, even nowadays, I'll still looking at me like, I have to like remember that moment. And that you know. So I don't want everyone thinking, Oh, you know, it's love at first sight. And so therefore it's forever perfect. It's not perfect, but it's real. And we're happy and we've got the best kid ever. So yeah, life is good Mark I have I will not be complaining about my life anytime soon. And crude outdoors happened. Because I was guiding on a Dean. And in case you haven't figured it out by now my brain goes 10 million miles an hour. And I just got to the point where I needed to, to do something with my time while I was on the river. And I started listening to podcasts. And actually, I think I even went back to school online. At some point, I was taking courses online with like, audio curriculum. And they I decided to start to start a podcast after I'd done this filming with my television show. And we were editing all the sound clips. And they were being left out of the series. And so started a podcast and the podcast, as you call it has evolved into Anchored Outdoors, which is a full educational platform now where we focus on masterclasses and we just launched our new membership. I don't know if you've logged in recently, but we're calling it the Connect Approach. Because believe that you know it again, because it's just launched all the fun bells and whistles haven't been opened yet. But it's going to be all coaching. So if you saw that milestones and challenges tab are writing out all of our basically levels right now so that when people get through the first phase, they can refer to people from the podcast and experts in my network. And we're going to help people get through to the next level so that they can go from phase one through phase five. So yeah, that's a really long winded way of saying the podcast turned into a another being at this point.Mark Titus  49:16  Well, I have such amazing admiration for you such deep admiration on different levels. putting this together, what one level is the community you're creating, and it's authentic. It is enthusiastic. I just joined you for a wilderness skills course this last week with Tom Brown, the third. And it was fantastic. It was so approachable. It was very much felt like a community. And so I just can't tell you like in this time of COVID I'm craving community. I know so many other people. That's what we're trying to facilitate here on this show and what we're doing with Ava's wild, you're doing a fantastic job with it. And, and it's so practical, I mean, I'm going to do every single one of the, of the offerings that you have for, you know, whether it's going back and looking and casting technique, or, you know, foraging or, gosh, you've got classes on tanning hides, I mean, it's incredible. So keep keep rockin that, it's wonderful.April Vokey  50:29  Thank you Mark, you need to come on to the interactive nights. So we do for the free ones for the public, which is what Tom's was. And then Unfortunately, we can't see everybody on those. But then for members, we do these interactive nights, and it's either time or we did like one interactive night, we did learning how to Turkey call. And so it's so fun. So we get to see everybody on screen. And it's private. So it's up on the members is recorded for members. But it's not open for the public, to you know, cause criticism and stuff. So all of us members get to know each other. And together, it's all like I can see 30 or 50, or however many of them on the screen and we all pour a drink and we laugh and we all been Yogi's, it's the most fulfilling thing I've ever done. And the interactive part of the membership is just a bonus. But this whole community that's building there, they take in, I'm just the person who pays for Anchored Outdoors at this point, because the community for me, it has, I mean, I do it for the community. But they've taken this whole new level. And I couldn't be prouder of our members. They're just the best the best.Mark Titus  51:36  I hear you I honestly, short little relation to that is of course, COVID changed all of my plans last year, like it changed. Everybody's in the entire world. So there's nothing unique here. But we had planned on doing a 50 city tour with my film the wild. And we're going to go across the country, we had a food truck lined up, we were going to have salmon demos every you know, and a VR 360 cool demo of going to Bristol Bay, all that changed. And what we ended up having to do is roll out a virtual tour of the film, as you know, you're graciously agreed to be a panel member, one of the screenings we had. And that's what I found to the community part of connecting with people was the best part about it. It was just fantastic. And I it's why I'm stoked to be joining your community. Continuing what we've got in in ours, which completely overlap, it's it's good work and going to continue on with it. We're going to start kind of inching towards winding this down. And I want to get into what you're doing the important work that you're doing with your podcast into the backing. Moreover, what you're doing in a community forum, tackling really important issues in the conservation community, the sport fishing community, the overall biosphere community of the West Coast, and you don't shy away from speaking up, I mean, the matter about sex or singing out loud in the middle of a town square or bringing disparate groups to the same table to talk about controversial in the fishing world. Where did you get this spark of admirable defiance? And how does it affect your work? How does it affect your work?April Vokey  53:28  Admirable, admirable defiance is probably just from being stupid and having too big of a mouth. Because when I was younger, like I said, you wouldn't want it to have been with me, it's because I have always had too big of a mouth. I've just now I mean, I'm 37 I'm almost 40. You know, I've just learned how to be a little bit wiser about the words that come out of my mouth. But I would say it has nothing to do with me. Because I just have too big of a mouth. And that's just part of the way that the reason why it works. But it's all about what I've seen happen from long form communication. I mean, I don't know if you've seen it, but YouTube's a prime example. Just sound bites, everything's sound bites. People went from having a 20 minute attention span to I think nowadays is like eight seconds if you're lucky. And and that's fine. There are various people whom I'll never be able to, to get through to because they don't want to hear what I have to say or they can't get past eight seconds to each them. But there are people out there who crave hearing the whole story. They don't want sound bites, they Yeah, me too. They want to know the story. And they want to hear it from all sides. And so in seeing how important and how productive long form communication was with Anchored, I thought, all right, well, clearly, this is success. I mean, it shows that over 10 million downloads now. And every single time I interview someone new, I learned something new and exciting. And I thought but now it's time to put us all in the same room because I'd interview one person who was awesome. And their story would make sense and then I'd interview another person And say that they strongly dislike each other. And we'd interview them separately. And both of their stories made sense. And it's very confusing for the listener and for myself. So I thought, you know what, I was going to put all of you in a room together. And we're just going to get through this. And I'm going to, I'm going to navigate the conversation. I'll make sure everyone stays on point. And we're going to start tackling some difficult subjects. I mean, I started out simple. So episodes one and two, were pretty light hearted. I just wanted to break everyone in slowly. And then we started to get a little bit more controversial as we go along. The latest one tackled the the Washington fishing from a boat ban, which of course gets everyone really angry. But I think the most beautiful In fact, I know the most beautiful part of the whole show for me, is what you guys don't know that a lot of the times the people before they get on, they're like, I don't know if I can do this without getting in the fight. And I'm like, No, no, you can you can do this. Now I don't I think it's gonna be bad for business. I'm like, No, no, I promise you, I will not let you get down, go down that road. And every single episode, every single one so far, I think there, there haven't been that many. But every single one has resulted in genuine respect. And people emailing after and copying me in. And the guys and gals going and meeting up and doing work together after that is this. It's so cool for me to see. John Mcmillan, the biologist, who is, you know, has one stance on hatcheries and then Ian Courter, the biologist who has totally different stance for years, they've been going at it in government meetings, and now they're working together. And it's because they actually just rabl to sit down and talk. And it's crazy, just like talking. It's really not that hard. And we're in a really dangerous part of our lives right now where conversation can bring us so far. I mean, so many of so much of history is the result of conversation, great history. But now we're at a stage where you speak to suit or say something that's not entirely perfect, or something that can be extracted as a soundbite. You risk this whole cancel culture thing, which I don't think we're going to dive into now. But people are afraid of talking. But we need to talk to get somewhere. So we're in this weird gap. And so look, I have no doubt at some point, someone's going to try to cancel me for being so outspoken and for hosting the people that I have on the show. And I will tell you right now, I'm going to dig my heels in there will be no apologizing, I'm going to dig my heels in hard to this one. So I'm going to keep going at it and it's going to offend people and that's too bad. That's life. Life is hard. So if you can't handle conversation, then you can't handle real life. I'm sorry. I know it's not that cut and dry. There are conversations where it is tricky. I podcast to Donald Trump Jr. and admittedly, this was years ago, I could have probed him harder with conservation issues. But I also knew sometimes you don't get the opportunity. Sometimes you need to just take the opportunity that you have to do what you can and the thing with Donald Trump Jr. It was it was great it let Patagonia listen to the conversation and let Patagonia have a rebuttal and let them say their piece on something. So that was also what really sparked into the backing for me. I was like, well, Trump Jr. wants to say this. And by the way, people tried to cancel me for Trump Jr. No apologies, Trump Jr, Patagonia. And I thought to myself, because Trump said to me, look, put me in touch Patagonia, I'd love to work with him on some of this stuff. And that was when it really occurred to me, I need to put people in the same room to let not only the public be able to make up their own mind on things properly, but to see if there might actually be some productive momentum going forward. So into the backing is new and exciting and hard to organize my aim for one a month, sometimes they're fun and light, and sometimes they're not. So we'll see where it goes.Mark Titus  58:39  Look, I think it's cutting edge work, frankly, this idea of having a conversation. Oh, my God. And yeah, we were not going to go clear into the cancel culture wormhole today. We will we'll save that for another conversation. But I I'll be I got your back. You know, I couldn't agree with you more. As you know, from the wild. We included a segment in the film that talks about one of our characters guiding the Trump voice and I caught a lot of heat for that with, you know, some folks in the you know, hardcore environmental community and said what, you know, how Why would you Sully the piece talking about folks that are on that side of the aisle or have their ideology and the fact is that the current bit of pause we have in Bristol Bay was in part due to the outreach from sportsmen that were generated by Donald Trump Jr. and Johnny Morris with Bass Pro Shops and even Tucker Carlson from Fox News. Look,April Vokey  59:49  I saw all that, by the way.Mark Titus  59:50  Yeah,April Vokey  59:51  I saw that. I know a lot of that. I've got the heads up from ghido that a lot that was happening and then you and I were communicating about that. That's right. And I just I remember watching Tucker and like the outrage in the backlash and I thought, like, I just didn't get it. It was just, I was so or like the people that the fact that people were so shocked, and the right and look, I'm Canadian, and I do my best to keep up with you guys's politics oaky but, the fact that people are so shocked at the right would talk about conservation. It was just dumbfounding to me. I mean, isn't what's right is right. And what's I don't know, I don't know, the whole thing is just so confusing to me that you have to, to be in this. You have to be this. You got to be in one box or the other. I just I don't know, when that happened. When do we have to start being in one box or, or the other were complex individuals?Mark Titus  1:00:38  Well, this is why the work that we are privileged to do to work in the outdoor space somewhat, you know, you much more than I. It's, it is satisfying, because it is this great truth. There is no political real divide, when you are in the outdoors, and you've left the TV off, and you've turned the phone off. There is a truth there that binds people together. And I think that ultimately, I have hope that that's what's gonna win the day for us. You know, there's a lot of uphill battles we have. And I'm going to ask you about one right now. But in in this world of controversy that we were born into here on the insemination, the west coast of North America, we all love these salmon, we all want to connect with them. We all want to catch them. We all want to be have them part of our lives and continue to be the icons that they are. So I think that that is some place that we're all joined. But you know, clearly there are people that believe we should have a lot more hatchery fish to have exposure and a catch Creel, you know for to bring them home. And then there are other people that that don't believe that at all in hatcheries. But what I loved is, like you said in Into The Backing your show, you bring people together to have a discussion about this, about the science and about what it really is. And so that what I took from the particular episode that you mentioned with john McMillan and Ian Courter, was that what would really be great is to have one river next to another River. And you pull the hatcheries out of one river and you leave the hatcheries in the other river to really let and let that go for a decade to honestly get some some data at least a decade to get some real data on what that looks like. I think that makes perfect sense. I would back that at least do you think that we have the political will to do something like that?April Vokey  1:02:49  in regards specifically to hatcheries?Mark Titus  1:02:52  Yeah, a question like that I it certainly can extend into a bigger picture for salmon and for other things. But I mean, it, it just makes too much sense like, Well, of course that would work. But you know, is there, what we seem to run into are when we get to the policy level, the when of the policymakers making a decision on that, you know, it always seems to get watered down and kicked down the road. I mean, do you see that as like something like that as a moratorium on a particular area as a viable option? And do you think that the folks in you know, in BC and here in Washington State and Oregon, do you think that that can happen? Do we have the political will to make something like that happen?April Vokey  1:03:33  I don't know. I mean, that's above my paygrade for sure. Because there's so many moving pieces in so many variables. In British Columbia, it's different because a lot of our great wild streams are truly wild. And we're not going to introduce a hatchery. Just because, although it would be curious, because we do have a hatchery on the Kitimat, I'd have to obviously look into this. As far as political will in Washington, or in Oregon. I don't know. I mean, in British Columbia, we've had rivers close down, look at the Skagit in the sock and Washington. They shut that shut that down. So I'm sure if that there are case studies and things that that Americans and biologists are turning to, but it can't just be that simple. I mean, I say this now, although I am also almost 40 years old, looking at the world being like, Oh, I thought the adults had this under control, but maybe they don't. So that the young part of me says can't be that simple, or else they would have done it by now.Mark Titus  1:04:27  All right, so given what we know about the precarious situation with these creatures that we love in the habitat that we have and the troubles that we've seen in the Pacific Northwest, what lengths would you go to, to preserve these precious beings that you love? Would you In fact, give up fishing yourself for a period of time, eight years, 10 years, whatever it took to, to protect this thing that we love?April Vokey  1:05:03  I think they're two very different things. When it comes to the general public and them not fishing, I think you'll find that the answer is yes, that they would stop. And I think that when you look at and again, this is this is just me taking a guess, or a stab at this. When I podcasted, the guys on into the backing about the boat ban, the controversy, the more I listened to, you know, the side of from the guides, the more I heard that, that they would stop if it meant that, that they could be for sure that it would help the fishery, but they didn't like the kind of gray area and the and the mate will perhaps possibly it'll make a difference. I think the general public though, you know, excluding economy and excluding guides, I think the general public would stop fishing, when it comes to paying more. That's a very loaded question, especially for young families or people who are struggling right now to find income, or they're good, they've been hit by the pandemic, I mean, then it comes down to you know, the question is, what would you do to save what you love? Well, if you're trying to save your children, because that's what you love, and you're the general public doesn't fish, then they're going to be a lot less likely to support something like that. So this is where it gets tough. There are so many moving pieces, and everybody is so different and has different priorities. So I think it's a privilege question. So it's a difficult question to answer.Mark Titus  1:06:28  That's a good point. And knowing what we know about the variables of ocean conditions, and, look, we don't even have the ability to completely track these fish out in the open ocean. But what we do have the ability to do is at least attempt in terms of habitat to protect the best like in the case of Bristol Bay, and to restore the rest, like the elwha, and other places that have been unduly dammed or mind or dredged or harmed. And so, you know, with all of that in mind, as to why fish when people ask me, and I have people ask me all the time, why do you continue to fish after making these films? And, you know, supposedly being an evangelist for the salmon? And the answer is, it's pretty plain. I mean, I fish for that connection. I fish so that the 10 nieces and nephews I have are going to care, they're going to give it down the line. And then they're going to instill that into their kids and their kids kids. And I think that there is no substitute for that physical connection. There, there isn't a substitute even making a film about these things, or even a VR experience, that connection with the fishing line and then actually touching and seeing that I come up and look you in the eye. That to me, is the reason why I keep doing this to pass that along. So that shared connection will create the next generation of champions for these mystical creatures we love.April Vokey  1:08:10  Yeah, 100% it's Yeah, I don't really know what to add to that. I'd say. Yes, you're ticking all the boxes there.Mark Titus  1:08:20  Okay, so now nobody escapes the speed round. I'm gonna ask you a couple of questions. This is all hypothetical, of course. But here's the first one. Okay, your house is on fire. So of course you get out your loved ones and those whom you love. But what's the one physical thing you savefrom the fire?April Vokey  1:08:43  I literally don't hold anything. Nothing. Let me think there's there will be there has to be something. I can't think of anything. I'm like looking around to see if there's anything that I really need. Colby's ashes. I just got Colby's ashes.April Vokey  1:09:05  If I had a photo album I would but now with digital everything's online.Mark Titus  1:09:10  Okay, fair enough. Now, let's call it your spiritual house. What are the two most important things about your life that you take with you?April Vokey  1:09:21  Yeah, well, I feel like I'm in a place right now. The two things I'm rescuing myself from right now as we speak are trying to rescue remembering my, ike mighty young independent wild self because that's what called be gone. I feel like that was the last of that era. And now that I'm this like responsible Mum, I'm terrified of falling into just this like slump of being just a mum who goes through the this goes through the steps of life. So I'm desperately hanging on to that wild woman that I was. Because that's why I became a mum. was to share that with my daughter because I really like that wild woman. And I miss her. And I won't let her go. And I want my daughter to see her. So that her and my integrity always everyday on the week, my integrity.Mark Titus  1:10:13  Great. Lastly, what's the one thing you leave behind?April Vokey  1:10:21  Yeah, I would leave behind... These are great questions, Mark. I wish I was faster at answering them. I would I would leave behind being young and insecure and so desperate to prove that I was good. I mean, I only had to prove that to myself. So, but I would leave behind caring what all the naysayers said. Because just doesn't. It doesn't matter. It was a lost a lot of lost sleep for nothing.Mark Titus  1:10:49  Yeah, I hear that. Well, this has been a great conversation and April Vokey. How can folks find you out there and follow along with the great work that you're doing?April Vokey  1:11:02  Yeah, thanks. So they can go to So we're a pretty small team over there. But I do, make sure that I'm your person that you connect with. So if you do if you do reach out, you'll get me there. So you can reach out at info@anchored, or go to, and you'll automatically be invited into our community. And I will see you over there. Mark Titus  1:11:22  Right and how do we find you on social?April Vokey  1:11:24  Oh, yeah. Excuse me.April Vokey  1:11:27  I'm very boring on social these days, but I'm on Instagram @aprilvokey. And also on Facebook.Mark Titus  1:11:34  April Voki. Thank you so much for joining me today and for sharing such a profoundly personal story today. And we are going to be following you on, and hopefully we can pick up this conversation again down the trail you and I.April Vokey  1:11:53  I hope so, Mark, thank you so much. And sorry for that meltdown. It's you got me at a really interesting time.Mark Titus  1:11:59  Thank you all for listening. And we'll see you next week on Save What You LoveUnknown Speaker  1:12:03  Music: "How do you save what you love?"Mark Titus  1:12:18  Thank you for listening to Save What You Love. If you like what you're hearing, you can help keep these conversations coming your way by giving us a rating on Apple Podcasts. You can check out photos and links from this episode at While there you can join our growing community. By subscribing to our newsletter, you'll get exclusive offers on wild salmon shipped to your door, and notifications about upcoming guests and more great content on the way that's at That's the word save spelled backwards wild dot com. This episode was produced by Tyler White and edited by Patrick Troll. Original music was created by Whiskey Class. This podcast is a collaboration between Eva's Wild Stories and Salmon Nation and was recorded on the homelands of the Duwamish People. We'd like to recognize these lands and waters and their significance for the peoples who lived and continued to live in this region, whose practices and spiritualities were and are tied to the land and the water and whose lives continue to enrich and develop in relationship to the land waters and other inhabitants today.⁣  ⁣
