With a new year on the near horizon, I always find
it good to review the year that just passed. Wow,
what a year! It wasn't all good; nor was it all bad.
This was one of those years that will fill more than
a few pages of the history books.
The year started much like any other year. We joked
about cabin fever and a few people showed some serious
symptoms of the ailment before January was closed out.
I think that was a bit early to get stir crazy; but I
have a lot more to keep me occupied than some folks,
so I don't get the "fever" as quickly as some others
do. Having plenty to keep you occupied is probably
the best medicine for cabin fever I know of.
While we were fighting winter fever, another fight
broke out in the Middle East, and that spilled over
into our space. One of the things that makes FAOL
a pleasant place to visit is the many varied
backgrounds and opinions we all have. However, when
those opinions run deep, there can be some rough times
trying to get along. We had some rough times here,
but I'd say they were fairly mellow compared to the
times we had throughout the USA, or even the rest
of the world.
Politics is always a good way to start a fight,
and it was just that. There are a few regulars
here who don't share the same political view as
I have on certain subjects. In fact, some of what
they said during that time cut deep into my core.
However, I treasure the rights we have to disagree
and express ourselves more than I do my personal
feelings. Not everyone feels that way. We lost
some good people along the way, and some of those
were regulars here.
Because that was such a big struggle, and because we
are, or should be better than that, I don't hesitate
to block or remove a political fight from the bulletin
board now. Kept within the guidelines, that bulletin
board is one of the most dynamic fly-fishing forums
anywhere. However, I learned the hard way this year
that my freedom of speech stops at the feet of those
who would be damaged by that speech. So does yours;
so, the bulletin board rules are enforced a little
bit stronger now than when the year started. The
lesson was more than painful, but it was a lesson
well learned. We also all need to learn how to
tolerate divergent opinions better than we did this
Many of us had to contend with another year of drought
while others were flooded out. It seems to me that
this year was more a year of extremes than most years.
Streams in my area dried up again while some folks
couldn't fish unless they wanted to fish in a flood.
Floods and droughts are part of nature and in some
ways they are good for the planet. In many cases
they serve to cleanse the soil of unwanted or
unnatural invaders like weeds; but they also wreak
havoc on the lives of many people and animals.
Unless history is wrong, things will change in time.
They always do. If you don't believe that, read
about the droughts and floods of the past century.
Most areas of the country had a few of both.
I didn't get to take my regular fishing trip to the
Bighorn River this year. A big anniversary
celebration for my parents and some heavy remodeling
on my fishing buddy's house blocked that for the summer.
In fact, the summer didn't provide a lot of fishing
opportunities for me. It wasn't a total loss though.
I did manage to take the first photograph of my new
grandson when he was just a few hours old. I think
I'll treasure that trip to the Bighorn more next
Besides my fishing buddy's house, we undertook a huge
remodeling job at work this year too. That consumed
most of my normally free time from the first of
September to the end of October. The work still
continues on the friend's house and we are playing
catch-up at work. If I only told you that, you
might think I didn't get to fish at all, but that
isn't the case.
I got to attend the Idaho Fish-In this year. I met
new friends and had my spirit renewed in the waters
of cold mountain streams. I shared moments with old
buddies and new; and I enjoyed it as much as I
possibly could in such a short time. It was like
a breath of fresh air in a smoke filled room. I
hope to do it again next year, but that too will
be determined by the circumstances of the time.
A few of our heroes, friends and family members
passed to the far shore this year. That happens
every year, but some years seem to hit harder than
others. Because life continues to flow, even with
the passing of people we love and respect, I'm
certain that others will step up to fill the shoes
of those who no longer walk with us. We'll remember
those who are gone and learn to treasure those who
are with us. It will be that way because it has
to be that way. Our time on this earth is limited
and very dynamic. In time it will be our passing
that others will have to endure. Teach them well,
if you want them to continue the work you started.
So, another year is over and a new one is ready to
begin. None of us knows what the new one will bring.
We can hope for a better year than the one we just
had, and I wish that for you; but the hard truth
is that we don't know what we will face. I only
know that if my ticket is good for another year,
the way that year turns out will be dependent to
a large degree on what I do and how I do it. Most
of that will have something to do with my attitude,
and attitude is something I can work on, so I have
high hopes for the coming year. So should you.