Growing up in Michigan, fresh water has always been a big part of my life. As a kid I swam or fished on summer days. On weekdays I biked to swim team practice in the morning and fished off the pier in the afternoon. On special weekends my parents took our family "up north" to camp and fish on the Au Sable River. Almost every childhood vacation I can think of involved a bathing suit or a fishing rod or both. On car trips my dad would pull over to the side of the road and take out his telescopic "pack rod" to test a creek or stream. If it looked promising, we might spend the day there.
I learned how to swim and fish in the lakes and rivers of Michigan. I also learned how to find worms and catch frogs, ignore mosquitoes and spot birds. I learned who I was and what I loved from spending so much time outdoors and in the water.
That was where I wanted Gar's life to begin. I wanted the water, the Mud River, to be a place where Gar would learn and grow and gain practical skills, and also find himself.