Check out Chad Brown and his work:⁣ Love is King⁣ Chado Creative⁣ Soul River Inc⁣ Axe The Service Dog⁣ ⁣Other topics discussed:⁣Mental health resources⁣Save What You Love with Mark Titus:⁣Produced: Tyler White⁣Edited: Patrick Troll⁣Music: Whiskey Class⁣⁣Episode Transcript:⁣⁣Mark Titus  0:00  ⁣Welcome to save what you love. I'm Mark Titus. Today, I get the chance to hang out with Chad Brown. This is a guy that I found out through my fishing circles. He is a sport fisherman extraordinaire. He's a guide. More importantly, he is a person that is showing us the way forward on how to heal ourselves in the wild. And how does he know this? Because he's done it himself. Chad has been to the very bottom where a human being can go. And now he's rising to the top by becoming a mentor to young people, to BIPOC folks that don't ordinarily get into the outdoors to experience the wild, and to folks that are underrepresented. So excited to bring Chad Brown to you today. Enjoy the episode.⁣⁣Whiskey Class  1:03  ⁣Music: "How do you save what you love?"⁣⁣Mark Titus  1:23  ⁣Chad Brown, welcome to Save What You Love. First off, I want to just thank you for your service, sir. It is such a privilege to have you on the show. Where are you coming to us from today?⁣⁣Chad Brown  1:37  ⁣I'm coming out of Portland, Oregon right now. Yeah, you know, weather is a little gloomy, we are out of the ice age.⁣⁣Mark Titus  1:46  ⁣You weathered a little bit speaking up, you weathered a little bit of a turbulent storm here in the last 10 days or so.⁣⁣Chad Brown  1:54  ⁣Yeah, yeah, for sure. Yeah, it was pretty tough. You know, I think it caught a lot of folks off guard. And, you know, I guess, you know, we are we are up here in north and, you know, cold weather, but I think this time to kind of, you know, caught everybody off guard, you know, it's it cut off lights, and, you know, cell phones went out? I mean, it was, it was crazy. You know, we're here, though, yeah,⁣⁣Mark Titus  2:17  ⁣yeah, for all of you. Who don't know, we've been working on this for several days to put this program together to bring to you, Chad was out of internet service for a while. And, you know, we go to every length to make sure that take care of you here at Save What You Love. Yes, sir. So, you know, just wanted to start out for those folks not in the fishing community or not in the activist community or not in the military community? Can you tell us a little bit about your story, and how you came to love the things that means so much to you?⁣⁣Chad Brown  2:54  ⁣Well, well, you know, um, you know, it, when we first come out of school, or step into the big world of college, we graduate, you know, we put that short term list in that long term goal list together, and we're so charged on exactly on what we want to do in life, you know, our parents are straight, and, but we never taken account of how crooked those paths can be, you know, you know, and some of us still walk that path. And some of us, you know, kind of got thrown to the left and thrown to the right a couple times. And we had to figure things out along the way, and where do we fall, you know, fall at the cards fall. And that's where we end up as you know, and I think, you know, with that saying is, you know, went into the military and with this intention on, you know, wanting to go to school, in the art, etc. You know, and, you know, I didn't know what I was going to step into when I got into the fleet, you know, when I graduated boot camp, and got into the fleet into the Navy, you know, I can't say it was the right time or a perfect time. But when I got into the fleet, it was kind of like, right at the time that Desert Storm was happening, the second phase of that, and then Operation Restore Hope Somalia, you know, there was just so much stuff that's happening all over the place, and I was, you know, dropped into many different places to experience, you know, in theater in war, you know, and, you know, I experienced a lot seen a lot, but time in the Navy was like 14, you know, 14 months of, I'm sorry, 14 countries, you know, within a short stint of my time in the Navy, and the longest I stayed in the United States was like, four months. My Navy enlistment basically, you know, and so, but I didn't realize what, what I guess I knew what I was, you know, I guess you could say I got exposed, but I didn't realize how much toll that exposure took me when I got out. ⁣⁣Chad Brown  5:03  ⁣And so as I'm moving forward through life and going back to college use my GI Bill, you know, it was slowly but surely, I started seeing these weird things happening with my body and with my mind, and I couldn't really place it. And so the further I move forward in my life, the more of that stuff started to come out, and then, you know, I end up fighting this all the way through graduate school, and then coming out of this, right when I really started to fight when I started to really slowly unravel, and the more unraveled, the more that I really didn't have a hold on to my own mind, you know, mental side, you know, and, and then that's when it's basically I started to realize, through a lot of help, in coming to Portland, Oregon, in at the VA, identifying, realizing that I was fighting with PTSD, you know, and so I got officially diagnosed 50% mentally disabled. And through that whole process, I found myself homeless, found myself in the lines giving blood for $20 for, you know, a pint whatever quart in and, you know, and I was on a routine just and that was my only way of living and trying to get money. And then a person put a rod in my hand and took me to the river and said, this is where you should come fish. And I said, Well, how do you get into it? And that was a day that I was right, really, really drugged up on heavy, heavy medications. And, um, and so when I no fault for that piece of that person showed me what to do. I hooked it on mine, you know, fish, it was a really small Jack salmon. And I was hooting hollering all over the place, you know, I was hooting and hollering and, and yeah, I didn't, I didn't really I didn't even realize I what I even done, honestly, you know, I was just, I was just happy at that moment, I was just really, really happy, you know, and, but what was really important was, I was able to just really key in on the, the air that brushed across my face that I hadn't felt in years, you know, and I was really able to key on the, the colors, the greenery, and that was around me on the riverbank, you know, and just looking at those things, and just everything like came into focus to me. And that was when I felt like I was alive, you know, and it was really weird, because all that time that I've been fighting with my PTSD and popping all these medications, it was like I was I was like a walking zombie, you know, and I was just moving through with no emotion, no feeling and nothing like that. And so, you know, I, you know, I, you know, I end up moving forward. ⁣⁣Chad Brown  7:54  ⁣And there was a moment that I did find myself when we were about to take my life, I attempted suicide and ended up into the VA hospital and did a like, almost well, seven days in the suicide watch to prove to the doctor that I wasn't gonna, you know, hurt myself and, and so moving forward, I ended up developing a really good strong community on the water in the outdoors, that community was a balance between hunters and anglers, and conservation folks, it was a whole new community to me. And they, each one of them took me underneath their wing, you know, and they taught me a new way of looking at nature, a new way of, of looking at the fish that I you know, chase all the time, a new way of, you know, understanding the river and how to read the river, it was just, it was just me learning all over again. And these are this new tools that was given to me. And those tools, you know, really became kind of like my medicine, that connection back to nature. And I went back to the VA start talking to the dots about what flyfishing was doing for me in in this new community. And so really, they kind of wrote a prescription basically was to fish more and if you continue to fish more will slowly when you offer your medications, you know and so that was kind of like my deal handshake with the VA and I continued to fish more and more did they wean me off in the morning we all the more I started to feel like I was alive you know and I started to move forward through my life and I got good at fly fishing started teaching started, you know getting stronger and one day I was got to a point in my life where I was just like I'm ready to get back into society. I'm ready to do something ready to make a difference. I want to make a change but I was like this time I you know I? I don't want to really just go anywhere. And find a job I want to do something with with the purpose, you know, fly fishing gave me this purpose. And so I started to think about how could I continue on with this purpose and how nature, you know, supported me. And that was when I was standing on the river waist deep on the Clackamas River. And it's things like, Well, you know, Soul River, and you know, and that was the beginning of my nonprofit, I was like, trying to figure out a name for a new nonprofit and oh, it's like, so rivers, so rivers, bah, bah, bah, bah, you know, I was a rainstorm, my hair, what was the water fishing and I finally came to an essay. Soul river runs deep. And it runs deep within all of us, every one of us has a way to connect to the river. Yeah, and whatever we are going through, it doesn't matter how deep it is, the river has a way of helping us get through our process. And so I ended up with Soul River Runs Deep. And that became my entry back into society. My walk in connecting youth and veterans and bringing them together on the water, basically, to serve one another.⁣⁣Mark Titus  11:16  ⁣I everything you're saying resonates with me and the name of your foundation, your first org was what drew me to you in the first place, I was a well chosen name, I just instantly identified with Soul River Runs Deep. And I of course identify with an emergence back into life after some trauma as a person in recovery. Yeah, and of course, identify with the outdoor, you know, proclivity for fishing and standing in rivers. And we're gonna dive into Soul River and your newest venture Love Is King, in detail and in depth here in just a minute. But I wanted to give a little bit more backdrop of another part of you, which is your artistic integrity and your artistic vision. You've done work with hip hop artists, you've done work on the streets of New York. Now you've done all kinds of really beautiful portraiture and you know, things in urban settings and with style and fashion. In fact, you have a quote here says something special happens at the convergence of outdoor lifestyle and design. You've done research. I thought, you know, the outdoor part, you've done all this really cool work with amazing artists and folks out there in the world and the urban world, why wild? Why portraits and landscapes? How do you bring together your eye for style, love of nature and production into the work that you do? I know, we're gonna dig into the the soul work here in just a little bit, but I'm super curious, just about the aesthetics as an artist that you bring to this.⁣⁣Chad Brown  13:02  ⁣Yeah, you know, I think, well, we can this is a whole long, deep conversation. And I really appreciate you doing your research on that. And I think thank you for tapping into that. It's, it's those are the type of interviews or type of things that actually gets overlooked everybody what to focus on Soul River, you know, and so, but yeah, you know, and I've always kind of kept a little separate, but I guess it's starting to kind of clash, too. But yeah, you know, my, my background as a creative professional is, you know, I did a lot of time in New York, as you said, you know, and I had some really awesome opportunities that I was able to jump at, in take advantage and run with, you know, as a photographer, designer, creative director. And art really speaks to my soul. And it's right up there. And the same level is my new found love, which is fly fishing, you know, that that got me out. But, you know, over a course of time moving forward with my organization, part of that got left behind, you know, and it was me running this organization, and in the spirit of my second passion of fly fishing, in the spirit of healing and connecting people back to the river. But there's also a piece of me that was like left behind as well, which was the how nature fit me creatively in the artistic piece of that and, and so I needed to try to find a way to how to merge my work as an artists creative professional, into what I'm doing. And it took me a while to figure it out, because My camera was getting dusty. You know, and you know, my sketchbook was getting dusty and everything you know, and, and so what I started to see is, instead of me because a lot of my work does come from the, you know, the fashion world and hip hop and runway, and but I'm not in that world, you know. But what I am good at and where my skillset lies is not just pitching as a creative director, conceptually coming up with ideas, but I know how to execute things, and I know how to get behind my lens, and also tell that story. And I felt like the better place for where I'm at right now is to use my talent and my lens, and insert myself into marginalized communities, indigenous communities that doesn't speak for each other, etc, and then be able to use that to elevate that, give it a platform and elevate those voices up.⁣⁣Chad Brown  16:04  ⁣You know, and so, I stepped out of that creative world where, like, the money, the money was once there, but this is all passion driven, you know, and, and, but this is also where my love has a creative professional. And, and this is another way that I could be able to also find healing through being a creative professional through my own lens, and help tell this story from a very creative conceptual place in which I was starting to do with a lot of my exhibition work, you know, with the Arctic, Gwich'in people etc, you know, veterans, but really approaching it in a really unique position, to shine light on something that does not have enough light to be shined on, if that makes sense. You know, I'm already in the mix with youth and veterans, I'm already in the spaces of only our wild lands, on older rivers, and being able to look through my lens with a more of a story approach and being able to capture the smaller things are capture the, the, the impact of what's happening environmentally, and in flip that into a really interesting story, conceptually, that has the ability to transcend itself across the environmental world and back into the urban world. Because my whole goal is really, is to really embrace the folks not really in the conservation world, but in really embrace people in the urban world, you know, I had this idea where it's like, we're gonna practice conservation, we need to start stop talking to one another, or preach to the choir, and start advocating and stepping out and getting into uncomfortable spaces, and bring them into the fold, and share that space where we can create one army, in that conservation space. We need we need a bigger army. And so you know, with my past work was all centered around the US Environmental but the way we position that was more straddling from the environmental world, into urban world communities. And using story how to capture that audience and bring them in inspired him about the needs and what's happening, environmentally what's happening with that indigenous people, etc. And we've been inspired a new story, guess what, we have a future ambassador, you know, a future champion, right? You that champions go, Wow, how can I be more of service? What can I do now? I get it, you know, etc. But we just told this story in in, brought them in. And so now we're creating a stronger army together, you know, and so, yeah, I hope I answered your question.⁣⁣Mark Titus  19:08  ⁣Oh, absolutely. I was talking to David James Duncan. Last week, he's on the current episode of the podcast. And we talked about this idea of convergence and murmuration of birds when birds all turn in flight at the same time. And I feel like our brains are plugged into the same server. I mean, this is something that Yeah, and I know, there's a lot of you listening right now that are having these same sort of ideas about how do I turn my life into something that is driven by purpose that is driven to be of service that what what can I use my talents for? and Chad, that's exactly what I'm hearing from you. It makes all the sense in the world to me and I think, you know, for some time, I've had the same idea that we have a lot of folks in our immediate circles, whether That's the environmental circle or the sports men and women's circle that are speaking our same language, we do have to reach out. Because as you say, when you create an experience for somebody, whether that's through your visual art, or you're taking a kid out through Soul River, which we'll get into, or it's rehabilitating a veteran who's dealing with PTSD, that experience will help that murmuration that convergence with one more person, so it's beautiful. And I think he's explained that eloquently and beautifully. Before we dive into Soul River, we're close to the water here, I want to talk about living with trauma. And you touched on that a minute ago, you're very open about your mental health. And I absolutely admire that and try to emulate that. I've also been public about my own mental health and story of addiction and recovery. And it takes courage, it takes a decision to put yourself out into the world to do that. Right, I have not come close to a suicide attempt. But I have a lot of friends who have and I'm curious, from your perspective, and from one person who's found my bottom, and I know you've found yours. What do you offer for those who are experiencing trauma in their mental health? Both in the immediate and in long term recovery? From your point of view? And from the journey you've been on?⁣⁣Chad Brown  21:29  ⁣Wow. Almost immediate? Well, you know, it's hard for me to throw out a, an offer or, or an idea, an immediate? Because that's such a, it's such a dark place. Yes. And I, honestly, I don't have an answer for that other than, whatever, that's whatever, whatever buoy that's in front of you, that you can hold on to you need to you need to hold on to it. You know, and rather, if you're a believer or non believer, you need to hold on to it, and lean into whoever that person is that's trying to reach out in and help you. You know, and, you know, I think that is such a dark place where it, it becomes this becomes your personal battle, you know, and you're going to have to learn how to fight really, really hard. And yeah, you know, you just gonna have to fight hard and don't give up, don't throw in the towel. You know, and I think, you know, what happened to me, that was, you know, the, the attempted suicide, I think, you know, and I think I know, it played a role with that was, was me having just so much medication inside my system, that it made everything foggy for me, and I couldn't make decisions. So I was under the influence of a lot of heavy medication. You know, and, and so, so it's even harder. And so when I look back at that, and just thinking about where other people may be at right now, veteran or non veteran, that's hard to navigate, it's just hard to really navigate, the best thing I would say, is you just gonna have to fight really, really hard. And, and whatever, that's positive around you at that time, hold on to it as your buoy and and just and hold on to it. Yeah. And keep fighting the long term it I can I can speak more than that is the long term is is the offering is that what you support you can do and what helps is that long term is that once you get when when you punch through that darkness, the key to that long term is aligning your life with the right people, that's going to support you number one. also changing your habits, even down to how you eat. Everything relates to the mental illness of whatever we get we're fighting with, etc. So if you consume a lot of salt drinks and a lot of sweets, that stuff right there is another form of negative toxic medicine stuff. That's that you're injecting back into your system that your body does not need it. Your body needs the right type of food. In a right type of no liquids, etc nourishments and everything for your mind to be able to operate, be able to breathe, be able to function. And so it takes a lot of discipline or what I'm talking about.⁣⁣Chad Brown  25:13  ⁣But that future, you know, moving forward, that long term is not just going through the process in dealing with your therapy, etc, but it takes is going to call you to be more disciplined to clean up your space of where you lay your head at number one, and cleaning up your space, that means taking out the negative taking out the negative that you eat, taken out the negative that's around you, etc. and aligning yourself up with the right positive connecting pieces, changing your negative habits and the positive habits, it's a long term process of changing your, your, your, your, the way you operate through that whole process, in order to maintain your sanity. And to move forward. If you you know, I have to do that myself, you know, I constantly have to do it. And also to you To this day, you know, I talked about myself, I you know, I, every week, I'm in therapy, every week, I'm in acupuncture therapy, and every week, I'm in massage therapy, you know, I have to maintain what I eat. As far as food, I eat a lot of vegetables, I drink a lot of water, I don't mess with coffee, because coffee does have a negative influence on to mental illness, and I tried to everything natural, and then if I ever find myself in my head down, I'm you know, I have a certain group of people who I lean into, which is my community, that that can help it. So I'm using a lot of tools around me every day, in order to function and operate, we can never find a healing place. But this is our process to sustain ourselves to keep on going and remain kind of like in this flow of pursuing the healing piece. And pursuing that healing piece is is you being able to operate and function right, you know, being able to operate and do the right thing and make the right decisions and stay healthy being able to understand what what what would you call it, um, self care means, you know, really taking the time and understanding how what self care means and how you have to apply self care into your daily daily tasks, or what you're trying to do every day. You know, my, the way I look at is dealing with mental illness, depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc. It's a responsibility that you have to take upon yourself once when you get through that dark side, to sustain that, to sustain that you have to be able to add these kind of pieces into your life, to sustain yourself on the long term haul for your time for the rest of the time you are on this planet, basically, you know, if you don't do that, you will have some failures along the way. You know, you know, you know, yeah, you have some failures on that. That's really what what happened, you know, you know, so yeah, I hope that's the best. I don't know. I mean, that's, that's what I know what I've learned. And that's how I practice my life, you know, basically.⁣⁣Mark Titus  28:40  ⁣Absolutely. And to be clear, I am not a mental health professional. And I'm pretty sure you're not either. We're certainly not offering a diagnosis or a regimen necessarily, but we will link to folks if you are experiencing mental trauma or, you know, having suicidal thoughts. We'll link to some resources in our show notes here on the website. And I will offer this though, that I completely agree with you on changing your life. And I found when I finally was able to surrender to the disease that I have in alcoholism, that I could then finally move forward and as the best person in our family, hands down with a family vote was my mom's cousin father john back from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and he said to me, actually, on my wedding day, he was at Vanka and my wedding and he said, Salvatore ambulance auto which means it is solved by walking. So keep walking, ask for help and and then do those things in your daily life. regimen like you were talking about chat. I, I hear you on all of that. ⁣⁣Chad Brown  30:03  ⁣Yeah, yeah. For sure.⁣⁣Mark Titus  30:06  ⁣We're now without further ado, I'm so excited to get into Soul River, my bottom led me to film The Wild, your bottom led you to launching Soul River? What exactly is it? And why do you focus on youth? Why did that come to you as a means to be of service with the talents and the gifts that you're given?