This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm
March 27th, 2006

Purveyor of Peace

While waiting to be seated at a local restaurant, I thumbed through a little book Fishback Hill by an author from this area. The forward contained the following:

"I often consider the small delights we enjoy in this life on earth to be the most valuable. Plagued with all manner of daily disasters, distresses and trials, humankind longs for respite and refreshment. Sadly, our therapists, healthcare conglomerates and spas-retreats are reaping financial reward from many who have yet to realize there is a simple "balm" to ease the pain of this life, rejuvenate the soul, restore hope.

Not too many years ago, as I wandered unsuccessfully from one purveyor of peace to another, I came upon a gentleman who seemed to possess at least one secret ingredient of the aforementioned 'balm.'"

An interesting thought. It sparked some thoughts of my own.

Are all of us searching for a balm? Is fly fishing that balm? Is it the 'peace' we find on the water?

Are those who abuse alcohol and drugs trying to find peace? Or are they escaping the everyday disasters, distresses and trials the writer speaks of? Or is it the same thing?

Are those who fly fish, tie flies, build rods, read about other anglers and their successes or failures somehow finding a coping mechanism which gets them from one day to another? Does sharing a common frame of reference in a Chat Room, a Fish-In or commenting on a bulletin board help us maintain some fragment of sanity in a world spinning away?

The folks who are involved in the Casting for Recovery program claim just the physical act of casting is a form of renewal - both physical and emotional.

Is the concentration of wrapping a guide, or tying a fly involving both physical and mental abilities, something which is actually therapeutic? We know the program John Colburn is promoting to teach the wounded how to tie flies works - on both levels. So, does it also work for you and me too?

How about planning the first trip of the year? Isn't that an expression of hope? Doesn't the very act of planning uplift our spirits and give us a positive outlook?

And when we are fishing, the experience of being there, living within the natural world, awakens our spirit and allows us to soak up the beauty around us - from the smallest minnow in a stream to the big sky above us. And having 'been there' we go home tired yet refreshed - and the actual catching of fish is secondary. In fact, when no fish are caught at all, there is still an inner satisfaction of the attempt. New ideas are created, new strategies, new or different techniques and flies, plans laid for 'next time.' A learning opportunity.

It would seem just about all the aspects of our lives are somehow involved in the art of fly fishing. And all of it in a good positive way.

How's that for a purveyor of peace? ~ The LadyFisher

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