Over the past short while, we've lost some
of our Fly Anglers OnLine folks to death,
Leon Chandler, Don Cianca, and a week ago
Ron Koenig. Our connection with all these
folks has been our common love for fly fishing
and we may never have met them - or the many
other folks we cherish as friends - except
that we all came together on this website.
We lost a former President this weekend too.
The connection with him will be different for
each person, but for most he set a fine example
of the power of positive thinking, humility, and
sticking to ones principals.
Those connections are what I call 'touchstones.'
We've had them throughout history in fly fishing.
Things which give us a connection with the first
person who ever cast a fly rod. The first guy
who caught a fish. The first who lost a really
big fish. The first fish on a fly you tied.
The first big trip to an exotic place (even
Yellowstone National Park) - or saltwater.
Each who experience those major events in their
fly fishing journey have a connection to every
other fly fisher who ever did it!
Think about that for a moment. I'm not talking
about the 6 degrees of separation here. I'm saying
that each of us who fly fish have/are walking in
exactly the same shoes (or waders or hip boots)
as every other person in fly fishing. It's much
more than having empathy or sympathy which ever
fits the moment. Actually, we may have actually
tread on the same well-worn path or trail to the
river, stream or lake.
We may not fish the same rods, or lines, or
flies - but the connection is much closer than
in any other avocation I can conceive.
Each of us has fretted over selecting the right
fly at the right time. Or berated ourselves for
some piece of absolute stupidity which just cost
us a terrific fish. We have shared the same
thoughts, the same mind-set. All because of fly
fishing. How neat is that?
We come from all walks of life, all backgrounds,
every political, social or education bias - yet
here we are, frequenting the same website, looking
for some little piece of knowledge or insight to
improve what? Our fishing?
Just maybe the connection and community found here
on FAOL, and in fly fishing is a search for some part
of us which will give us all a deeper sense of who and
what we are as individuals. That spark of 'self' which
allows us to have a modicum of peace. A respite
from all that is our daily lives.
That somewhere in this community there are people who
are finding a way to go fishing when we can't. To
have the adventure of those exotic places we have yet
to travel to. To vicariously take part in those
adventures though we are tied to responsibilities
of the now.
Those touchstones are how we survive in what is
becoming an increasingly hostile world. They are
what allow us to clear our heads, dump the cache
of garbage playing in the tapes of our conscious,
and instead connect with the joy and beauty of
the outdoor world.
They allow each of us to use the power of positive
thinking to drive out the negative - to plan for
even a short outing to our closest fly fishing water
to reconnect with the real world. One we have created
as our special place. The place where nothing else
matters except you, the water and the fish. Call
it recreation or re-creation. The truth is, it
is how we survive - no, more than that - it is
how we succeed.
The next time you are on a favorite piece of water,
pick up a small stone. One which will fit comfortably
in your pocket. Put it in there with your loose
change. If someone asks what it is,
tell them it's your touchstone. ~ DLB
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post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!