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
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
If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to
post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!