⁣⁣Chad Brown  30:33  ⁣Well, you know, SOul River you know, it, it's, um it's Soul River is a way of finding, finding space for, for yourself to unravel and reconnect to nature and community. It's a way for souls to come together that are fighting on many different levels or whatever they fighting for, they can be able to come together and serve one another. And those souls are youth and veterans of what I focus on. Why I'm a veteran that suffers from PTSD. And me having an opportunity, a second opportunity to launch this organization, I look back on out what nature has done for me. And I feel that nature can do the same for many more other vets out there that are fighting as well as youth. You know, really the main reason why, you know, focusing on youth because I was that youth and I come from a broken home. I was also into games. And I had a really hard time growing up. And I my mother gave, you know, not giving but she she put me into the Big Brother and Big Sister Program. And my big brother. Ironically, my Big Brother happened to be the captain of the police department in Austin, Texas. And so⁣⁣Mark Titus  32:12  ⁣That will keep you out of trouble.⁣⁣Chad Brown  32:14  ⁣Yeah, exactly, exactly. You know, it's so he became my big brother. And so we did a lot of things together. And he would come and pick me up. And he you know, he actually, he did a scare tactic only one day, I remember it's clearly he, he took me to the Austin police department and took me down to the jail cell and had me do it done. fingerprints, I've done all my fingerprints right in front of them, and didn't know and then he took me down to one two jails and put me in a jail. And then he locked and locked me up and he walked away. You know? And, you know, and, and I was like, whoa, wait a minute. And I was freaking out and stuff like that, but he came back. You know, and he taught me and, and he says so you know, you know, he's like, yeah, you know, well, I want you to understand that, you know, we have two choices, two options in our lives, and you have every opportunity to, to, to make the best life that you want to make, or you have an opportunity to make another choice. And you you make this choice of going down this route here. This is this is where you may end up at, you know, a lot of people do end up here. And it's not a place where I want to see you so I you know want you to see like this is what happens when you make the wrong choice in life. Because this is what happens if you decide that you know, you disrespect your parents you disrespect elder, that kind of stuff. So he had his whole long conversation with me. And I was already in trouble. I was running games and, and all this kind of stuff and but it made an impact on my life. They definitely made an impact, you know, on my life, you know, and you know, so and I understand the importance of, of, you know of leadership and Guardian, or mentorship, understand why and in it's it's really really needed in our communities, especially in broken on families, you know, the mother she can she knows she does the best she can do and I was raised by a single you know a woman and and you know, my mom was awesome. She had to wear two hats, you know, but there's also a thing was when you know young young boys and young girls can can be able to also have a balance of support of you know of a Big Brother Big Sister type of relationship. You know, with you know, with the mentor someone that does that makes a big difference. It weighs out the the the the the raising of children. Basically, you know, that's like an extension of community, you know, that helps support the family. And, you know, so when I look back and look at the youth, especially, you know, the inner city youth and what's going on, and, you know, not a lot of the, you know, the inner city kids and youth of color has these, you know, various opportunities to be able to break away, and relaxing nature, you know, the mom and dad is working really hard. And some of them are coming from broken homes, and some of my actually raising their own their, their own selves up, you know, and so there's really no time, no time to actually know what recreation is about, you know, there's that time is not there, you know, and so we're looking at so rubber, that I was just like, Well, you know, this is what I'm going to do, you know, my march now is, is I'm going to reach out to, you know, inner city kids, I'm going to work with veterans use veterans as a way of bringing their leadership into that space, there are already a natural DNA leader automatically and connecting with our youth. And you know what, you put these two together by default that you've basically jolts that veteran, as a wake up of the fact that Oh, I remember who I am. I'm a leader. It gives them purpose. And it veteran injects that leadership like a big brother, a big sister, and that you face it gets an opportunity to get that big brother and big sister on board, and they become that youth's community hands down period. That community is that connected? family, you know, but yeah, amazing.⁣⁣Mark Titus  36:41  ⁣Can you paint me a picture of a successful outing or one that's memorable for you? Just so we can get in our mind's eye? What this kind of looks like.⁣⁣Chad Brown  36:51  ⁣A successful outing for me is when I'm able to witness the changing of life on a river in real time between youth and veterans. You know, it's it's not really about you know, anything else other than there's a journey that comes into play, because we go to very far off places of wild lands and in freshwater.⁣⁣Mark Titus  37:18  ⁣Can you can you give us a couple examples of some of the places you go to?⁣⁣Chad Brown  37:24  ⁣Some of those places that I go to? Some of the places that the organization goes to is like the Arctic, the Arctic Wildlife Refuge. We have been through down to the Florida Everglades, Utah, Navajo land. And we done some deployments down to Mexico, on the Hilo River. Yeah, we're pretty much all over the place. Yeah.⁣⁣Mark Titus  37:55  ⁣Incredible. And it sounds like this is something that is reciprocal that the vets are getting just as much out of this as the young people are.⁣⁣Chad Brown  38:06  ⁣Yeah.⁣⁣Mark Titus  38:06  ⁣And that seems to be the things that work the best. And I found myself in when I'm fortunate enough to be in mentorship positions, either receiving or, or giving mentorship, that it is a reciprocal thing. I also found in and I encourage everybody out there to look up soul and check out the soul river code. There are multiple examples here that absolutely intonate come from your military background. Yeah. stuff. Stuff like I serve my community and my team with honor integrity. Absolutely. I hold myself and my gear to the highest state of readiness. And I'd love for you all to read this. But the one that really stood out to me the most in this light is I lead by example. Yeah. And that, to me, suggests not just, I'm receiving something in this deal, but there's an expectation that I'm going to take something from this, and I'm going to contribute to the rest of the world through this experience. Is that true? ⁣⁣Chad Brown  39:14  ⁣That's very true. That's very true. That whole lead by example is, um, you know, you summed it up really, really well. It's, it's a definitely is kind of, like the mindset of, of veterans, you know, you know, and there's, there's, you know, is there's no such thing as throwing in the towel from a veteran standpoint, you know, we're gonna, you know, you give us a mission, we're gonna, you know, we may fall we'll fall through with it, you know, but, you know, our process, it may come back with duct tape or whatever, but, you know, we will follow through and we'll find a way, you know, and I think that's the mindset of like, you never, you never give up, you follow through with what you say you're going to do. Whatever that mission is and that mission is leading these youths and in following through with, with your leadership and experience to instill into these youth. And, and also along with that is the respect that we carry for our community and the remembrance of why we signed that dotted line to join the military, you know, and so there's a lot of deep respect a lot of honor, you know, intertwined with that leadership. And it's our opportunity to get these youth, you know, to see what we represent. And then in exchange to where these youth allow us to instill in them, our leadership, and it's many gifts, because they're getting gifts from all over the place, you know, and, you know, what I mean, gifts is like, I mean, like, you know, in the military, you got to, you know, men and women from all over the United States come from all over the place, you know, and, and with many, many different experiences, so you drop 12 veterans, each veteran, served in a war or not, they have a phenomenal amount of deep type of leadership that's very unique and very different. Compared to another veteran, you know, and so these you are in the mix of 12 veterans that are going to get a like, receive so much intense styles of different leadership, different community support system, a different type of confidence build, when we got young ladies in the mix, you know, they get an opportunity to take on different ways and layers from women leaders who are veterans, right, you know, these women veterans have done so much in fall and from their identity, their gender to them leading troops, I mean, it's on so many different levels. So these young girls, they get these gifts, these small, little gifts, right, and that each veterans giving them and it builds them up, you know, and you see that and that's the change. And that's when you start seeing that transformational change on the water in nature, between that veteran that you you see it, you you see it clearly, there's a shift that happens and, and it's pretty is it's, it's a miracle is beautiful, you know, and I think that's, that's really what gets me going and gets me back on the water, when I'm doing deployments is that that's what that's that's, that's, that gets me going theory, you know, but yeah.⁣⁣Mark Titus  42:45  ⁣We're gonna shift into Love Is King here in a moment. But just to kind of put a cap on this, I was just gonna lead into that kind of experience of transformation. I was just going to ask you about that when you brought it up, I made the haphazard error of trying to instruct my wife in fine art of fly fishing, oh, spouses should not teach spouses how to fly fish. Fully, my dear friend, Dave McCoy stepped in and saved the day and gave Vanke of fly fishing lesson a couple weekends ago, and it went great. Imagine that. So I guess the way I'm framing this is that it's it's not the easiest thing mechanically, and especially if you're a young person, and you're, you're coming from maybe some trauma at home, and some you're bringing something to the river with you all the more. So what does that transformation look like to you? Can you maybe paint that picture for us? When there's a breakthrough? And that young person, like gets the way that the mechanics of fly fishing work for just a second and God forbid, actually catches a fish? And does that in the presence of natural leaders and mentors? What What does that look like to you? What's that satisfaction like for you?⁣⁣Chad Brown  44:12  ⁣That's satisfaction, I would say to me, is seeing my, my circle closed again, like, you know, you know, how we can we can walk through life and feeling like incomplete or certain, you know, whatever that we're getting involved with, or, you know, what we're doing that gives me a complete circle that that a feeling of being complete. You know, I mean, yeah, you know, it also opens up a new circle. You know, it opens up A new circle, but that New Circle is now starting with, now we got work to do. And that work is how do we sustain that passion of that young person? How do we feed the passion and feed the desire and all of that young person to keep that young person in line and in focus. And, and so and that comes into play. So now, it's like, because they're hungry, they are young advocates, they're excited. And so it's also our job is to keep them excited. And by giving them more opportunities, showing them opportunity of where they can apply their excitement. And that's when we start helping them connect the dots to jobs, career paths that they can take. And because our ultimate goal from a veteran standpoint is, is really raising them up into future leaders for tomorrow, and conservation world, and if we can, you know, get them up to speed where they even go to college, you know, number one going to college is great. I mean, that's, that's like ultimate, that's awesome. And, and not every kid is made for that. And of course, it may just be intern or something, but we get them going in that direction. That's, that's what that's what we therefore. But if it goes further, and it's something they did go into conservation world, that's even sweeter, you know, but we don't I think we so revert, we don't really, we're not picky, we're just interested in making sure that the youth are always safe and moving forward in their lives. And, and we try to put the careers in front of them where they can see what they like to maybe pursue or not pursue. But the bottom line is that that is where the work gets put in for it reopens that circle reopens. And so it's more about a career path and leadership in sustaining that interest in showing how they can take their passion in and grow with that, basically,⁣⁣Mark Titus  47:23  ⁣Soul River is beautiful. Thank you, Chad, we will link to that in our show notes. You have another venture, a new venture, it's called Love Is King. And I'm going to read from your mission statement here. It goes like this. "We're on a mission to activate, inspire and empower a humanitarian movement that will mobilize citizens of all colors to carry out our humanitarian obligation that will raise our collective consciousness, educate and help facilitate conflict resolution through love, empathy, respect, and a true sense of personal responsibility without discrimination". And it ultimately boils down to this one statement for me, "the freedom to roam in nature as a basic human right". I think that is brilliant. And so I would love to hear from you. And I know we'd all love to hear how did you come up with this vision? What is it entail? And how are you moving forward?⁣⁣Chad Brown  48:27  ⁣Well, you know, I've always, I guess you could say it started out like when I'm speaking, you know, with different folks and stuff. One of the things that went broke, came to my to the forefront through a buddy partner, mind friend, who is now a board member, basically, but he kind of pulled it out. Because a lot of times when I'm speaking always interest Love Is King. And I say that a lot, you know, randomly, you know, and it's not my way of ending my conversation. But to go deeper with that, you know, when I was young, I was my father and my mom, they you know, they would read to me a lot and they would keep me, you know, keep books by my bed and stuff. And a lot of was a lot of Martin Luther King books. And it's so and I think my subconscious went there. As soon as I my buddy brought that into the forefront love is king. And I started thinking about that, you know, and you know, and it goes deeper because the fact that it does come from Martin Luther King's when the way he speaks and what he stands for, and, you know, and going off of the things that I'm witnessing the things I'm seeing that day and the things that has happened to me as an African American man, slash veteran in the outdoors. Because I have my share of, of racism and hate and crime done to me, um, you know, I think it got to a boiling point to where I felt like the main thing that we're missing in our society is his loving one another. But yet, it's that simple, but it's just that complex. And, and there's a lot of pain on both ends, you know of the spectrum here, you know, we never as a society stop to really have a conversation or have an apology, have a listen, instead of speaking out. We never did that to each other, you know, and we're slowly starting to try to do that. But the way things are things are so much in the boiling point that it's just, it hurts on both ends. And we go to war, we still haven't solved the problem, you know, and we've been in many wars and never really saw the problem with you know, what comes out of war is pain, loss, guilt, you know, mental, you know, whatever you want to call that, you know, this destruction on both ends. It's the same thing, what we do to ourselves, even on our daily tasks in our own society and our own lives, in our own communities. In really, the most simplest form, that can weave us together and bring us together is the act of love for one another. And, and it's something that's heavily missed in, in today's society.⁣⁣Chad Brown  52:09  ⁣And, in the love I'm talking about is, again, it's, you know, Martin Luther King, he done it really well. And he lived his life, like this is the love of a warrior. And I'm not talking about the love and affection family as a husband or a wife, partner, or in a relationship. I'm talking about the love of a warrior, the ethos love of a warrior. And what I mean by that is, you are willing to step up for someone that can't speak for themselves. And you're willing to step into a place that's going to challenge you, that's going to make you feel that uncomfortable. That's going to make you even stutter step of even thinking about moving forward. Because the fact that it will probably either endanger you or cripple you or hinder you, or take whatever away that you have worked for in your life. But it's asking you to step up for this person here. That's the love that I'm talking about. And it goes so deep. And that's the deepness of the love of what is needed in our community. It's stepping in and standing up for not what you believe, but stepping in and standing up for others, to help them be able to pull themselves up and step in and create equal fair opportunity space for healing. And we need more debt. You know, my, you know, that's kind of like where love is Kim is all about, you know, Where, where, you know, the deepness of me, you know, of formulating this idea this concept is Yeah, you know, we need this is the this is a platform of action. It's not a platform to study diversity, equity, inclusion, or jetty or anything, those are needed. Yes, that's not a platform. This is a platform to step up on an actionable platform. If you're looking to step in, and put action to your heart to help others and, and and making the outdoors safe, making the outdoors assessable to BIPOC communities, elderly, LGBTQ communities, including even women, who are just by themselves, you find women that are afraid to walk down a trail by themselves, but only with the group. You have BIPOC communities that will only stay with their groups, but not venture out in the woods. You do find it saving the venture out are the ones that are really well seasoned in the outdoors like myself, but that's very, very little compared to the majority of masses or urban communities, there's a problem. And that problem is a shared fear across the entire platform that nobody's not talking about, and not willing to take the sit down, and listen to what that fear is, or what that person is dealing with. You know, and so, that's Love Is King, Love Is King is is is is about making a bias free space, in the outdoors, where people in all walks of life to be able to be themselves and feel free to roam in nature, without the hate, the bigotry, the racism and ignorance, because it's there. But we need to also make sure that we can eliminate that, you know, the best way possible for that young person, or that woman to feel comfortable the Roman nature, you know, and so but yeah, that's that's Love Is King. Yeah.⁣⁣Mark Titus  56:13  ⁣What I'm hearing is a shared invitation for vulnerability, and empathy. Yep. And I can tell you, in my own life, when the me to movement really broke wide open, I did a, it just happened to be it was coincidental. I was in a gender equality workshop. And one of these exercises, we did some visualization. And I visualize my wife, and my mom and my aunt, and some of my best friends that are women, in some of these compromised situations, and for the first time had this breakthrough about this is so deeply personal, and we are living in such seemingly similar but utterly different worlds just by the difference in our sex, or our race, or the color of our skin. Absolutely. We're all the same race, but and I wept, I broke down and just wept, just imagining like my mom or my, my wife going through those situations that were so hurtful. And it was the same thing. And I got to say, you know, Chad with you, I know that you're at one, at least one time and your rig had gotten broken into and it was awful. And, and I was I was visualizing the same thing, and it hurt. And last, just over the weekend, here, I went out fishing myself. I went South Puget Sound, fishing for sea run cutthroat and tried a new spot was kind of off the grid or migrated anyway, and, and I got into fish. And it was I lost all sense of time. It was bliss, it was amazing. But I had an instance where I turned my head over my shoulder at one point, and there was a guy on the beach, and he was clearly very, very high. And if I had to guess he was high on meth or, you know, it was, it was a pretty intense thing. And he was trying to kind of get my attention. And I didn't feel particularly safe in that moment. And I started thinking about this now I'm, I'm a man with white privilege. And, and I started thinking about this conversation that we're having right now. And now coming full circle and bringing myself into what is that like for a woman on the trail or a person of color, who is in a rural place that is not necessarily filled with other people of color. And man, it hit me again, like a ton of bricks, this is the work you're doing this is is to try to make a place that at least psychologically feel safe for people to go to what I have taken for granted as the ubiquitous ultimate healer for all of us nature thing, and I take that for granted as a white person of privilege. So, you know, what I want to know is like, how do we do this? How do we provide safe places and safe experiences as allies and as advocates for empathy and for vulnerability and for healing and in the outdoors? How do we do this together?⁣⁣Chad Brown  59:38  ⁣It's good question. Thank you for saying that and sharing. You know, I don't have all the answers, but I do know that it's going to take a community to make this work. Um, you know, and and when it comes to that community and working with allies is going to take. And I really appreciate what you're saying. But it's going to, it's going to take more of, of white allies to go a little deeper within themselves and not be so quick to create a response and give an answer to someone of what they're going through, it's going to take more, it's going to require that person to be disciplined to be able to sit and listen and learn how to, to their stories, they have a we BIPOC has a story. Within that story, there also are giving the community and white allies a very strategic map on what they're dealing with, and what they need help with. A lot of times, we get very caught up into amping up an answer before the person even finishes their story. It's not about giving answers, it's more about listening. And then when we learn how to listen, is when we are able to even come closer together as a community to start building this type of environment before we can get there, we need to start listening, then the process you just share with me is phenomenal. And it's awesome that you're able to see that I have faced many, many folks of white race, especially out, especially men and been challenged. In the end, it goes back to default, that doesn't exist, I've never experienced that. Okay. You know, so I'm just like, well, if fundamentally, the reason why it doesn't exist is because it's not, it's not about you, number one. And number two, is fundamentally that you're you are, you're white, and you move through life differently compared to how I would move through life as well. I hate to even bring that up and talk about it, but that's where we are at. And that's where our society is, you know, and that's what we have to deal with. Absolutely, that's what we deal with. Right. And, and so these are, again, these are hard conversations, but their conversation needs to be talked about, in a very healthy manner in a very respectful manner. And we need to start acknowledging these things, you know, and looking at it, you know, and when that person has that up when that person can, can that just said that, you know, I've never seen this, this doesn't happen to me, well, that person actually needs not to respond to that and realize that it's not about them, they just need to understand and take the time to listen to what this person is saying. And have and have, you know, Grace, apply grace to what's happening here, you know, what you listening to, you know, in empathy and in love. Right? You know, you know, because that's loving one another. And again, it's what I said earlier about the ethos warrior. That person who's at a white ally, what love is king has asked me to do is put yourself to the side and step into this space that's gonna make you a little bit vulnerable. And allow yourself to listen well, to what this person is saying. It may not make you feel good, it may make you feel bad. And that's okay. Because the fact that you are there, you showing up, and you're listening. And that's what's needed to get done first. Once when you start listening to one another is that's when we can start coming together. And now we can start working together to solve a problem. Because by you letting down your personal and stepping in that space. You're also opening yourself up of connecting to that person. And guess what you should now you're sharing a love for that person. You sharing empathy, sharing your applying grace, and because the fact that what's happened is that you're starting to care for what that person has went through, when you start to care about something is just as most important is that I go into the outdoors. And I find my aha moment when you find your aha moment. What does that mean? That means you're willing to step up and protect the land. You want to step in and protect the fish, right? Same thing here is finding that aha moment with that person, right. You learn From that person, you find it aha moment. And guess what, you're not just in white, you're not just an ally, but you're stepping in, because you want to support that person, you want to protect that person, you showing your love, and now we can work together, because neither one is don't want to get hurt anymore. Right? Neither one of us don't want to be, you know, yeah, you know, both the both of us wants the right thing. And what that right thing is, is equality is a safe space is a bias free zone, and the both of us feel comfortable, and we can have this awesome engagement of, of breaking bread together, and enjoying our time in nature together, you know, and guess what, we're still strangers, you know, you know, that's the beauty of this. Right? You know, and we're still strangers, you know, and, and, but, but we got common ground to where we can work together now, you know, you know, and, and so, but what I'm saying is, like, I don't have all the answers, those are really fundamental. But those fundamental things that I'll just say, to share is, it's complex is hard. It requires, is going to require the both parties, either on the listening stage or the you know, the information status sharing, etc. But it's going to acquire both people to be vulnerable. You know, love is gonna have to step in on many different levels for one another in order to work together. You know, my grandma used to tell me all the time, it's like, if you have an argument with your girlfriend, or in a girl's really south, love is supposed to step in, you know, if love doesn't step in, then there's a problem. And you will always have that problem. But if it has to get to that point, love steps in. That's what's supposed to happen, you know? And so we have to allow ourselves to allow love to step in for one another. On this path here, you know, both ways. Yeah.