Because of some major life changes-career, location,
marital status-I find myself putting my life in boxes.
And though I've moved many times, this was much different.
In the past I was packing for a family, consolidating our
possessions. This time I was separating my life from their's.
My marriage concluded when, after 26 years and two
great kids, we looked at each other and saw nothing
in common. So here I am, packing up my old life
to start anew in Missoula, Montana.
As I go through my possessions I find many things I'd
forgotten I even owned-carved trout, a collection of
antique wooden fly reels from England, duck decoys.
All of this has been stowed next to my fly tying bench
in the unheated basement, so located because you don't
put a fly tying table and resulting mess in one of the
finished rooms of a new house.
Other heirlooms materialize; two antique whale oil lamps,
a silver pocket flask shaped like a fish, another glass
flask shaped like an oyster, a poster promoting a reading
by Jim Harrison and illustrated by Russell Chatham. As
I dig deeper, I realize just how much of my life had been
packed away, hidden from me and others.
Then come the sporting books: McGuane, Bodio, Harrison,
Chatham, McPhee, Bass, Fergus, Abbey. And then the literature:
Bellow, Faulkner, Steinbeck, Hemingway; way too many books to
move, much too precious to leave behind. They may well end
boxed up for eternity, but I can't let them go.
The more sturdy possessions are packed in cartons for
the movers to take. I don't dare trust them with my
treasures, my life. These, including 20 fly rods and
24 reels, are loaded in the car, which is no longer
the practical, 35 mile per gallon commuter car, but
an impractical 40 year old VW camper bus. Though the
red corvette is the vehicle of choice for a mid-life
crisis, the bus will be the ideal fishing car, purchased
in a fit of nostalgia as I remember driving one deep
into Mexico when just a teen, traversing deserts, fording
streams,climbing mountains and never having a problem.
Since then I've always had a warm spot in my heart for
the VW bus, and it is important to have a car that you
Then it's goodbye to over half of my life. The hardest
thing I've ever done. As I drive off toward Interstate
90, which will take me from Boston to Missoula without
leaving the highway, I cast a final glance in the rear
view mirror. The words etched in the glass are strangely
Things in the mirror will always be closer than they appear. ~ Dave
Until recently Dave Micus lived in Ipswich, Massachusetts.
He just moved to Missoula, Montana. He is an
avid striped bass fly fisherman, writer and instructor.
He wrote a fly fishing column for the Port City Planet
newspaper of Newburyport, MA (home of Plum Island and Joppa Flats)
and taught a fly fishing course at Boston University.