Friday, July 3, 2009
A Thank You
I want to take time out to thank the readers of this blog. I had no real path or intent in mind when it began, other than a focus on the classic side of fly-fishing. I have learned a lot through the efforts of writing these often obscure thoughts on an already obscure sport. The greatest two outcomes for myself were the gaining of an outlet for creative thought, and the gathering together of like-minded anglers. I hope my writings have kept you entertained, and spurred some critical thought. Inspiration can come from anywhere or from nowhere. It happens at 4 in the morning, and sometimes not for weeks at a time. Being the cynic that I am, I can get frustrated when these creative efforts and others like them are bypassed by anglers who instead weigh in on forums in biblical numbers as to which line looks better, which rod feels better when hit over the head, or whether flourocarbon is good to floss your teeth with. But, as I realize, this blog is obscure, and perhaps a test of deeper thought.
I have tried to make this site different from the ubiquitous blogs and pages on the web where the main content is a silly diary of fishing activities (as in “I went there and caught some fish and had fun…), or sites that wander off topic so often it may take a compass to find the content one wishes to read. The opinions expressed here are often rhetorical in nature. I certainly am no expert, nor do I have all the answers, but there comes a time in life when one feels the urge to give back something to the community of fellowship that has given us so much. To those people such as Bill S., Rob E., Joe S., William O., Dave P., Dave D. and the others too numerous to mention that I have learned from, thank you.
I tend to search for beauty in life, and beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. To me, life is too short not to sit by the side of the Lochsa River and read a poem by Robert Service, share a poignant quote with my readers, present a pretty fly to a pretty fish, enjoy the smell and feel of a rain shower, and frequently laugh at myself and mankind in the face of nature, joy, fear, and spiritualism.
Fly fishing has become a sort of spiritualism for me. It is easy to find aspects of essence and connection in the casting of a line in a special place. There are true Zen-like moments in fly-fishing. Zen, or Chan, is a meditative process of discovery of both the inner and outer world. Most people never even listen to their inner voice. They are too deafened by the modern complications of life. There is a single place where that inner self and realization meets ones view of him or herself and the outside world. To find this is a lifetime journey. Silence or the stillness of nature can help this.
I try to make my writing different than anything else out there. Like my favorite short story authors such as W. Sommerset Maugham, I deplore the ordinary. Thus sometimes my stories have aspects of the bizarre, or end differently than “and they all lived happily ever after.” Getting older is not a lot of fun. Wisdom is the only compensation. I learned this years ago, and have listened carefully to those who have gone before us. Being a student of history, I know that the collected body of human knowledge and wisdom assembled from failures, successes, and experiences in the past can teach us so much about our possible futures. These experiences and collected wisdom must be shared, even if it is ignored.
Fly-fishing is about so much more than catching fish. I have endeavored here to attempt to define and bring to light these sometimes hidden aspects. The next time you break into a smile on the stream, river, or lake, sit down and really think about why you are smiling. You may find it an enlightening process. Do the same when you are frustrated, afraid, or angry. Take a page out of Marcus Aurielius and examine each thing in its essence, then watch it all flow into one when you open your eyes. This is the river to me. “Eventually all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.”
A man is dead when he stops learning. I intend to never stop learning and discovering. I hope I can continue to share the joy and creativity I receive from that learning and critical thought. I promise to brace it with humor ;)
Thank You for reading.