I search for something new in fly fishing.
I consider a new fly; a new rod, or some hole I never fished. Or some place exotic.
Perhaps I need a new technique. A new cast that allows the fly to run deep and drag free under a tricky seam line. The fish might be there and they might not.
But then I realize that what I need most is simply more of me engaged in this old sacred ritual that forever teaches me.
Fly fishing reminds me that what I need is within my heart.
Friday, December 29, 2017
D.H. Lawrence in a poem titled, “The Song Of a Man Who has Come Through,“ beautifully describes the individual who contemplates what knocks on the door in the night.
The darkness of December inspires me to also consider what might be knocking on my door. What new thoughts and perspectives might I embrace? What new places might I need to explore and fish? What new people might I need to allow in my life?
In the case of this poem, the narrator at first seems to question if the one doing the knocking is here to cause harm. But then, concludes that it is three strange angels. He decides to admit the angels who knock; “Admit them, admit them.”
However, most often, out of fear, I play it safe. I seal myself off from what knocks and even those individuals who wish me well. How could I ever be certain of those mysterious angels?
But sometimes, when I realize that I really have nothing to lose, I open the door. I admit them. And who knows how that decision might change my life.
And might lead to the elusive fish, and the garden of Hesperides that I seek.
Thursday, December 21, 2017
Gertrude Stein was speaking of flowers. But, I also wonder if it really matters what kind of fish we catch? A thing is what it is.
We cast our flies on the water hoping for a bite. We wait for a tug. Does it really matter what tugs?
Recently I found myself throwing streamers in several warm water ponds inhabited with Bass. The bass ambushed the flies like sharks. The tugs were forceful, solid and full of life holding deep in mystery.
A tug is a tug is a tug.
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Generally, in the social media world there is a tendency to present our lives as more positive than reality. It is difficult to compete with all those happy smiling faces, and so we keep it positive.
This is also true of fishing. When it comes to fishing, there is lot of pressure to appear successful. If you are a guide or someone who is somehow making money through the fly fishing industry then the pressure is even greater. We have to keep posting pictures of our catches. No one wants to be a failure. We all need to put on a smiling face. We need to look good. So, as a guide, caught up in this craze, I also often post pictures of fish and give positive fishing reports.
However, social media most often does not capture the reality of a day on the river (or a day in the life, for that matter). The pictures are “snap shots” or highlights of when I or my clients finally caught a fish. The pictures do not show or reveal the hours and hours of fishing when nothing happens except messy tangles and snags and when the fish refuse to take the fly. We wait and wait and sometimes we are bored out of our minds.
Sometimes social media snapshots of a family vacation can be the same way. The family poses for a photo on the beach and everyone looks happy. However this picture might reveal a mere split second when the kids were not fighting, crying about getting stung by a jellyfish, dirty diapers, or the parents were not having a reoccurring argument.
Therefore for this fishing post I have no picture of a fish or of smiling faces, or a group photo showing connections with family and friends. Fishing on a river, or daily living, has large segments of absent fish, loneliness and frustrations.
This is the reality of life. This is no fish story. But I can say it is life.
Saturday, December 2, 2017
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Some things are rare in life. What are the chances of my client John and I arriving on the Dream Stream and fishing virtually alone?
And rarer still, what are the chances of two men at mid life (ok, I guess I am past midlife already), casting to the elusive large forms moving under the currents while we talk about the deeper longings of the heart? Can two men, two strangers, really talk about such longings of the soul?
What longings? There is the longing to connect to the huge fish that seem to avoid and reject every offering we make. But there is more; the longing to connect to the beauty all around us, to each other, to life; To some “bigger” life and perspective that is beyond fish caught or political debates or the score of some football game.
There are many things but as fly fishers there is the longing to know why the giant fish rejects us time and time again and the hours slip away. But then there is the longing to know why a particular fish in the next moment takes the fly and we are tight to a huge mysterious Brown. And at times, those fish stay on, and find themselves in our net and our trembling hands.
And then there are the things we do not know, and perhaps can never know. Regardless, to John it was "the longing to know.” Know what? It varies for each of us. We all have our losses and want to know. John was thinking of deeper currents. Why at times in life we find love, meaning and belonging, and at other times we lose it and cannot find it? How can we ever know and understand such catches and losses?
We caught some huge beautiful fish and we also lost some. We long to know. We long to know where and if we belong in this vast valley under a wide sky. And we long to return.