⁣⁣Mark Titus  1:07:11  ⁣I think the perfect cap for this is is a quote that you included on your Love Is King site from Dr. King. And it goes "Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. And justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love". To cap off this section, Salman healed me. Like I know nature has healed and continues to heal you and continues to heal us both. What are the mechanics of paying this forward? In the context of Love Is King? What? What kind of situations? What kind of programs and ideas are you going to implement, that folks can get involved with?moving forward? I know you're in the nascent phases of all this. Are there ways that people can get involved?⁣⁣Chad Brown  1:08:08  ⁣Yeah, this many different ways. We have what we call Heritage Events, I got to update the site a little bit, you know, add this stuff there. But we got we call it Heritage Events, and heritage events gives an opportunity for white allies, to step into a space to help support BIPOC communities of entry into the outdoors. And what we do is we work together collectively, and we identify holidays throughout the year. And these holidays are celebrating holidays of many different people's cultures and lives. And we turn each holiday into a hairdos event. And give it a theme entry level thing into the outdoors. A good example is what this looks like say like, you know, Black History Month, and we have a heritage event happening this weekend. And so at the heritage event, we work collectively with conservation groups, and also corporate companies, and also individuals, and collectively as a community. We came together and created this interesting, called the Matthew Henson Outing Experience. And we're doing it right in the foothills of Forest Park. Again, entry level, easy level to easily get in and have a really awesome time. But it's kind of like taking what you go through through a natural history museum. When you have a guide is talking about the history talking about the culture, etc. We lift that up, we leave the walls of the museum there and we apply that into the outdoors. So you come to the trailhead, you have two guides, you have a natural guide is going to be guiding the team guiding the people. And then we're going to have a guy like a professor who's knowledgeable about Matthew Henson's life and he's going to basically tell them The story of Matthew Henson, this gives us an opportunity to elevate this figure, it gives off to celebrate Black History Month and to tell a story, while new folks have come into this space, the hike and create a really awesome, interesting experience. And it's all collectively done together. And so we would Love Is King sit down on the calendar and work with each partner and identify, we'll do the same thing for LGBTQ celebration, we'll do the same thing for Native American History, etc, and on and on and on. But we create these really interesting outings you know, so we have the Matthew Henson outing, and then we had the Buffalo Soldiers outing, which they would not people don't know. But they were the first regiment to ride their bikes through the National Park. And so we got tied into a single track mountain bike, basically experience tied into the history of the storytelling of the Buffalo Soldiers. And then we're going to have the Yeah, thank you. Yeah. And then and you know, so it goes on and on. And so that's one thing. So cool, is we're constantly You know, this, again, this is an actual platform. So it opens itself up to many people, all people who wants to volunteer support to help create these heritage events. And these heritage events really focused towards bringing new BIPOC community into the outdoors, creating a safe space from learning a safe space for creating awesome memories. And we all learn about the stories and the history, etc, of that land while we're walking down the trails. And it's a really, collectively deeper impact for community growth. From a corporate standpoint, down to BIPOC community leaders, you know, you know, and we also have what we call, what do you call it a Stories Over Silence. And this is a, you know, this is another way to participate, but it's much more catered towards a more bipa, but is open, but what it is, it's, you know, it's really simple, we give out like a go to 1234 step of outline that we want you to speak to, and you just basically use your phone, in video record, you know, about, you know, the video about your experience in the outdoors, tied to welcome access and safety. And it's called Stories Over Silence, and everything so and when you record it, we post that this gives people an opportunity to learn and listen. It takes away the charge, from having to, you know, ask questions, etc, to that person because they record it. And but this just basically puts you in a position just to listen and learn from people of color, have their experiences called Stories Over Silence, you know, you know, and so those, I just named a couple things. But we're also looking for volunteers to help support on many different levels. It's a new nonprofit in and we are and we're growing. Yeah.⁣⁣Mark Titus  1:13:01  ⁣It's fantastic. And just so our listeners know, when you're referring to BIPOC. Yeah, can you elucidate that for us?⁣⁣Chad Brown  1:13:09  ⁣Black Indigenous People of Color.⁣⁣Mark Titus  1:13:12  ⁣Thank you. And we, of course, are going to link to the all the work you're doing on our site and at, but just so if folks are driving right now, where can they find your work and how to get involved?⁣⁣Chad Brown  1:13:27  ⁣Yeah, so my personal work, now the store is out there. My personal work, my photography is And then my nonprofit number one is You can always you can go you find all the information you need on that. And then, but third, I'm sorry, my second nonprofit is And so you can find that online as well.⁣⁣Mark Titus  1:13:57  ⁣Awesome. Yeah. Well, we'll link to all of that in our show notes at Eva's and but nobody gets out of here without doing the speed round. So, here comes the speed round questions for you. Are you ready?⁣⁣Chad Brown  1:14:09  ⁣I don't know what a speed round is.⁣⁣Mark Titus  1:14:12  ⁣Okay, there's just a rapid just a rapid fire coming at you real quick. It's, it's not too mind bending. But basically, picture this. Your house is on fire. We don't want that, of course. But if it were, of course, you get your loved ones out first. But in addition to them. What's the one physical thing you save from the fire?⁣⁣Chad Brown  1:14:34  ⁣My dog, my service dog.⁣⁣Mark Titus  1:14:36  ⁣Of course. My goodness. What's your dog's name again?⁣⁣Chad Brown  1:14:39  ⁣His name is Axe.⁣⁣Mark Titus  1:14:41  ⁣Right.⁣⁣Chad Brown  1:14:42  ⁣Yeah, he has his own website.⁣⁣Chad Brown  1:14:50  ⁣Yeah, so anyway.⁣⁣Mark Titus  1:14:53  ⁣Is it just⁣⁣Chad Brown  1:14:56  ⁣is it's⁣⁣Mark Titus  1:15:01  ⁣Amazing.⁣⁣Mark Titus  1:15:06  ⁣Dogs are gonna want it my dogs are gonna want a website now. All right now let's let's call it your spiritual house. Let's say your spiritual house is on fire. What are the two most important things about your life that you take with you?⁣⁣Chad Brown  1:15:21  ⁣Wow, my spiritual house.⁣⁣Chad Brown  1:15:27  ⁣That I would if my my house is on my mouse is still on fire right now?⁣⁣Mark Titus  1:15:32  ⁣Yeah. So if you could take two things that were most important to you in building your spiritual life, your life of integrity, your you know, mental health life? What are those two things?⁣⁣Chad Brown  1:15:50  ⁣Well, Axe is already taken. So I would say, my, my rod, and my camera.⁣⁣Mark Titus  1:16:09  ⁣Those are important. Yeah, I would, I would say the same. Those are a big up on my list too. And would you leave anything behind in the house to burn or be purified in the fire?⁣⁣Chad Brown  1:16:20  ⁣Uh, I would probably if I had opportunity to come back, I would take my bows, my archery bows, and then I'll leave everything else, as is.⁣⁣Mark Titus  1:16:32  ⁣Good enough. Chad Brown, you are always an inspiration and always so fun to talk to, we could go on. And I'm hoping you'll come back another time. And we can check in and see how Love Is King is doing and see how we can continue to further support your work with Sol river and I hope we get the chance to fish together one of these days.⁣⁣Chad Brown  1:16:51  ⁣Yeah, that'd be awesome.⁣⁣Mark Titus  1:16:53  ⁣Yeah. All right. Well, for now, take care. And thank you all for tuning in. And we'll see you next time.⁣⁣Chad Brown  1:17:00  ⁣All right. Thank you. Take care.⁣⁣Mark Titus  1:17:17  ⁣Thank you for listening to Save What You Love. If you like what you're hearing, you can help keep these conversations coming your way by giving us a rating on Apple Podcasts. You can check out photos and links from this episode at While there you can join our growing community. By subscribing to our newsletter, you'll get exclusive offers on wild salmon shipped to your door, and notifications about upcoming guests and more great content on the way that's at That's the word save spelled backwards wild dot com. This episode was produced by Tyler White and edited by Patrick Troll. Original music was created by Whiskey Class. This podcast is a collaboration between Eva's Wild Stories and Salmon Nation and was recorded on the homelands of the Duwamish People. We'd like to recognize these lands and waters and their significance for the peoples who lived and continued to live in this region, whose practices and spiritualities were and are tied to the land and the water and whose lives continue to enrich and develop in relationship to the land waters and other inhabitants today.⁣⁣⁣
Check out David James Duncan and their work: Essays: "Heart Like the Mountains" Orion Magazine The Sun Magazine Save What You Love with Mark Titus:Produced: Tyler WhiteEdited: Patrick TrollMusic: Whiskey ClassEpisode Transcript:Mark Titus  0:00  Welcome to say what you love. I'm Mark Titus. This episode we featured author David James Duncan who wrote The River Why, The Brothers K, My Story as Told by Water River Teeth. These are tomes to me, Bibles almost of growing up in the Pacific Northwest, growing up in love with wild salmon. And honestly, have a big foundational part in kind of the way I see the world and, you know, look at things spiritually.Mark Titus  0:31  I can't be more proud or excited to bring David onto the show, as a mentor, and as a friend. We're going to talk about how David is looking at the world and seeing things in terms of a spiritual movement toward something bigger than ourselves, which kind of is what we're doing here on this show. And he's also going to read from his new novel Sun House. I've been waiting for 15 years for this. I know he's been waiting for 15 years for this. And I bet a lot of you have been waiting for a long time for this as well. Enjoy the episode today. If you dig this, please give us a rating and tell your friends and we'll see you next week. Here's David James Duncan.Whiskey Class  1:18  "How do you save what you love? When the world is burning down."Whiskey Class  1:32  "How do you save what you love when times are getting tough".Mark Titus  1:53  Well, let's do this thing, man. I'm so I'm so excited. I've been chomping at the bit all morning. And I've been digging in and doing my work. And so just to start this thing off, can you Where are you joining us from this morning.David James Duncan  2:05  I'm in Missoula, Montana. And it was eight degrees here this morning and it's a balmy zero now with a little bit of sunshine outside. I haven't spoken all day. So I will occasionally sound like a 14 year old adolescent when my voice cracks. But believe me, I am a long way from that adolescent.Mark Titus  2:28  I'll have some fries with that, sir. Yeah, hey, well, we we had kind of a warm up recently the other day and as you said, I fear an hour, we'll go like a minute. So I'd like to keep the door open. If you're willing to come back down. The trail always says I got a feeling we're probably not going to get it all. But just to start us out here. Can you tell us a bit about your story and how you came to love the things that means so much to you?David James Duncan  3:00  I was born on a volcano in Portland, Mount Tabor. In the old Seventh Day Adventist Hospital from the windows of which if I could have seen, the Columbia River and St. Helens are a clear view. Columbia is the river of almost my entire lifespan. I first encountered wild salmon when my grandmother who was a realtor, trying to get me to see God's true plans for my life and get me interested in real estate. And she she made the mistake of taking me to what is now the suburb of Gresham 20. And there's a creek called a 26 mile long trip of the Willamette Johnson Creek. That she allowed me to go down to play in. When I was five alone. We did stuff like that in those days, it was a little bit safer world. And I crawled out on a cantilevered log. And I didn't even know what it was, but a massive male coho came right up to the top of the pool and looked me in the eye with its green, black, red white Totem colors and unblinking eye and my mind was completely blown. And I just felt at five. I want to live where these things live. Later, the same year five, I was able to fish for a little while by myself in the jobs and selects Bay, where there were salmon rolling and seals chasing them and I had a little tiny pole and kind of perch solo. And then I caught a 12 inch flounder and the first time you see a flounder when you're five again My mind was blown. I mean it was It was an experience of there are other worlds within the world within this world, maybe quite a few. But the first one I made contact with was the aquatic world. And that love has taken me so many interesting places and allowed me to encounter so many wonderful mythologies to learn that for the tribes, heaven was not celestial. It was marine. And they talked about a totem pole in the center of the center of the ocean, that is the unfollows that means the most important point of the world almost like the creation point, and for them, that would be the the equivalent of a place like Tir Na nOg to you Irishman. And, and, and I just always felt compared to playing harps with angels and the folks I met at church. That totem pole in the center of the ocean sounded mighty. Yeah, it still does.Mark Titus  6:17  It sure does. Yeah. So water from the very beginning, and the Columbia and it's tribs. And that brings you too now.David James Duncan  6:32  Yeah, that's the kind of passing over a lot in a hurry. But the other it's really, I have to say that the, the magic wand in my hand, the fly rod, added a whole nother layer when I was eight. And then it learned to cast fly, and immediately put a size 10 mosquito through my right ear lobe. But my dad got it out. And I booked some trout and the phrase in the Bible that even at eight, I loved maybe the best was Christ saying that the kingdom of heaven is in you. And every time I went to church, I felt as far as you can get from that kingdom. And the first time I walked up a little trout stream tributary of zigzag river on Mount Hood. I was in that kingdom is walking deeper and deeper inside it. And yeah, it just, it is. It is where I go to read the unwritten gospel. AndMark Titus  7:50  I think, Well, yeah, we're connected on on so many levels. And that's certainly one of them. I had the good fortune of one of the early houses my parents had, I think was the second house they ever had was had a it was in what is now Microsoft land in Redmond. But back then, was just woods, and a creek, an unnamed creek that flowed through it all. And I remember, we got in deep one day for my brother and I thought, you know, we and one of our buddies were like, we're gonna get super smart and take all our clothes off to so we don't get our clothes wet and, you know, brilliant, you know, stroke of luck and thinking in our part. And then you know, promptly got home. And that was not a good idea, but bad back in the day. That was where where we found God and found pure wonder. So I so relate to that. We're going to get more into that kingdom of God is within for sure. But I'm going to put the leading story at the front here this time and, and and get the anticipation over with. We'll get to it because I like Legion, other fan boys and girls have long awaited your next novel. And the time is rapidly approaching when there will be a next novel and I couldn't be more stoked. And I know there's a lot of people that are with me on that. And if you'd like I welcome you to read from a piece or the piece of the excerpt of the essay you sent me or if you have something from sun house, which is the new work that would be amazing if you feel like ready.David James Duncan  9:46  Yeah, I feel like that. So in house is a novel told in two parts need each is a full blown novel in itself. It's actually made of seven shortish novels, but there's a part one and part two In part one, you meet the main five characters and their closest friends. And every one of them, despite their foibles and flaws, is basically intelligent, kind, compassionate, and sometimes heroic, as heroic as really the human beings that I've been lucky and blessed to know my entire adult life. So it doesn't sit well with me. When I look at the Greece Cray cell center, people who dominate the product we call the news, which is actually just the bad news. And in my view, this dismal bias has erased for a lot of people, for a lot of mis educated young as as programs like Head Start are slashed. By insane Republicans. They've nearly lost the sense of what fascinating, compassionate, self giving human beings continue to be. And I've chosen to defend those kinds of humans in this big fat book. Because we can, you know, we can turn on any screen or hit or handheld device and see some self centered tyrant or slander, slinging asshole. And I choose to let my heroes positive traits dominate that huge negative bias and as closely as possible without losing suspense. And the sense of occasional combat that that is life on Earth. "Sun House" is as close as possible to an asshole free zone in which in which - Mark Titus  11:44  God sounds so goodDavid James Duncan  11:46  - that these heroes are trying to create the kind of close knit grounded human and animal community twice failed ranch in Montana. And this is the kind of community that the likes of Bill McKibben have said, We must create if we're to survive the curses of climate chaos. It'll be with us for God knows how long so the kinds of stories we tell now matter. And I will contrast in a couple of just a couple of long paragraphs first. The fact that I'm talking about a twice recovered cattle ranch in Montana might make you think that a Western would be a good genre for me, but the western has some problems. I'll read about here. Like the fair, "like the fans of the Verdi, Puccini or Rossini. The bread libretto, fans",have got one too many needs in Ross's name. They're sorry. "Like the fans of a Verdi or Puccini, libretto, fans of Zane Grey John Ford, Louis L'Amour Western expect a prescribed storyline performed on an equally prescribed stage. The storylines by and large, derived from the rote, racist masculinist triumphalist 19th century wild west shows and penny dreadfuls from which the genre first sprang the match that ignites a Western is a generic and justice horses lost to rustlers or ranch lost to a loaded deck of cards. Potshot in the back over his mining claim cysts separated from her scalp or cherry while trying to hang laundry, inaugural rape, death or pillage that ignites a hero so operatically, mannered in his means of vengeance. The John Wayne becomes a veritable Luciano Pavarotti and Gary Cooper Placido Domingo, as tempers combust horses get rode hell for leather and hot lead begins to fly. In a Western we know in advance that retribution will be enacted by quote 'peacemakers' and quote 'gunplay' upon a sage brushed, bouldered red, white and blue sky canvas. We know the nutty sidekick will win our hearts just long enough to prick them when he runs out into a crossfire and gets shot dead. We know we'll either side with lust or squirm with embarrassment according to our personal sexual politics the instant we cite the heaving bosom of the optionally sultry or feisty female love interest. We know the rich, corrupt patriarch will be protected by a militia of toughs, who will fire hundreds of festively inaccurate rounds that our hero while our hero fires back with an accuracy that over the subterranean groans of the hack Western actor ronald reagan keeps Hollywood stuntman employed, unionized and pensioned to this day. The genesis of the community in my novel can't be a Western because by that genres, proto Call, my heroes would be seen not as eccentric seminal founders of an interlocking vibrant circle. But as alien hallucinations from a galaxy we'd need three or four shots of rooster Coburn's whiskey. To help us forget this, this story can't be a Western because Zane Grey condition visitor motoring on to the ranch property would be flummoxed to find shining greenhouses, where the moon door outhouses should be a barn that serves as a combination Town Hall, concert halls and dough dumpster Catholic Cathedral where the Hey mouse arrows and dead tractors should be and a bunch of other qualities. This story can't be a Western because in a Western, there's a west to be one where the residents of this community are conducting, as I have, and my friends have the labor intensive recovery of a West decidedly lost first by its natives to a human invasion from Europe, then by its settlers to a stacked deck of East Coast robber barons, then by the majority of its residents to a hodgepodge of corporate fantasies and big energy or Defense Department Earth rapists whose ravages are seeing everywhere across the actual West. But nowhere in genre Western. Just one more sense of that our story can't be a Western because the population of the West today is 87% urban. The horseback cowboys and family ranches that once hosted the genre have all been disappeared. And the enemy wiping out cowboy and ranching both is a politically hotwired anything but free market juggernaut that long ago stopped leaving behind coined Western ghost towns like Shaniko, Oregon or Bannock, Montana