Dave Micus, Plum Island Sound

September 11th, 2006

Putting My Life In Boxes
By Dave Micus

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.

Tying Bench

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.

Antique Reels 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.

Silver pocket flask

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 love.

VW Bus

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 profound.

Things in the mirror will always be closer than they appear. ~ Dave

About 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.

Previous Dave Micus Columns

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