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Jeff Nania Asks Where Can You Find Peace in 2020

Today, we welcome the first post from our newest Blackbird, Jeff Nania. You can find out more about him here.

Living an outdoor life has served me well. The tasks and chores that are part and parcel of living in the country keep me outside and occupied in mostly productive activities. Hikes on the trail are continual sources of adventure and discovery for both humans and Labradors. Walking among the prairie blooms is unavoidably cheering, even though the world right now does not seem like such a cheery place.      

Man and boy fishing from boat
The author and his son, credit: Victoria Rydberg-Nania

While our location puts distance between my family and the rest of the world, when the corona virus first reared its grossly ugly head, we were glued to newscasts anxiously waiting each day to hear what the experts thought our future would hold. The ABC Nightly News claimed to be the most watched television show of any kind in America. Then the stream of information increased from a trickle to a flood. It became impossible to discern science from politics, truth from fiction. It is enough to make anyone at least a little crazy.

Fast forward six months and many of the people I know have either cut back significantly or stopped watching the news altogether. We are road weary, hoping and praying for the good news that never seems to come. Couple that with societal unrest and violence, and we feel a palpable weight on our shoulders. We face possibly critical personal decisions. Should we send our kids to school? Wear a mask? Hide out at home? Everyone and no one seems to have the answers.

In the face of the adversity, my family, along with a bunch of other people in my home state of Wisconsin, took a stance and made a decision: we went fishing. In fact, a record number of people made this decision. Annual fishing license general sales increased by 21% and maybe even more important, the number of first-time licenses sold doubled for 2020. People ventured out to calm the crazies on our state’s 15,000 lakes and 84,000 miles of rivers and streams.  

In Figure Eight, the first book of my Northern Lakes Mysteries, the main character John Cabrelli finds solace and healing by reestablishing his personal connection with the outdoors. He is no different than many of us who find the outdoors to be a place of peace and renewal. During this time, how have natural resources been part of your life? Where are the places you seek peace? 

Download “Autumn: A Short Story,” read more of Jeff’s writing, or learn about his Northern Lakes Mysteries at Connect with Jeff on social media:,,

Jeff Nania

Award-winning author Jeff Nania draws upon careers in law enforcement, conservation, and a passion for our natural resources in his bestselling Northern Lakes Mystery series. Jeff’s narrative non-fiction writing has appeared in Wisconsin Outdoor News, Double Gun Journal, The Outlook, and other publications. Download a free short story and read more of Jeff's writing at, or follow him on Facebook, Instagram, or Goodreads.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Margaret Mizushima
    Margaret Mizushima

    Thanks for sharing your peaceful time with us, Jeff. I love to go up into the mountains, but for the past few weeks, wildfires have taken over the state of Colorado. The air quality is so dangerous now, it’s difficult to be outside here on the front range. Praying for rain right now. And yes, it does feel kinda crazy! Can’t wait to get back into the high country.

    1. Avatar
      Jeff Nania

      My niece Julie Nania is with High Country Conservation Advocates in Crested Butte Montana. They too are suffering through a very tough fire season but are hoping for rain today. Years of lost lives and horrendous property damage seem to be a trend we cannot break. I hope you and yours are safe. Pray for rain.

  2. Valerie Biel
    Valerie Biel

    I learned a new word the other day about the over attentiveness to the nonstop bad news and prognostications . . . doomscrolling. I thought it was perfect, and I have given up a lot of news watching, too. It’s no surprise that people are going out on the lakes to find a little bit of peace and normalcy. I’ve been spending a lot of time in the garden and it’s been very good for my mental health!

  3. Joy Ribar
    Joy Ribar

    Great question and wonderful contemplative piece for our times, Jeff. I go back to a quote I often used in teaching high school students: Thoreau said “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately…” Nature always has a lesson for us when we seek it. We are lucky to have a country of diverse beauty to discover. My family and I visit nature’s bounty whenever possible. John and I look forward to “retiring” in a motor home and adding more experiences with nature to our lives.

  4. Avatar
    Donna Rigg

    Oh Jeff, my peaceful place is right up there not far from you. At my sons homestead in Montello Wisconsin. I swear I hear my soul sing when I’m there!

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