and started creating ocean dune death rose out of entire low elevations, cities, countries and coastlines". So yeah, Mark Titus  17:06  Thank you.David James Duncan  17:07  Yeah, we could talk about the dark side. And then there's another riff that is the counter. The counter to the Western is what I call or my character, really, my characters kind of invent things on their own, called an Eastern Western. And that riff is about as long as the one I just read, so maybe I should say, Well,Mark Titus  17:28  let me ask you that. Yeah. Let me ask you this. And then I think we can add, you know, volley the eastern Western into it. The soul white hero archetype, John Ford, Zane Grey, like you're talking about going it alone? Where is this brought us? And what precipice do we find ourselves on in Sun House?David James Duncan  17:51  Well, Sun House from the beginning, is portraying people who are extremely aware of the importance of exploring their own psycho spiritual depths. And of trying to maintain some kind of a practice. Whether it's freely wandering, high mountain ridge lines, or zen meditation, or there's so many different things that can be and - Mark Titus  18:26  wandering a trout stream. David James Duncan  18:28  Yeah, wandering a trout stream and the, the direction the novel takes really does take seriously I really wanted to create a feeling of permission for people who are trying to, to develop a spiritual practice or recover one that they've lost because of their disenchantment with religion, or also people trying. One of the really heartening things that I also consider a practice is despite the dominance of massive, powerful lobbyists, reinforced agricultural, agricultural Petro Ag in the United States, that's compacting soils and washing them down in the Gulf of Mexico or the Pacific, etc. You know, you know, the crimes. There's this amazing grassroots food movement that also in franchises just local thinking and local communities, and that's huge to me. Because my daughter Ellie, is one of those farmers in Bellingham Washington, farming two acres and started a farm stand in a food desert and she and her partner are local heroes and to watch her close, hear from her get wonderful, you know, accounts of what their struggles are. are amazing amount of back breaking late labor clever tools support by the community. It's it's exactly analogous to the kind of thing her dad's been trying to write about for 14 years. But she's in that enviable position of actually doing it while her dad sit in a chair.Mark Titus  20:26  It's gonna say, Man, it's gotta be a Marvel to you to see that manifest, not only just in another human, but in your own progeny. I mean, what a what a delight.David James Duncan  20:39  Yeah, my other daughter too. She's, she's working with kids who have special needs, like autistic kids, and which is closely connected to the massive amounts of mercury that were dumped into our atmosphere by coal plants. And, yeah, so they're both right in the thick of it. And so it's my artist, wife, I've had these unusual things happen in my life. In early Oh, when I was 19, I spent 100 days mostly alone, seven and a half miles from the nearest road and will our mountains and was reading wisdom literature there. And early on, I recognized the connection between mythology, wisdom lit a tree, and landscape. And I've had some amazing texts in high desert, Oregon, river canyons and high up in the mountains, deep cedar groves, along the nearly extinct salmon streams of the upper Clearwater in the snake. And it is added something that's very different than the kind of mindset you get locked into, for example, if you're a passionate biologist, painfully learning that the huge amount of material you know about something like wild salmon, carries no weight in our current politics, for those who just decided to blow it off, as you as you know, from your experience, battling the Pebble Mine. It's been very comparable, trying to defend creatures that are be being annihilated by four dams on a river that we do not need that create absolutely deadly slackwater with host predators and all that. We know the story and we'll be telling it, but I'm trying to in the novel, I'm trying to ground it. I feel that our situation mark is more mythological than it is political. So that a book like say Lao tzus, down to Ching is what is more important than the latest political screed by either side of the huge divide that we're that we're experiencing, and it feels really urgent to me.Mark Titus  23:28  Yes. And I think there's a giant craving for it toDavid James Duncan  23:31  Yeah, yeah, to remind people how wonderful human beings are by dragging a host of them into this into this novel with my characters so that you can, you can hear the way jonatha cross talked about Mother Nature. You can hear the way. Zen master Dogan talks about the intimate relationship between wise people and mountains, saying that the mountains actually love those people and love when they enter them. And that it does things to the rocks, it does things to every plant and animal for that marriage between the mountain and the mountain laundry and sage to exist. And there's incredibly beautiful poetry out of Dallas, China, and both Shinto and, and Buddhist, Japan that celebrates all that and for a culture starved American to stumble on some of that can really you talk about wonder. It can really be a source of, of added depth and wonder to go to those wisdom sources that are free to all of us. It's like we're all trying to write a fugue that will save the world but not listening to Johann Sebastian Bach first. We need. We need the maestro. And yeah,Mark Titus  24:56  I this is the sense I have from Reading the essay last night, before prepping for the conversation today that you know, especially as somebody in recovery, who understands what isolation does, there has been this mythos of going it alone, showing no vulnerability, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, and by God getting yours. And what struck that that kind of struck me as the the Zane Grey kind of archetype in in the writing. But what's, what's the other side of that? What's the eastern Western that you're trying to bring into the world in Sun House?David James Duncan  25:50  I really think Mark, this is a perfect time for me to read a couple of paragraphs, perfect. "We're all in the midst of having our world reduce, and our hearts repeatedly broken by a human assault on the planetary tapestry of life. That's fast building toward an inconceivable climax. The magic of an Eastern Western enters through our hearts very brokenness. When East touches West, many hearts don't simply break they break down into far older and greater ways of being. When East touches West, is hard to break in this way, we're suddenly renters, on a glorious planet owned by no conceivable white guy, and the fierce fierce is possible love for Earth landforms living waters, living creatures, and every embodied soul, human and non becomes entirely justified. When East touches West, no word deed or thought is free of spiritual consequences. And those consequences are our Stern, guiding light. When East touches West, earth, fire, water, ether and air, not only give us life, they continually manifest and unborn unseen geillis perfection that rules our world. you punish shots. When he's touches West Bodhisattvas begin begin saints displays Tibetan and indigenous sages and holy fools, no so many things that the likes of Zane Grey, Ronald Reagan and general Phil shared and never dreamed of that the ladders bogus knowings don't distract us from our true purposes for more than a few seconds. When he touches West, the central struggle is against cosmic illusion. All blame is best driven into oneself. That's he hi Dugan, founder of Soto's in all creatures in their pre existing forms have been divine life forever. That's Meister Eckhart who the Catholic Church condemned although he has been redeemed as the greatest mystic in that whole tradition. All solid. Yeah, man. Yeah, we've been talking. You got a head start. Oh, all solace lies hidden in the indestructible soul. Krishna. The law of karma is impartial and inexorable. Bhaag Bhagavad Gita, and the Justice unleashed upon a posthumous human spirit. After a skene of subhuman investments in say, Terminator seeds, fracking, tar sands, greed spawn corporate run disinformation machines are bogus derivatives may have salvific necessity, lead that self betrayed spirit, to the darkest of Bartos to a short brute incarnation is a paint huffer trapped in one of the hellholes. their financial triumphs helped create when East touches West nature, the soul, the intellect and enraptured angels. This is a quote from a Sufi nature the soul, the intellect and enraptured angels, all proceeds from the one mini Allah He all kafir. And if the one many were to grant you every last thing for what you could think to act truly, his kingdom would be no more diminished than is the sea diminished by a needle dipped in the sea. That's Eben Harvey. When he stretches West, the first noble truth is suffering. The last frontier is unassailable bliss. Our enemies are our teachers, and a bad guy in quotes is likely to be shot through with light as was lead. When East touches West, a river spliced Montana Meadow might be visited by an infinite guest that telescopes down into the heart of a vulnerable female Trespasser in closing her and an invaluable presence that converts an armed and mounted attacker into a stunned feature of his own interior vastness. When East touches West, a high elevation Lake stilled to mirror a billion stars might drop a mountain wanderer to his knees, pierced to see the depth, it's height, Eckhart. And elevation is a blessing, not a conquest, Edward hoga. And there is no democracy in any love relation. Only Mercy, Gillian Rose. And knowledge is erotic. Jane Hirshfield. And the Universe by definition is a single gorgeous, celebratory event, Thomas Berry, and sky and sky whether it's over Montana or over Tibet, Tibet, Jetsam, Nepal, Mo, and all the way to heaven is heaven, Catherine of Sienna. And we are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and the divine is shining through it all the time. Thomas Merton, and I was just a container of love till love smashed the container. And the uncontainable came gushing out jervis mograph. Early each morning here on the Elk Moon, every man, woman, child, plant creature and geographical feature casts a westward leaning shadow are the same silent reason, reason, sunrise in the east. So I asked you, has there ever been a Western without an Eastern, Western, beating like a gloriously broken open heart inside it?"Mark Titus  31:56  I am grateful for you're sharing this with us. And there is so much to unpack in there. I read I read this two times last night because I wanted to savor each word and this is one of those pieces of writing that you can't just blow through. You have to savor each word there's so much in there. But what thematically what I'm getting out of this is a convergence. East West, the line about your enemies being your teachers, we're we're in this moment of unparalleled polarity. And finding this convergence, I think is what's going on when I'm hearing this from you. And it certainly feels like an imperative to me. You and I talked at length for a while last week about synchronicity and convergence. And I was struck by a line it's a I think another line in later in the book that you sent to me and it's I'll read it here. It's coming from Elk Moon Valley, Montana, June 21 2016. And it's the letter X, which I assume is 10. Running Hand, right? And it goes it's a it's a poem from Tom Crawford from the Eucharist. And it goes, "When the light is just right. If you squint, you can make out the wiring to the one bird, they all are 1000s of swarming black starlings, going, suddenly vertical stalling, doubling back on themselves. In China, it's called running hand, this brushstroke that flows over the paper, nobody in charge".David James Duncan  33:55  We just had another convergence Mark. I was like, Damn, I forgot to get that Crawford quote, I wanted to read that to you. And you just read it to me. It's very nice.Mark Titus  34:05  I, of course, had to pick and choose from the research for this conversation. But that one, of course, needed to be in here. So the question I have for you in this idea that we're exploring here, what's a murmuration? And how does this frame this conversation of convergence for us right now in this moment, because as I mentioned earlier, I feel like there is a hunger a deep hunger among individuals for a convergence.David James Duncan  34:38  Barry Lopez was a distant but dear friend, a son of the McKenzie as I've been a son, a couple of rivers, the bitterroot these days and, and the upper salmon streams of the snake and the Tom Crawford thing you just read It is a beautiful definition of a murmuration. In England especially, but in the Willamette Valley and other places that are really Starling heavy, they fly in these vast patterns that literally black in the sky. And it seems impossible when they form these shapes that that like, literally hundreds of 1000s of birds can be reacting with incredible skill. And Barry Lopez did a beautiful interview with another friend of mine, Fred bahnson, in the sun magazine very close to the end of his life 2018. And Barry says, outright talking of convergence mark that human beings need to become murmurations we knew we need to learn to respond, how starlings do it is they're responding to six or eight birds that are right next to them, literally coordinating the flaps of their wingbeats so that they don't crash into each other and break each other's wings. And if you look at some of the YouTubes of murmuration of starlings, some magnificent ones filmed in Europe, and you will see Falcons attacking these huge flocks. And it's amazingly hard. There's, there's, you know, there will be 100,000 birds blackening the sky, the Falcon will shoot right through the middle of it. And the starlings are so skilled at reacting in unison with great speed, that it's damned hard for a falcon to catch a freaking little Starling. Which if you watch one fly alone, it's not very impressive, same as humans. Zane Grey Starling is not a very interesting character. But 100,000 starlings, constantly forming and re forming and those running hand murmurations is just a site that can bring tears to your eyes. And I love it that I was able to write to Barry, after I read his his call for a murmurations of humans, and quote, The Tom Crawford that you just read, from a book from a poem to that was appropriately titled the Eucharist because that kind of responsiveness as a Eucharistic a salvific quality to it, that we are hungry that humanity is starving for. So,Mark Titus  37:52  Yeah, I have taken your veneration for the Eucharist, the idea of sacrament and explored that in my own work, obviously, with salmon, and this idea of taking something that is so demonstrably Christ, like in its giving of itself so life itself can continue. And what does that mean, when you take that in together and community? I feel like there is this, especially right now, in this COVID time when we are all isolated, and it's so acutely pointed, how isolated we are this need for connection for convergence. And so that image of a murmuration of birds moving in synchronicity, and what I've just kind of naturally observed, and you've pointed out to me as well, that there's a awful lot of us, there's an awful lot of people that are craving, a spiritual depth, that and a connection to each other, that we maybe have been disenfranchised from, or isolated from or through our own trauma disconnected from, is that part of what you're trying to achieve in Son House his grasp onto that notion?David James Duncan  39:23  Yeah, there's a wonderful phrase that my friend, Fred Bahnson, has been writing some wonderful essays in Harper's, in The Sun, Emergence, about what is becoming of people seeking for exactly what we're discussing. When Protestant churches tend to be in a state of pretty near collapse. So many of them have been turned into community centers or just yoga studios or churches turned into many other purposes. Done events. Quite a few of those. And there are the phrase that Fred uses to title a wonderful essay of his about this phenomenon in a recent Harper's is the gate of Heaven is everywhere, which was said by Thomas Merton. And one of the implications of that is I've done work with groups of people who were literally resurrecting totally screwed. Urban streams that had lost their salmon runs. Most of the work I did on this was in watkyn. County. And when you watch them, get rid of the canary grass, and bring in woody debris from it would have just been slashed burned that login sites and get that wood back in the river and bring viable runs of coho and chum, and occasionally Chinook salmon in these small streams that were dead down to nothing for decades. And it all came back because they started doing things that low that simply lowered water temperature and created more aquatic life. It is it's impressive. It's, that's Eucharistic to the salmon. I was also thinking as we were talking that, you know, what is what are the beautiful movements of sockeye since they move in unison, up those Alaska streams that you know, so well, what is that but an aquatic murmuration? And so, yeah, sky and water on land, we're losing the last, migrations, you know, the great migrations of African herds. Because water issues in a lot of places, some wildebeest are still moving around good numbers become very hard for elephants. But yeah, these things are these things are what Earth created. And one of the things that really got out of whack was shortly after the beautiful description of creation, in the first paragraphs of Genesis. There's this one sentence about giving mankind dominion. That has been a real well run amok word, it created Manifest Destiny, it created genocide, globally. Yep, it is a it's a disaster word and the word that was actually used ra da ra da H doesn't mean any of the kind it simply, it means stewardship and and what kind of stewardship disobeys the mosaic scriptures and drives things to extinction. That is not RDA. That is run amok. Manifest Destiny. And that's Tom Crawford has another wonderful poem about how we, we cannot let Christopher Columbus drive the car anymore. We got to get that guy out of there. And I don't know what send him back to. Whatever back to Portugal.Mark Titus  43:42  Well, yeah. And you know, it this, this leads me down another tributary here about the way I was raised. And I know you were and a lot of folks who are about dualistic thinking, you know, good, bad, Republican, Democrat, black, white, one or the other. And in that losing, like you're talking about the the definition of that word, like dominion, therefore, we must go out and subdue all the earth. And that was manifest destiny. That was the imperative based on the writing that you shared with me from your friend, Fred bahnson. In that article in Harper's, about finding, finding God everywhere, there is this idea of dualism versus contemplation and coming back to a more contemplative way of living in the hunger for that and that is seeming to happen as almost a murmuration all over the place. And for me, I know I had a personal experience of an awakening. I know. Fred talks about it in his article, and I know you've had you talk about it here at the head of the podcast, coming to presence with that coho that silver salmon and that AI and awakening to something much bigger than yourself. I had something like that when I was a young guy, I was reading your book, The brothers K. in Bristol Bay, I was working in the processing plant in the summertime. And I had the real blessing of meeting a mentor, then a friend of mine named uncle Lenny, who told me when I said, I just want to be part of this thing, I want to be part of something bigger than myself. I'm reading all of these Native American wisdom texts and all of these other pieces of writing. And I want so badly to be a part of it. And he said to me, little brother, all you already are, all you have to do is say thank you, when something happens, that allows you to see the world as it is. Very next night, I was working up on some scaffolding, and it's 11 o'clock at night. Because it's you know, sunlight there all the time in Alaska that time of year. And a swallow came and clipped My dear, as I was taking in this grand tour of the belugas in the river and the sun, the golden light on the water. And I this just happened and I said thank you. And so then I think that that sort of awakening brought me into a different stage of consciousness. And then to go one step further with that, as a guy in recovery. I've been told that you've got this amazing paradox, you have to give it all away to have everything. So imagine if you found the mother lode of all the gold, or a keys to a cheese shop or brewery, whatever your your gold happens to be. But you must mine it every day, and then give it all away. You have access to it all, but you must give it all away. So with this as a backdrop How do you see this movement and this time we're in about this dualism that we've been led to grew up with versus a contemplative life?David James Duncan  47:25  You Yeah, one way the sentence I think I wrote in the Mickey Mantle Cohen, only the spirit as as the spiritual experience. So we're talking immediately the spiritual experience passes through us, it feels like our experience, then it's over. And that's when I think are the murmuration duty is sharing. Sharing any sense you might have of what created the space that allowed you to get the hell out of your hot little head and allow something that the earth is trying to say to you to enter. And so when speaking of dualistic thinking, trying to own any such experience, trying to claim it as yours, trying to think that makes you some kind of spiritual authority is a tragic mistake that's likely to turn you into a spiritual snake oil salesmen if you follow it very far.Mark Titus  48:39  Exactly. That's the giving away part.David James Duncan  48:41  Yeah, it is not yours. It's every once right and no one's so yeah, just leave your leave your dualistic thinking. I don't know what drop it off next time you're near Wall Street. let it wash down a gutter in East River. Yeah,Mark Titus  49:05  Well, here's another. Another wonderful description of this from the same article but Thomas Merton quote from New Seeds of Contemplation, "The highest expression of man's intellectual and spiritual life is the contemplative life. It is that life itself fully awake, fully active, fully aware, that is that it is alive. It is spiritual wonder. It is spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life of being". That that was what I felt in that moment with a swallow. I'm guessing that head was something something akin to that moment with a coho with you. Moving into the next realm here of our conversation, how does this idea of spiritual wonder, the spontaneous or at the sacredness of life of being, how does that connect? verge with our shared off for and love of wild salmon.David James Duncan  50:06  It reminds me of I would say I've read a sage who said there's no goal beyond love. I would also say there's no goal beyond wonder if something is allowing you to enter that state. aspiration has come to an end, you're there. Like your elder friend told you. When you asked the question you already are, all you have to do is look and say thank you. And it's a little something I wrote to conclude a project that Rick bass and I did when a bunch of series of Wild and Scenic Rivers starting with oil and also the Columbia and the snake were threatened by Exxon Mobil wanting to create a direct connection between Astoria Portland shipyards, and the Alberta tar sands, the largest industrial project on earth, and one of the most, if not the most devastating. And the last two paragraphs I wrote, I just been experiencing my region in a very different way, identify the end of the book, with a beautiful with the Irish creation story. And this just came out that I think, is not a bad way to wrap up what we've been talking about. "Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana are a weave of places, weathery forces, flora and fauna, wild intricacy, to which people from all over the world flock like grateful birds, simply to see Earth being Earth. See wildness intact. See the earth dreaming of beauty. Today, we call these places ours. But the Northwest and Northern Rockies are a weave of life forms and mysteries. We did not create and cannot recreate once the wilds ability to weave is ravaged. These great regions were pre American, and we'll be post American. They are what enable biodiversity to diversify natural selection to naturally select. Generation after generation of kids to muck around and river shallows with frogs fingerlings and caddis fly casings. These regions are governed not by such creatures as governors, but