This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

April 20th, 2009

Grab A Log on Your Way In

There was an especially nice email this week. We get a lot of comments from our readers here, but this one was special because of what it evoked for me. I hope the gentleman who sent it reads this and realizes what he really did. (And thanks.)

I'm not quoting exactly, but the comment was to the effect that being in the Fly Anglers OnLine Chat Room is the closest thing to a campfire chat you can get without being there.

That really sparked the fires for me. No pun intended, but I could mentally see a lot of evening campfires over the years. Friends old and new who meet to share the bounty of free-flowing streams, just being in the places trout live. Soot blackened coffee pots propped against rocks. If there was a dram or two of something stronger, it usually was passed around in a tin cup. If we were lucky, someone might show up with a package of store-bought cookies.

One group of folks around a particular campfire were regulars who had agreed on a set of house rules. The same group usually gathered every weekend during trout season. I wasn't part of the group when the rules were adopted, so I have no idea how they agreed. But it went like this: no one could talk about their job. No boss bashing. No venting how rotten your job was. While I knew what some of them did for a living, it was never mentioned.

Fair enough? This group had done it for so long it was natural. But when you think how much of your daily life is talking about your job, worrying about your job, your problems on the job, the people on the job, you begin to realize your job has taken over your life. On top of that, most of the people you associate with away from work - are from work! You don't have an identity other than what you do for a living.

Regardless of a person's financial worth, success at fly fishing cannot be bought. Every person around the campfire is an equal. One may have had great success with today's hatch. He may not be as fortunate tomorrow. The cooperative rainbow that eagerly sucked in his fly today may be a rebel brown sulking on the bottom of some deep hole tomorrow.

So why do we fish? Or tie flies? Or plan next year's big fishing trip? Or ogle over exotic places in fishing magazines? Or treasure those times sitting around campfires?

Man's quest to find some meaning in his day-to-day existence may be as simple as having some balance in his life. To find a place where for even a short time, he is part of something totally away from his livelihood. To be able to help another fellow fisher, to share a method of tying an effective fly. Maybe encourage a newcomer that it is worth the effort. To be part of something bigger than himself. To feel he is making progress - at least on his personal journey as an angler.

Maybe what is so great and grand about real (and virtual) campfires is that, like primitive man huddled together around their campfires for protection from the unknown, we too seek a community to give us some protection from the world we know is out there.

Our community campfire (Chatroom) is getting a new running system, I know it seems like forever, but we are making progress. Bear with us, it isn't quite done yet, but it works. Trust me, you are always welcome here, grab a log on your way in. ~ DLB

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