Al Campbell, Field Editor

May 20th, 2002

Learning Curve - Priorities
By Al Campbell

This week I spent my day off helping an old friend. He had a computer problem (I call them confusers), and he isn't mentally inclined toward computer maintenance of any kind. A nasty little file had invaded his computer and was causing all kinds of problems. We ended up formatting the hard drive and starting over.

It was about the nicest weather I have seen on any day off I've had in the last three months. I could have gone fishing and told my friend to wait for a week or so, but I'm not that way. He has some dandy fly fishing water running through his land, and I did take my fly rod along with hopes for maybe a chance to use it, but that didn't happen.

I had a column to write and another for the local paper, but that had to wait. The basement-remodeling job was put on hold for another day. The rod blanks that have been waiting to be assembled into fly rods are still waiting. My fly inventory isn't any better than it was last week. I had a friend in need, and that was more important than the rest.

Some people have commented that they are impressed that I try to answer every e-mail I get. Others have complained that I'm too slow or my answers are too short. I get about 50 e-mails a day that require answers, so I don't always have a lot of time to answer them with long answers and often refer the writer to something that is available at this site. Some folks demand that I send them a personalized copy of whatever it is that they want. You can probably guess the outcome of that. The point is that these are activities that are important to me and consume much of my time. However, they were put on hold for one day so I could help a friend in need.

His house is in the remote hills of western South Dakota. Turkeys and deer visit the place on a regular basis throughout the day. Right now the tom turkeys are strutting their stuff for the hens, and they really put on a show. I took my camera and got some nice shots while we waited for hard drives to format, programs to load and updates to load. Dial-up connections leave a lot of time to watch wildlife when software updates are the task.

We cooked up a couple of bison steaks on the grill and watched songbirds invade the feeder while we ate lunch. A couple of deer wandered by to see if there was anything interesting to eat in the field down by the creek. Turkeys were yelping and gobbling all over the nearby hillside. I didn't realize how much I was missing until I spent that time listening to the sounds of nature and watching the show they were putting on for us.

When the job was finished, I felt surprisingly refreshed. The deadlines and rush of daily life had escaped me for a day and it felt good. I had spent the day with a friend, watched wildlife in a slow mode, enjoyed some fresh air and lost track of other obligations for a moment. I think; no, I know I needed that. I learned something about myself and what's most important in my life.

I'm making a note to myself to take a day off once in a while to enjoy life. Hopefully that day will include fishing, but if it's just spending time with an old friend, that'll be ok too. The point is to spend some time away from the duties of daily life. Sometimes the mind needs a break, and that break does the body good. Maybe it's time to examine some of my priorities. It's part of the learning curve of life.

Tight lines. ~ AC

Previous Al Campell Columns

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