by elemental and celestial harmonies as powerful as Earth spinning yet as intricate as an orb weavers do be decked web these places and forces to put it the ancient way. Our our mother to living terrain, her body, the floor, her clothes, the lakes, rivers, reels her blood and arteries, the seasons and weathers her moods, the birds, fish, fauna, humans, all equally her offspring. And every man woman and child striving to defend her life in the lives she supports. Even in poverty, or political impotence, even against seemingly hopeless odds, is not only a hero, but an integral part of her every bit as holy as she who may seek to defend".Mark Titus  53:47  Thank you for reading that. That that was from Heart of the Monster?David James Duncan  53:54  Ya the last last paragraph of mine, then Rick Bass will beat it out of you with his essay. It's such a grimm book.Mark Titus  54:03  I remember Yes. It's hard. But yeah, you know, it's hard, but it's, it's necessary, it's necessary. And honestly, you know, that I wanted to touch on one one last thing before we start wrapping it up here in terms of that hard but necessary. And we have this moment in Bristol Bay right now of reprieve and it's it is just a moment. We still need permanent protection for Bristol Bay. We need the EPA under the current administration to veto the pebble project that would put North America's largest open pit golden copper mine in the headwaters of the last fully intact salmon system. But, you know, we do have this moment of reprieve but those same forces, whether it's pebble or some other guys manifestation of it. If we're to succeed in a real convergence, what are we to do when those wolves come back howling at the door of a place like Bristol Bay, or when people like the likes of Tom Collier, who was the CEO of Pebble and folks in China now say the same thing, you had your chance at the brass ring, the chance to have it all in a sort of, you know, capitalistic sense in a self centered sense. And now we're taking ours how if there's a convergence happening among people wanting to live a better way? How do we defend ourselves against those forces that are going to continually come knocking, as you point out in the heart of the monster?David James Duncan  55:56  Yeah, the the scale of the destruction of which someone like the pebble CEO are capable, can easily kind of overwhelm our thinking, and it's good to ground yourself. In simple statements like Mother Teresa's saying we can do we can do no great things, only small things with great love. And along with that statement, if you're talking about contemplative grounding, and if you read a lot of wisdom, that I've recently read dhammapada, one of the Pali Canon scriptures, it's all the Buddha's words. And he advises us mark to keep our, to keep our practices together. And to, to share the company of people who, who are doing the same. And to care for each other. And to do things, I mean, many people have said, What good is a constant fight to defend nature if you never feed yourself on what you're fighting to defend? And? Yeah, I think we, I think we have to be wary, talking about the dichotomy, you know, the solo Western hero, we have to be wary of that in ourselves and in our activism, too. We don't, we aren't going to accomplish anything without huge murmuration of us gathering to defend. And so I just think, again, of the way starlings are looking at six or eight birds, that they're just literally almost woven into making the same movements, split split split seconds apart. And that's how the whole thing harmonizes and doesn't crash. And to go totally a big picture, looking at the size of China and the depths of its ignorance and the ruthlessness of its methods which were preceded by the ruthlessness of all European colonial countries against the rest of the world. It's too much, it's too much to think about, I don't think it's helpful. One of the things I need in my heart to be effective is, is a little hope, and a lot of love. And as often as I can find it, that state of wonder, so I would, I would not spend too much time having done it myself when we face down Phelps dodge trying to put a cyanide heap Leach goldmine on the Blackfoot, on Norman Maclean's river, and the size and power of that enemy. And it just reached a point where we each did what we could and suddenly amassed a center of gravity that caused the scales of justice to come down heavily on our side, and those incredibly powerful sentence is went home. And it's really the migrate frustration with what you face. I can't believe we still have the 1872 mining law. Right, which was created to bring settlers West, you know, so we could Yeah, it was just it's just so incredibly outmoded that it's now being used to benefit completely cynical piles of money called corporations, and has nothing to do with the reason it was written. But our government won't touch it because we're a corporate run.Mark Titus  59:56  Well, on the other side, I have that I wanted to wind this down with a little piece a little summary that you gave me about The River Why, which was my first great love of your work and it all of your work has awakened me in various ways and introduced me to and become aware of loves. I didn't know were possible. But you said this about the river why recently and I, I thought it was something new for me. And I think it's a great way to kind of bookend what we're talking about here today. You said in the in the book. I also like it that she was hooked. She you're referring to Eddie the protagonists girlfriend in the Gus his girlfriend in the book. I also like it that Edie was hooked by a woman on a line so light that after the woman handed the archaic sapling rod and belly reel to former aspiring white hero Gus, he feels the hunter prey paradigm dissolve like blood and water. And only unadulterated love sustains the connection between him and this astounding creature, this wild salmon he's connected to in this scene, the fly the fishing hero of virtually all hooked and bullet literature. And Ernest Hemingway to ceases to be a fisherman at all his heroism is in his self effacement and total adoration of the most Christ like wild creature in nature, the great self sacrificer wild salmon that to me, brings us around full circle to this this love that we share for this wild creature that gives of itself so that life itself can continue and also little acts that you were just talking about do little acts with great love. So with that in mind, kind of a little rapid fire thing here for you want to put your paint a picture for you here. Now, don't get to PTSD on me here. I know you've dealt with fires in your region. But if you can imagine if your if your house was on fire, you obviously get your loved ones out first, but in addition to them what's the one physical thing you save from that fire?David James Duncan  1:02:27  Well, when Adrian and I face to fire it came closest taken our house came within a quarter mile, burnt 80,000 acres in straight line to us and just miraculously, we went from strong prevailing winds sending it right to us the wind turned around and it went the other way and burned back on itself. She was preparing for a show in Seattle, and was working incredibly difficult conditions doing work with wax and caustic having to wear a respirator in extreme heat in our studio, adding the heat of the material. And we were evacuating each sculpture as she finished it at the same time while the same time I had evacuated. I've worked on a lot of different much simpler all simple all simple books compared to the one I'm just finishing which I will never try to do anything like this again. I evacuated the simple books. So they were in a safe place. But it I mean really the first thing we took care of all our animals including the chickens were evacuated certain little, you know, family treasures, but, each other I mean, yeah, people. Yeah, Pete the ones we love, man that's and making sure as best you can. Your neighbors are okay, then so moved. By the way, when we've had two bad fires. Friends, I hadn't even called or appear in the driveway asking what they can help us move or helping me cut pine trees that were getting too big and creating fuel load too close to our house or you know, all kinds of different. Really, I've been more the recipient of the kind of question you asked me I've been more the recipient than the giver of that because the fires have been so daunting. That could have easily had an event. Like, like Barry Lopez had the end of his life losing his Grove, Mackenzie and his archive. Yeah, lifetime of beautiful journals. Nobody kept a better journal and burying they burned right toward the end.Mark Titus  1:04:54  Well, that's that's the spoiler is that that's my answer to it. I've got my journals is the one thing i would i would i would pull out. But let's not call it your spiritual house is on fire. Or it could be what are the two most important things about your life, your spiritual house that you you take with you could be part of your practice?David James Duncan  1:05:24  Well, I would I would take I mean, I'm a penultimate pessimist. But I'm an ultimate optimist, because there's this thing that makes us alive called the soul that way wiser people than you and I say, is indestructible. So there's something in us that's indestructible, and the stance I have toward having powerfully sense that so that I have faith in that truth is gratitude. And I would try to evacuate my gratitude along with me, wherever life takes me. I want to take the thank you with me or a friend Eckhart. The only prayer you ever say is the word Thank you isn't nothing. Yep.Mark Titus  1:06:21  I heard in the rooms of recovery to the three most important prayers are Help, Wow, and Thank You. Lastly, if there's one thing you'd leave behind in this purifying and potentially destructive fire, what would that be?David James Duncan  1:06:48  Oh, I could leave. I don't even know where they are. Every I call it honorific. hoo ha. When you win awards. You know, my college diploma means nothing to me. Anything that, you know, like a good shrink might put on the wall in their office. I don't have anything like that. So, you know, it is honorific. Ooh, hi, wood shed. And also, I think the honorific hoo ha that lives in my ego. Yeah, I would, anytime the situation makes that beastly little creature that is sheer illusion, when we have the moments that are deepest. Anything we can do to diminish the egos. It's a good move.Mark Titus  1:07:41  So yeah, that an honorific who ha,David James Duncan  1:07:44  yeah, those are the things.Mark Titus  1:07:45  I will take that along with me. Well, my friend, I'm so grateful for this time with you, David, James Duncan, author of the river wide brothers K, my story is told by water and the upcoming forthcoming Sun House, how can folks follow along and find out when they're going to be able to get their hands on this book and follow the work that you do?David James Duncan  1:08:12  That information will be emerging in the next few months? But it's some of it. I mean, the important details aren't yet determined, because those are conversations that my editor and I will be having soon, but haven't had yet. And if I were any good at prognostication, I would guess that it will be sometime in 2022 that the book will emerge because it is a fat one and will, will require a lot of thought in editing, copy editing, Little Browns, a great publisher, so yeah, sometime in summer, fall 2022 is my best guess. But I, I will be putting material on my website. And I'm now speaking openly about this book. It's caused a lot of people to think I must have croaked about 10 years ago.Mark Titus  1:09:03  Oh my god. Well, we have faith in 2022 is shaping up to be a hell of a year with hope and but for 2021, let's stay in touch. And if people want to go to your website, what's the URL to go to?David James Duncan  1:09:16  It's you know, it's it's just But it's it's really in a total disrepair the whole time. I've been working on sun house, I haven't given it the time of day. And I'll be doing an update in a couple months. So this this kind of question that's just frustrating in an interview like this, you're at this audience and I'm saying, hey, wait, just wait a minute. I'm not quite ready. Wait.Mark Titus  1:09:41  That's cool. I i had i God, dude, I've had that happen a million times. Like I'm the websites under construction. So yeah, we'll we'll put we'll put in the show notes too. You know, they can people can always get information from us as well. Obviously. I'll post it. Any kind of notes that Coming up when they are so until next we meet. Thanks for the time, David and best of luck in Montana. And here's to the convergence.David James Duncan  1:10:11  Yes, Here's to the murmuration of humans.Mark Titus  1:10:15  Indeed. Till next time.Mark Titus  1:10:17  Thanks, Mark.Whiskey Class  1:10:19  "How do you save what you love? How do you save what you love?"Mark Titus  1:10:34  Thank you for listening to Save What You Love. If you like what you're hearing, you can help keep these conversations coming your way by giving us a rating on Apple Podcasts. You can check out photos and links from this episode at While there you can join our growing community. By subscribing to our newsletter, you'll get exclusive offers on wild salmon shipped to your door, and notifications about upcoming guests and more great content on the way that's at That's the word save spelled backwards wild dot com.Mark Titus  1:11:07  This episode was produced by Tyler White and edited by Patrick Troll. Original music was created by Whiskey Class. This podcast is a collaboration between Eva's Wild Stories and Salmon Nation and was recorded on the homelands of the Duwamish People. We'd like to recognize these lands and waters and their significance for the peoples who lived and continued to live in this region, whose practices and spiritualities were and are tied to the land and the water and whose lives continue to enrich and develop in relationship to the land waters and other inhabitants today.
Check out Apay'uq Moore and her art:⁣⁣ Follow on instagram: @apayuq⁣⁣ View and purchase Apayuq art at⁣⁣ Our Agreement Painting⁣⁣ ⁣Other topics discussed:⁣Stop Pebble Mine for more information on Pebble⁣⁣⁣⁣Save What You Love with Mark Titus:⁣⁣Produced: Tyler White⁣⁣Edited: Patrick Troll⁣⁣Music: Whiskey Class⁣⁣⁣⁣Transcript:⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus  ⁣⁣Welcome to save what you love. I'm Mark Titus. It's my privilege to welcome my friend Apay'uq Moore the podcast today. Apay'uq is a Yup'ik artists from Bristol Bay. Painting is her primary art. She is inspired by the outdoors and the indigenous ways of life in her homeland. She works to communicate the best parts of her culture and advance the understanding of indigenous values as it relates to the current world. Apay'uk lives in rural Alaska with her two children, where she draws inspiration from her cultural way of life in Bristol Bay. And the dialogue she gains through indigenous gatherings and storytelling. Now without further delay, welcome Apay'uq, I'm grateful you're here.⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore  ⁣⁣Well, hello.⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus ⁣⁣Well, hello. And where are you joining us from today?⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore ⁣⁣I am calling in from the Dillingham Alaska Boat Harbor.⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus⁣⁣That is awesome. I know exactly where you're calling from paint a little picture for us if you would.⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore⁣⁣Yes. So I'm sitting here and I am watching the icebergs kind of like the tide is coming in right now. So the icebergs are flowing in towards the Nushagak and Wood River. And I see Nushagak point across the way and some ducks are flying over the iceberg filled bay. little flock of maybe 10 ducks there. And the bluffs are kind of this wintery blue and gray and brown in the distance towards Kanakanak. Yeah, it's a really cold nine degree day here.⁣⁣⁣⁣It's like you're an artist or something, the way you describe these things. And just so y'all know, Bristol Bay is out of ways. If you are looking at Anchorage. And here's a handy little thing if you make like a gun shape with your hand, you turn it upside down. And this is like the shape of the state of Alaska, Anchorage is up here. And then Bristol Bay is clear down here. So it's 330 miles away from Anchorage. There's no roads in or out. You either fly in or you boat in. And so it's a very unique place and abayas, you're right in the middle of it right now. That's pretty cool. And it's pretty cool to that we can actually after trying few times have this conversation through the miracle of modern science here. And, you know, I have so much I want to dig in with you. But first, I would just love to hear from you. Your story and how you came to love the things that means so much to you.⁣⁣⁣⁣A little bit more on my story, like, Ooh, that's so broad. Let's see. I was born May 13. On a lovely spring Mother's Day. What are you wanting?⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus  ⁣⁣Yeah. Just, you know, origin story coming from Bristol Bay. What were your big influences and kind of, you know, kind of the bio on how we got to where we are now.⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore  ⁣⁣All right. Well, I grew up it's so funny talking to you since we know each other, right? Like, let me pretend that I don't know Mark. Well, I grew up doing kind of the typical Bristol Bay childhood, we commercial fished. I thought it was normal for all children to have parents and grandparents that were in the commercial fishing industry. So by the time I got to college, when people would ask what my parents did for a living, and I'd say that my dad was a commercial fisherman, and they looked at me sort of puzzled, I'd be like, what? Isn't that what you guys do here in Washington to there's fish here, right? Like your dad's fish, right? No, what do you mean like with a rod and reel? Yes, we grew up grew up in that kind of setting where the commercial fishing boat was our means of income or livelihood from my dad. But I remember some of my greatest summers where we had taken the boat or this one summer in particular, my dad took the boat all the way up to Lake Aleknagik, and we anchored out from one of these little bays, and we vacation there for a week and some of his friends went up and anchored their boat. So it was like several families. And we we basically camped in the boat, and then we're able to swim to the beach in the morning with their big inner tubes. And, I mean, so the commercial fishing boat was like our central, the center of our lives, you know, for everything good. All the transportation like it's so weird now that I've had some life experience. And looking back at how unique that was for us, or is still for us to have these lengthy amount of times that we spend on these 32 foot drift fishing boats. That's cool. So yeah, high school all the way through in Dillingham I would spend some summers when I was in elementary school in twin hills where my mom's family's from, and I would go back and visit every now and then. So we had kind of that very cultural Yup'ik lifestyle. There were my grandparents were, and my aunts and uncles, were all fluent in Yup'ik. And it's hard to explain the things that I just thought were normal. That took a while for me to have these epiphanies as an adult or young adult and suddenly have this slap in the face. The rest of the world doesn't harvest a moose every year, people aren't constantly talking about what the tide is doing. People don't look at the weather every single day or check out the forecast it so it was this very, you don't appreciate what you have until you leave. And so it took definitely going to college and trying to relate to other people and finding that it was a little bit difficult to find that common ground because we are so different here. It's like living in another little country.⁣⁣⁣⁣And by the time Pebble kind of popped up in my later years for college, it just seemed evident, like I was homesick. I was feeling like I didn't have very much purpose in the cities that I was in. I bounced around from Seattle, and the Washington area. And then I went into Missouri and went to Columbia, Missouri. And then I was finishing up in Fort Lewis. And through the lectures and everything. I just felt like I didn't quite belong. And Pebble came. And it just made me very territorial, I guess, and suddenly realize all of the great things that we had at home. And I was just getting into like, you know, that Colorado area's very adventure education oriented, and lots of biking, hiking, climbing, there's just very active people there. And it opened my eyes to what kind of possibilities do we have in Bristol Bay, and we have so much of this crazy opportunity for adventure. And I was just I was pretty inspired by that active community to come home and revisit our communities and with a different mindset not so much. Oh, I'm from this tiny little rural town and it sucks being home and everything's the same to this more expanded thought of Wow, we live in one of the most amazing places on the planet. This is so cool. And it gave me pride and yeah, I came back with just like a new outlook on where I came from.⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus ⁣⁣I there's so much I want to unpack there, but the I think it's gonna dovetail nicely into the rest of the questions here. But I just wanted to also touch base on that sense of home that sense of place. I certainly feel that in Alaska. You know, I spent my college summers working up there with in Bristol Bay, and right down the road from where you live. And but recently here, even in Washington State, I've been seeing all of these incredible places that are nearby, out in the mountains and on the river. And that are this incredible sense of place and sense of home. And it brings a lot of wellness. And it brings a lot of sense of identity. So I totally jive with what you're saying. And just to be clear for folks, you referred to Pebble, we're gonna get into that in a minute. But what I think you're referring to is the proposed Pebble Mine, which has been a large bit of interest and news and controversy in Bristol Bay for 20 years now or so. So we're gonna get into that.⁣⁣⁣⁣This summer, you wrote an article in First Alaskans magazine. It was beautiful. I was telling you earlier today, you're a really beautiful writer. And you made a very kind mention of our collaboration on my film, The Wild about the proposed Pebble Mine and Bristol Bay. And thank you for that. I'm going to read just a little bit from your work that you wrote in this article. You said, "What is that feeling? When we step into clear view and see a vista so beautiful, it seems unreal and out of this world. The thing is, it can't be quantified into a single feeling. The feeling is the abundance of feelings. To what extent would we go to make sure this abundance of feelings is preserved and shared with as many humans as possible for the betterment of life on Earth? In this case, in The Wild, Mark is referring to roughly 27 point 5 million acres of feelings that make up the Bristol Bay region and Alaska. More specifically, the 12 point 5 million acres of feeling set aside for development by the Bureau of Land Management known as the Bristol Bay Area management plan. Even more specifically, it's the 98,000 acres of feelings that have been proposed for development of the largest open pit gold and copper mine in the entire world, known globally as Pebble Mine. So some of you may have not heard about the pebble Pebble Mine. So Apay'uq, can you tell us about what it is and what it could potentially mean, for Bristol Bay, if this project was constructed there? ⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore  ⁣⁣Yeah, I'm definitely not a mining expert, or anything like that. But from the public from  what I call myself from just a person who is living here, who is trying to take in and understand what this kind of technical project really is. It is potentially the largest open pit gold and copper mine in the entire world. And the reason why it is so scary, is because if there were any sort of dam breach, because it would have the largest, you know, along with being the largest open pit mine, it would also come with the largest dam that would be hold, holding back, whatever amount of tailings and tailings is the toxic waste that they're using to extract the precious metals or whatever. Again, I'm not a specialist. So you could look, look up the technical info, but it's basically poison would be coming down our rivers, if anything happened to that dam. And that comes with poisoning all that lives within the water, and that uses the water. And for us, that's just this incredible universe of beings, including us, from the fish, the moose, the plants, you know, we're trying to live in this kind of magical world here. And I'd say, for from the adults standpoint, we really need to take the accountability to live in, in these sort of emotional realms and bring that back into our daily practice for life. Because it brings us to another place of compassion and takes us off the paper also, just like we can't always live by the herd. We can't, some people will, we shouldn't have my opinion, we shouldn't be living by these standards on paper and on just what the entire what our government is built off of in building these economies that are so exact to whatever these words are. And that's not real life. There's always needing, like, we always need to compromise and we're always needing to adjust to whatever things that we didn't account for coming up. And this mine is exactly that. Like, on paper. It looks like it's going to be a great perfect project. But that's marketing. You know, that's that's how businesses succeed. They have excellent marketing plans and they have that. So, you know, it risks a lot, including the spiritual realm that we've just overlooked as the human population living in capitalism, in my opinionated opinion.⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus  ⁣⁣Yeah, you know, we'll we'll link to some technical specs, and some deep dives into what the project entails on the show notes on on the podcast website. But, you know, one of the things you touched on earlier is everything that's living in this system, including us. But of course, Bristol Bay is particularly known for one creature besides humans, and that's wild salmon.⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore  ⁣⁣I could, I could argue, I don't think people know about the humans that are here.⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus   ⁣⁣You might be right. That's, that's part of our, our journey. And our, our task is to shed a light on this part of the world that, you know, like we opened up with today, you are way up in this place where there's literally icebergs coming by your car right now. And that's hard for most people to get their brains around. But I think everybody anywhere in America, or anywhere in the world really can identify with place and identify with things that are sacred in that place. So, you know, one of those things clearly is the wild salmon that return to Bristol Bay and have from time immemorial, in the 10s of millions every year, which is just, that's a big number. It's like you're saying on paper, that means one thing, but when you see it, and you feel it, and you eat it, and you take it into you, it's an entirely different thing. And so I'd love to talk to you for a little bit here about the sanctity of food. And and, again, quote from your article, and you mentioned this, "while we were locked down contemplating our options, and reevaluating what we can and can't live without, we see that food will always be the most valuable resource for the majority of people in the lower income brackets of America. How do we win this fight to save what we love? We do it by coming to terms with the destruction for which we are responsible, and being accountable for the results of our thoughtlessness. We find unity in the ways we are all connected so we can understand what the world has to lose by recklessly developing the incredible 98,000 acres of feelings that are gained through experiencing Bristol Bay. We save what we love by sharing what we have and the trickling effect of gratitude and sustainable benefits that spread throughout the world by valuing life and food over money". So I put to you, how do you perceive the sanctity of food and a regenerative food source from where you sit?⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore ⁣⁣What would be the literal definition of sanctity?⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus  ⁣⁣The sacredness.⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore  ⁣⁣The sacredness. Ah, okay, repeat that question.⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus  ⁣⁣Sure. How do you perceive the sanctity or the sacredness of food, and a regenerative food source one that can make itself forever from where you sit.⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore  ⁣⁣And think from the global waste perspective, and seeing how easy it is to throw a half of a sandwich away when you don't know where that food comes from. And you don't understand the process that it took to actually get that bread to your table. It just and the global crisis that we've been in, because we are wasting so much food, you know, the 1000s of acres of lands that we're destroying, to make this overabundance of food just to waste it. And that's kind of what the culture of America is sort of come to. But here in Bristol Bay, because in we're so remote, we have been able to keep intact a lot of these basic things that our ancestors are these practices that our ancestors have had for 1000s of years. And because we can easily and affordably get food to our grocery stores, then it's necessity that we go out and continue practicing these ways of life. And in doing that, when we're going out, we're connecting spiritually with the land. And we understand that there's so much more to it than just a plastic bag with things that we put in our mouths and spit out the other end. There's just an entirely magnificent, you know, a universe within our universe within our world. Like we're just living in a place that we don't have control over that you have to think critically with you have to adapt. You can't play the victim. If suddenly you're down on your luck in the middle of nowhere and you know, you step into a hole that covers your boot and you're just needing to pull your book Out of the muck, all of those experiences seem like they're not related to the food. But by the time you're putting it in your mouth, and you're processing it with your family, all of these memories and everything, go to the gratitude and your willingness to not waste. If you cook something and it doesn't turn out exactly right, and you, you're the one with your own hands and your own family, cut an entire quarter of a moose that was gifted to you, you know, what kind of work goes into one, the airplane ride that that, you know, for me the last several years, the way that I've gotten moose is one of the guiding outfits. Some of their guides don't always want all of their meat. And so they'll say, hey, there's some stuff that is here for donations. And so I've gotten an entire quarter of moose. So I haven't gone out and hunted my own moose and done that, but I've gone to pick up an entire quarter. And so me and my two kids by ourselves, are learning how to cut, you know, with the lines of the meat and take all of the meat off of the bones. And that's no small process, you know, it's hours and hours when you have right now my kids are nine and six. But we've been doing this since they were like four, four, and six. And so they're helping me like cut little things. And those precious moments just make everything so much more tastier.⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus ⁣⁣I love some of those precious moments that you you generously share with us on your Instagram. It's remarkable seeing those kids do these things that, you know, have typically been reserved for adults, and not most of us have even done that. So it's really cool to see.⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore⁣⁣Well, and it's been really fun. So for food waste, like, of course leftovers in our culture. As far as like the United States, States in general, people are always so stoked on leftovers. But for me, it isn't so much like that entitlement of: Do I have the choice, we don't have the choice to feel entitled that we're going to throw away our leftovers from yesterday. So we bring it in. And I try to use stories with the kids or this sort of magical land and realm because they're in that sweet age, where it's like, oh, can you believe that this moose was walking through, like whatever the walking down the Nushagak River or this was way up in Fifth Lake or like, what a what a what a journey this moose has been on before it came to our plates, and now we're putting it to our mouth, it was, you know, so combatting and having that mental toughness to realize when we're feeling entitled, and what the right thing to do is, even in our daily life with things as simple as the foods that we're eating.⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus⁣⁣That is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. And Wenche and I my wife and I have been watching this show Alone on of course on Netflix, while we're all COVID out here, but basically they plop 10 people in a wilderness setting and they've got to find food and fire and make themselves you know, the last person standing wins type of scenario. And it's, it's, of course, you know, wonderfully addictive, but it also makes you really keenly aware through these folks documenting themselves about what it takes to actually put energy into your body calories into your body like, and the things that we take for granted that just like you say, a pure wrapped in a wrapper somehow, you know, there's a process that brought that ham sandwich onto your desk, and they're, you know, whether it's the the farmers milling the wheat to make the bread or the, the ranchers, you know, raising the animals and then shipping it off to market. I mean, if you were to give somebody from the lower 48 a little perspective on that, from your place where you are now, how can you help us get our brains around? Again, that sanctity or that, you know, sacredness of food? When it seems so easy to get?⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore⁣⁣I you know, I'm reading this. I'm reading that book on audio booking it, Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins. Do you know what I'm talking about?⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus⁣⁣I don't, but I'm certainly curious.⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore ⁣⁣He's like a navy seal. And so it's about mental toughness. And I've related to a lot of it through my own upbringing, because when you're living in rural Alaska, they're just like these very tough things. Life is just hard emotionally, like we're coming straight out of colonialism. We're still in it. And so the, you know, the abuses that have been done to our people, our grandparents, those things have still are still too soon in our history. to really talk about openly all the time, so my grandparents, I don't know a ton about their childhoods, just because they were so traumatized in some sense that they weren't able to just openly talk about everything. And things are coming out, like my kids will probably know more about their great grandparents than I knew about my grandparents, because it needs those generations to put the buffer between that craziness. And so with the mental toughness that goes to these, these practices, like we need, one of the concepts that he kind of has in there is he's talking about callusing our minds. And sometimes it seems a little bit harsh, but I found that I have just gotten through life and so many things, I've been able to find the positive twist in a lot of scenarios, because you have to just know, it is what it is like that is hard. And that is raw, and that is very uncomfortable. But that is what it is. So let's move on. And with practicing stuff, as simple as not wasting food, that there's like self revelation that you need to find in there to take accountability. Like, is it okay? Is it really okay for me to waste this food? Is it okay for me to be picky? Those are things that are there more internal. And I don't know how to, like fully get it across, or to even inspire people to want to not waste, to want to use everything that they have. But to realize that everything that we're doing in this day and age because we have allowed so many of us to survive, impacts things in such great ways. Because it's not just one like I just I like to think of myself as I'm one person. And I'm not something special. There are so many people that are like me living similar. Similarly. And so when I buy a bottle drink from the grocery store times that by what how many people do we have on earth? Now it's insane.⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus ⁣⁣Seven and a half billion,⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore ⁣⁣7 and a half billion, and maybe not everyone is doing that. So let's cut that in half 350 billion, like, I don't know what the true statistics would be. But to amplify in that way, in your own mind, like, this isn't just one bottle that we're wasting This is so much more.⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus  ⁣⁣Yeah, I like that. And, and in terms of the mass of the volume. And then also, you know, going back to like, what, what it takes to actually bring this food from where it came from into your mouth onto your table. Like, the example you use with your kids is, you know, physically cutting the meat off that mousse and understanding what did it eat and what reverse is similar to come from the work that goes into that you're really eloquent about talking about the work. I know a lot of our our chef and restaurateur friends here in Seattle are so struck by, you know, again, where this food comes from, and taking it and cutting it and bring it in home and bring it into your body. And then like we have chef friends and restaurant tours here who are, you know, really struggling, there's a lot of folks struggling during COVID right now. And it is just, you know, especially being now in a business where we're selling salmon and bringing it to market, it takes a ton. It takes a lot of energy, it takes a lot of people. And so to your point of thinking about this food waste idea, it's just it's almost unthinkable, you know, to waste that food and all of that energy and all those humans that that and and care took to bring it to your plate, not to mention the sacred life of the animal or the plant itself. That is you what you're consuming so⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore ⁣⁣The amount of land it takes to make all of this food, whether it looks like it's something that came from the land or not. It has still taken like this considerable amount of land to me, like in the land is something that we've just kind of objectify into this thing that doesn't really matter. It's just the things that we could see that are moving. But basically like we need to remember those small basic things that this land is what's feeding these things that are coming to us to our plates. And if that land isn't healthy, then we sure as hell isn't going to be.⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus ⁣⁣I'm with you. And it's a great segue, I think into the next topic I wanted to get into with you, which is the evolution of your art. We have links to your work in the show notes for the podcast here, and do yourself a treat, and check Apay'uq's work. It's amazing. I don't know what I'm more struck with the human and the personal constructs that you create, or the landscapes I was first come, I came to be aware of your art, coming to Dillingham and seeing it on the walls of buildings, on the exterior walls of buildings in town. And I was immediately struck with this really potent sense of place and belonging and authenticity. And it's gorgeous. And it made me feel like I was home and alive and energized. And your palette is bright and gorgeous. But the piece that really brought it all together for me was our agreement, which we'll talk in more depth about in just a minute. But what what has the evolution of your work been like? And what is turning on the lights for you creatively right now, what's really sparking your imagination?⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore⁣⁣Well, I'd say originally, like what got me what got my career launched into the possibility of being a successful artist was definitely my inspiration to love where I came from, and to kind of depict local imagery of this stuff that we're trying to protect. So I was in college and was absolutely inspired with the deepest homesickness I've ever had by hearing about what was happening with Pebble. And so in my last art class, my instruct my instructor was kind enough to let me sort of, well, my logic behind it all was, I don't want to go to class every day and paint fruits and vegetables, when I am able to paint images that I come up with myself and sell them you're wasting my time.⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus ⁣⁣Does not surprise me.⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore ⁣⁣And I was in a rush, I needed to get out of college, like I just needed something out, I was I was, I'm always that entrepreneur and me just kind of likes that part of it, like feeling the extra fulfillment one by doing something that I want, and then being able to make income and get by with that. So anyway, so I painted one of my first prints or the first images that kind of got me out there into recognition, which was "Spawning Grounds". And it was a landscape with a beautiful sunset in the back in a creek and red salmon just swimming up and you could see the splash marks of the water. And that golden kind of our you know, when the sun is going down, and the greens are just really bright green in the summer. So that that was the start, like all of my inspiration for the salmon through the possibility of it all disappearing with the threat of Pebble Mine. And then it evolving to once I moved home, kind of seeing that there was artwork being used by other phenomenal artists, but they weren't necessarily from Bristol Bay. And they weren't exuding that power that I felt the inspiration that I felt from having an entire lifetime of experiences here. They weren't depicting the people in the way that I felt true to who our people are. And it still felt to objectified like our people were just some tribe around, you know, wandering around Bristol Bay, and it was like No, our people and our customs and our way of being is we're not be who we were 100 years ago. So just focusing on that wasn't depicting what was really at risk, you know, romanticizing our culture into 100 years back, when here we are living culture in this day today, as people who can relate to everyone else, sharing photos on social media and finding these ways to connect. And I got support through that because I was a local artist who wanted to show local imagery, and there weren't a lot of people at the time who were doing that. And I really honed in on that that I wanted to. I went to the Fort Lewis Business School so my major was an art business so I was lucky enough to go through some of the marketing and kind of get that mentality of Well, how do you capture an audience? You have to sort of stick to one thing, you can't be bouncing around everywhere. And I said, Well, where is my one thing? What is? What is it that I'm trying to do as an artist, and I just wanted to share the best parts of who we are. And that was, that has been sort of my mantra throughout, just like what is the best parts of who we are, we don't always need to show our struggle, because there's so much that the mainstream world is missing. And then I go into having a first starting a family, and it evolved into something else where it was, whoa, I'm bringing one I know about the destruction of the planet, which is scary, humans are awful, we're just tearing this shit up. And now I'm going to bring a new human in to tear more stuff up, like what am I doing? And it just was a flood of emotions, and just like, well, how can I raise a good human? How can I start doing my part as a native person and passing on values to someone from the very start to her adulthood? What am I going to do? So you start implementing these different things, and then the inspiration is coming so differently, once you're caring for another being because that is like a whole other, you know, mental challenge for this, that phase in our lives when we become responsible for other people. So a lot more maybe maternal images came up through that and a lot more family images from the perspective of more what, as an adult, what are you seeing, in these situations of subsistence, and experiencing subsistence? What is that feel, and one of the greatest prides that you could take is when you see kids enjoying themselves, when there's families that are just like relishing the adrenaline rush of being in the unexpected, because you really cannot control everything is there yet you have a basic idea, the sun is out, the wind is going 10 miles an hour tide is coming in. But you can't anticipate like if your rope snaps? And then what kind of things are you going to be doing or if you were expecting 20 fish and end up with 100, you know, like that overwhelm. And then it's just the meaning to stay calm and make it a positive environment for your children and to the kids excitement because it almost seems like no matter what happens, even if it's kind of a scary situation, kids are just genuinely generally usually excited. Even in the face of danger. They're just like, wow! And then you have to control yourself because like, you don't want to traumatize them by hollering at them too much buy like, this is dangerous and crazy, just like Whoo, All right, guys, step back and just show your, you know, your best leadership skills that you are capable of showing and exhibiting in the face of struggle and the unexpected, and whatever. So my new work has kind of evolved into more of a general not just what is going on with Pebble Mine exclusively and what that is going to do to our regional people. But I'm more into like social justice, like Who are we as native people globally? Who what are our likenesses with the other indigenous people that are around our world? And how do we come together to sort of to share our love and our glory and like values in a modern context to inspire others to not just go along with you know, being this whitewashed group of humans on the planet but the diversity just there's like the nice things that we've learned with the Pebble stuff with the environment diversity is the key to a successful ecosystem. Right? And that includes us like we are animals and like just like them we need moose and salmon and wolves and bugs all to make like this little ecosystem healthy but we also need like the different kinds of animals that are within that right so like yeah, we need Yup'ik people we need Navajo people we need white people we need you know people from all over the world in all different races and cultures like the more diverse We are the more vibrant and amazing we could like be to make the world something that is not so traumatic.⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus    ⁣⁣I am hearing this sense of unity through throughout when you're speaking about this and it is a very zeitgeisty topic these days of unity and I think that there's a deep craving for it. I also have in I have also seen in the writing that you've done and listened to you speaking about all of us taking responsibility. And in the recovery world, we like to say, you know, it's not my fault. But it is my responsibility. And I think that that is a really I think that's a really intelligent way of looking at things, I think it's an empathetic way of looking at things, I think it's a realistic way of looking at things, that we all have a stake in this and it doesn't cast aspersions and, and blame and responsibility over there with some other group, it, it then brings it home to me where I'm sitting right now, kind of like locally with food or locally with politics or locally with the Pebble Mine, or locally with whatever it is down the street, if it's a fracking oufit, that's moving in on a family farm land, you know, you don't it, it brings it into sharper focus, and it makes it more real when it becomes your own thing at home. And, and it also doesn't just again, like put the onus on somebody else over there. It, it makes me as an individual to have to take a look at what my role is, in the world. how we've got here. And where do we go from here? Speaking of addiction and recovery, you and I both intimately know stories of addiction. I do certainly as as a person who is in recovery myself. And I know you've experienced it in your life too. In in The Wild in the movie, in our you know, the documentary that you are in and I did back in 2019. We try we try to draw the metaphor of addiction to what is at stake in Bristol Bay. Do you think that metaphor helps paint that picture? And if it does work, what do you say is the the next step forward in recovery for ourselves and for Bristol Bay.⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore ⁣⁣I've definitely my part in the addiction is more from like the top tough love side, I guess where I haven't been the addict. But I've had very personal people close people struggle. And I haven't ever been able to like fully understand that because I've sort of, I've become very hardened, I guess, against that kind of behavior, because I experienced it from such a very young age. And so seeing that it was hurtful and being a really sensitive child, and not wanting to ever feel that or see that or make other people feel what I was feeling. And so through through that it has made me very disciplined, where maybe I thrive more in, in hard situations, because of it. Like, if there's something difficult, I see that as like an opportunity to outdo my mind. And to get above it to avoid whatever the temptation is, or whatever the struggle is. And the temptation is usually always like kind of that victim mentality of why is this happening to me or some level of that, where I see like, well, this is happening, but it doesn't need to happen to me. And it is has been a very inspirational thing. And I like that challenge. So as far as addiction goes in our consumerism, the addiction to consumerism, and needing to open these minds, because we need to create more stuff for the consuming world. For me, it is another challenge, what can I live without, I am happy to live without so much if it means that we're not going to destroy this, this land these waters and these people like I don't want to, I don't want to support something that is going to cause more pain to an entire group of people that are living here who have successfully found purpose in life. And, you know, I'm also most of a single person exploring the online dating world during COVID. And a reoccurring topic that has kind of come up when I've had conversations with men is that they appreciate my sense of purpose, and that they have not had that opportunity. You know, maybe like men being from just the Midwest would be one recent example like in Missouri and they're just like, Oh, well, there's like lots of religion and farming and whatever, and you're just kind of in this life and you're going through but you don't necessarily have this deep meaningful purpose that you could actually change the world. And here in Bristol Bay, we definitely have that feeling. You know, our Fish are going everywhere, we have the largest wild salmon run in the entire world. And that's, that's something that's just, I don't know, like a, you can't even comprehend how special it is, unless you take time to think on it. It's so easy to say things, but to not realize what you're saying.⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus ⁣⁣Yeah, and, you know, I think one of the main tenants in the metaphor that comparison to addiction and where we are with Bristol Bay, where we are on the planet, you know, in our relationship with consuming things, resources, energy food, as you're saying, you know, as a person in recovery, and knowing this story, all too well, it's this age old, you know, saying that we say to ourselves, this time, this time, it'll be different. And with a place like Bristol Bay, that is the last fully intact wild salmon system on the planet. I don't think we have that luxury. And so yeah, I mean, we all use these things, right. And you're using them to talk to folks around the country, I'm using it right now to talk to you that it's used on commercial fishing boats, but up in Bristol Bay to harvest the salmon that we all enjoy and and need and sustain ourselves with. But to you know, what you're saying earlier? Like, how much do we need? And do I need another one of these phones every year? Do I need everybody in our family to have you know, all the latest and greatest of this? Can we explore recycling copper, which is the most malleable metal there is he retains its properties better than any other metal, we haven't really fully gone down that path and there is a supply of copper on this planet. And that doesn't need to be extracted from the headwaters of the most vibrant salmon run that we know of. So it's asking these questions like you're saying and ultimately coming down to, you know, can we afford to say this time, it'll be different? One more time, with a place like Bristol Bay?⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore⁣⁣Yeah, and I think that would, it's like taking the path of least resistance, right? The easiest thing for a capitalist country to do is to jump forward in these in these plans. And these operations, because that's what we do. We're a capitalist society, we generate income, we've built this system to see how far it could go. And we are, there we are, we have surpassed where it can go. And now it's a time to realize that the path of least resistance isn't always the right way to go. Or, more often, it's never the right way to go. Right. Like, if you can challenge yourself, to practice accountability and to find comfort in the discomfort, it is so much more rewarding. Because you're you're fighting for something that you're not quite aware of the potential of, you know,⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus⁣⁣Yes. And I think that you're really keying in on this, like, that idea of discomfort or inconvenience is anathema to, you know, the American, most of our kind of modern understanding of, Oh, I want a pizza and man I you know, it's it's way too difficult to go to the pizza store, go to the pizza restaurant. I want it right now. And I want it delivered immediately to my doorstep. And now, you know, everything is is coming online that way. So I think this is such an important conversation to be able to take a step back and take a look at where things come from, what it takes to actually get it to you and what do we actually need to sustain ourselves and to be happy in this life. In your work in your art, one of the I see magic, I see gorgeous landscapes. I see almost this ethereal sense of being inside of this world that you're creating. And I see a lot of joy in the people on the faces of the people that you paint inside of this landscape in this world that you live in and that you know, and if it's true that it you know, it costs a lot to bring energy into bring groceries out to that part of the world to where you live. And it's true that salmon make up a big part of your diet as do moose and caribou and traditional foods. And yet you've, you've got all this joy that you're painting, right? Where does that come from?⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore ⁣⁣It's such a cool experience to be part of the world. Like we're truly a part of the world where another wild animal within the world, and we're trying to master and survive, like whatever these systems are that we're navigating ourselves through. You know, and I think that one of the most important things through all of this is how, how do we, you know, if we're trying to go for like, what, what are how do we save what we love, like that kind of mentality with all of this and addiction. The key part, what, from what my experience has been now as a mom is starting with our youth, and letting our kids know from the because by the time we're adults, it's so hard to change our habits, it's such a tough thing to do. But it's definitely a lot easier to see in other people what they're lacking. So as a parent, your children are just forming. And so it's a lot easier to have this list of practices that we must continue on as native people. And my kids, I might, the path, again, like the path of least resistance is not my route for parenting. I am struggling the whole time, and I have judgment, and people sort of ridiculing my outlandish ways. But I'm seeing progress, and it is so fulfilling. My kids want presents for Christmas, I say that hurts Mother Earth, we're not doing that I'm not gonna go crazy. And by you all of this stuff, all of that packaging all of your dolls made out of plastic, like oil, all of that stuff is extraction, like that hurts Mother Earth, and there, oh, well, I'll ask grandma. And so the next thing is like trying to get her to change, right. And so the next thing is trying to get the adults on board to understand that it's up to us to hold our kids accountable to what this new world is going to look like in the next 20 years. And although my kids are, you know, trying to jump me, they at least hear it and I tried to practice it, like I definitely buy them gifts. But that is with great guilt and shame that I do that. That's my weakness. And I definitely buy a lot less gifts and things for my kids that I know that other parents do. But it's still I know better. And I should hold myself accountable to these addictions. And to say, when is enough enough, like 10 years, 20 years ago, enough was enough, like we are way past Enough is enough. And we really need to be hard asses on herself and say, let's get our shit together. So our kids aren't living in a freaking dump. I mean,⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus ⁣⁣You are, as usual, we're riding the same wave. And I was just gonna go into this, this bit here with you. And you, you kind of beat me to it. It's sorry. No, it's fantastic. It's It's It's a natural confluence of waters here. And that this is exactly what I wanted to talk about was was your kids and "Our Agreement" and go back in going back to your article that you wrote, and you wrote, "this period of time will be the college Master's projects for futures, future generations, it will become a guide to social justice, and establish the prioritization of indigenous life ways as a critical piece for the success of modern society. So this too, is part of the feelings that are included in the millions of acres of emotion that we have as Alaskans, by being a part of this epic land, have we lived if our children haven't tasted the hard work of gathering food, have we lived yet, if we haven't passed on the knowledge of how to gather wild food and talk to the wild animals, as our ancestors have for millennia, this world in which we live is magical, in a way we must feel to understand". So in your painting, that's what I got out of "Our Agreement". And you can check out the painting "Our Agreement" up in our show notes on the website. But can you describe what your painting, "Our Agreement" looks like? And why why did you paint it?⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore⁣⁣I painted it when I was pregnant, it was sort of that whole epiphany that I was bringing another wasteful being to the world. So finding that Doom but I also thrive again, like I must put things down and comfortably for me to have a revelation that I can twist into something positive. So I need to be real with myself that humans are wasteful creatures, and bringing or are contributing to the population issues that we are having on the globe. Like I am a part of that also and by choosing to bring new life in like I must fully understand what I am taking on, which is a considerable amount of waste and garbage. And first destruction from the perspective of an indigenous person, right? Like our lifestyle trying to merge into US society is completely against what we have been raised to believe for 1000s of years that material possessions are not worth people. And so with painting this it was first all of the doom and gloom of Pebble and population and wastefulness. And then to twist it into like, well, I'm already here and this child is growing within me, how do I make the best of it. And it was like, we need to make an agreement with our future generations that they are going to be the caretakers of our lands, and our animals are going to be the voice of all beings. And they're going to find that creativity and imagination to tap into like our ancestors did, because it's not. It seems that Western, the Western world really looks down on imagination as ignorance. And when people talk in metaphor, and these worlds, these other worlds within our world, they don't realize that it's I was like this, this religion type stuff that they're talking about. But religion, as far as like Christianity, they do such a good job of grounding it more to like this humanly level, well, as native people like, we also include our animals and the environment and everything like that. And unless we could kind of bring that magic. Like it, there has to be like a different word than magic, just like these mystical wonders of the universe. They're there, whether it's through our religions, and as Christians, or our spiritual beliefs as Native People needing to bring myself in that vulnerability out there, because people will shame you as an adult, if you're like, I speak to the wind. That's not a literal thing. You know, it's not, Americans just want to make everything so literal, I am speaking to the wind. But that's also just like putting this feeling out there and opening your energy and magic and, like, we need that to thrive. And so the painting our agreement, again, kind of goes into putting the positive twist into what I was doing, as a mom and making an agreement with the environment and the fish and letting my child in me know that they have responsibility coming into this earth, like, and that's our agreement. With the fish and the fishes making the handshake like, you know, Native People, we do a lot of handshakes, it's not, we're just coming into the world of paperwork and notarizing things, there was a lot of verbal agreements, then. So are verbal agreements with the salmon. In the salmon with us, I will nourish your future generations as long as you protect mine. So as long as these the lands and waters that these fish are living in and recreating are protected and pristine for them to properly, make new generations, then in turn, or in theory, our children will be fed another year, another generation another, you know, 100 years, like we're, there was a lot in it.⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus ⁣⁣I know it's rewarding, and but it's also not easy to raise your kids off grid and teach them about traditional food and teachings and art and the land. Why do you do it? Why is it worth it?⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore ⁣⁣Cuz it's hard as F haha. it's so hard and I do absolutely love a challenge like my entire life has just, life is not easy for anybody. As a Native Person, like we're from rural Alaska, get my heart rate down a little bit. We can watch these icebergs, meditate. Get me back?⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus⁣⁣I'm so with you. Right, right now I'm seeing it. I've actually seen it up there. You're doing great. I think it's important stuff.⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore⁣⁣Just want to word it in a calm, calm tone. Yeah, thank goodness for editing.⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus⁣⁣Oh, yes. I've been listening to myself, there's gonna be plenty of editing involved in this. So, why do you think it's worth it?⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore ⁣⁣just needed a good swallow? Sure. Um, yeah, life is just not an easy journey for anyone, there's always no matter what your base level is, you know, there, it's hard for everyone on some level like whether or not you have privilege or like, it doesn't matter what the relativity, relativity to the hardness is. It's it's just a complicated journey that we're all on.⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus⁣⁣It is.⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore⁣⁣This one would be easier to get through with just texting it to you. I think, oh, look it! A mask! Also it does really well as a handkercheif. Thank you COVID.⁣⁣⁣⁣There's just yeah, there's the challenge of... getting through it. And I it's hard to voice that I think from this land position and talking about political things, because our people are still going through colonization. And this exact subject, this development project is a prime example for modern day genocide. And whether you put it to like an extreme, you know, there's very... non emotional people who just say, "but how does that even work?" but from the artists perspective of like, metaphorically speaking, like, these are legal ways of taking out Native People and native beliefs by offering them and shaming them for holding on to this emotional way of living, because our, our way of life has so much emotion. And I think that was one of the biggest or hardest parts of working, working in. In fighting against Pebble for the nonprofit named Nunamta Aulukestai, Caretakers Of Our Land, which has now been sorted that realm is now maybe the equivalent to like, what you UTBB is now, United Tribes of Bristol Bay. But people would, we'd go to testimony and they'd be like, you're too emotional. That's not science. You can't, you can't use that as your reason for not wanting this here are the figures, this amount of dollars, this amount of like fish, this percent of impact this chance of of a dam failure. When we're saying emotionally, any chance of a dam failure is too much for us. So choosing raise kids, and the challenge that it brings is my way out of colonialism. You know, at the time it's not like I thought like, how do I help our people get out of colonialism, that's just like an entire subject that I'm learning about in adulthood. It wasn't like we were taught that in school, right? We all know that Christopher Christopher Columbus is a hero haha. Um, so bringing kids into it. Now like along with, you know, hindsight and bringing it all to what it is now and not having words for then or understanding what I was doing but raising good kids who understand what our environment is, and what animals are, what Mother Earth is, and pridefully taking ownership of that warrior status, that they're gonna call their own mom out, if something falls out of my pocket, and they're like, Mom, you're polluting Mother Earth. Go shoot, pick that up, we need to get that. If we don't raise kids with Healthy Minds, then how can we say what we love because this world isn't going to end? You know, in our lifetime. Like, we must continue passing these values on and ingrain it into humans in a way that they're going to be inspired to pass it on also. And it's not easy, we're stubborn. We're stubborn little shits, all of us humans, like, we don't learn easy. That's for sure. ⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus ⁣⁣Well, you inspire me. And, you know, we're, we're in this time that is hard. Every generation faces big challenges we are facing a lot of them right now. Existential challenges, some would argue, I think most would at this point. And they feel these challenges feel monumental and amplified by COVID. And feeling, you know, kind of isolated and not connected. But still, I feel I feel hope and I feel inspired when I'm connected to you like we are right now. What? Where do you find hope? Where what gives you fuel? When the days are hard?⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore  ⁣⁣Hmm. Blue Sky? Sure helps.⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus  ⁣⁣Sure enough. ⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore⁣⁣Um, yeah, it's always finding, finding that purpose. Like what is my purpose in life? And COVID definitely pushes that question to a lot of hearts. Right. I just think that there have been so many people who have struggled with what is my purpose when when economy shuts down, when, when our business sector is shut down. What is our purpose? You know, we're all being sort of blindsided by industry, and kind of going into every day thinking that our purpose is to just do the work that the corporations need us to do to spin, spin those dollar figures. And once we realize that that's actually a pretty fragile system. And it's sort of unrealistic, and it's not self sustainable. What are we doing? What are we doing with our selves? And how fulfilled? Are we, when we're not dependent on this capitalist mentality, and economy? What are the alternative economies of our world? Well, one, one that is very undervalued is like the emotional economy. I don't know what that would be Spiritual Economy, just what worth and value do we have on our emotional well being? And who are we when we can't depend on the cash economy? What are we doing? There's so much self improvement going on. In this COVID this COVID year seeing people just really work through it and unpack it and, and find, you know, Black Lives Matter. Missing and murdered Indigenous Women, like, we matter. That's what matters when the cash economy is completely falling into the shithole. Like our people matter, and our well being matters, and we need to have each other's back. Otherwise, you know, we have chaos.⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus ⁣⁣This is such an inspiring conversation. I'm so glad we got to connect today. And we are approaching the end of it for for now. I got kind of a rapid fire little thing, three parts to this. It's sort of the similar theme, you'll get it. The first part is okay, your house is on fire. So of course, you get your loved ones out first, but in addition to them, what's the one physical thing you saved from the fire?⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore⁣⁣Let it burn.⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus ⁣⁣Wow, going all in?⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore⁣⁣Let's just cleanse how much of that do we need? Um, I don't know once my kids are out, really. I'm just happy that we're alive. I can't say that there's anything in there that would be worth more than our hearts and minds. Let's start fresh.⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus⁣⁣Yeah, that pretty much wraps up the rest of this except maybe you've got a little addendum. So let's now call it your spiritual house. What are the two most important things about your life that you take with you?⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore⁣⁣Um, gratitude is something that I have to practice every day again, like, you know, life in rural Alaska is not easy. And the way to get through it is by spinning it and always being thankful. Like no matter what. The next thing is my sense of humor.⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus ⁣⁣So good. So true.⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore⁣⁣Take some laughter with all of that. Oh, yeah, went down. I want to laugh. ⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus ⁣⁣That's right. And we do. Well, lastly, what's the one thing you leave behind in the house to burn down?⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore ⁣⁣Fear. Let's get that out.⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus ⁣⁣Let's get that out.⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq I am so grateful to be your friend. Thank you for this time together. And we're gonna continue sometime down the line, and I can't wait to see you back in Bristol Bay again soon. And for those of you who want to follow  Apay'uq's work, how do they find you?⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore ⁣⁣You could check me out on Instagram. I've changed the spelling of my name more recently, right. And so I'm still adapting on Instagram. It's @apay'uq. And then my webs Ah, is it apay'uqart? I think it's just Apay'uq. And then also my website a And there you can see my entire portfolio.⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus⁣⁣So grateful for you. Thank you for being our very first guest on the save what you love podcast.⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore⁣⁣Ah, you're welcome. I didn't think you were gonna break me this time I came in I was like no tears this time. I got it. But you got me. ⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus⁣⁣No one escapes. ⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore⁣⁣Not yet but the next time I'm up for a challenge next time. We're gonna be clear boys. Feel free to write that out and you could read it like I had sent you an email.⁣⁣⁣⁣Mark Titus ⁣⁣You are on I will always take up the challenge because I like challenges too. Thank you my friend. I appreciate you.⁣⁣⁣⁣Apay'uq Moore⁣⁣Alright, Peace. Peace.⁣⁣
I’m Mark Titus. I’d like to welcome you to listen to my new podcast, Save What You Love. Each week we’ll dive into vulnerable conversations with doers working to save the things they love most with all their hearts. Guests will include some of your favorite authors, activists, and entertainers as well as people you’ve probably passed a hundred times quietly practicing radical compassion in their everyday life without you ever even knowing it. One of our first guests will be my friend Apayu’q Moore, a Yupik artist from Bristol Bay, Alaska raising her kids off-grid in the traditional ways of her people.Apay’uq: And what it all comes back down to is our roots. Where did we start in the first place? Who were we in the first place? Right? And so we’re going back down to the ground like, here’s where our people are. Our people are buried in this ground. This needs to keep us steady. Sit down if you need to, but get up.Everyone has a voice at this table. The only requirement is to love something so much you’d do anything in your power to save it. Love wins here. Serving up hope weekly.You can find Save What You Love on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or your favorite podcatcher. Visit for more content – including a link to my current documentary, The Wild.
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