Thursday, March 20, 2014


Shall we wax metaphorical for a moment?  If the future is like the sun, then I can confidently state that I'm living under a cloud layer.  Occasionally, a brilliant shaft of light penetrates the gloom,  but cold half-tones and thunderbolts are my future forecast.  Call it a low spot, but I seem to have given up most of my hope for the future.  The alluring radiance of the future has become obscured by the fog of a progressive, degenerative neurological disease with no cure.  As Parkinson's Disease gradually slows me down  physically and mentally, many of the things I used to dream of no longer make much sense.  So what does make sense?  I tell myself that I should hold tight to something I'm passionate about, pursue it with as much energy as I can spare.  So why fishing, and why fly fishing for trout?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

We have met the Enemy, and they are Us

The fact that I'm writing again means that I'm suffering from a serious affliction.  Sadly, it affects far too many people, especially anglers who've sat through a long winter.  We suffer from an insidious illness that's been festering in the cold weather: hope.

I'm hoping for time on a cold, clear stream in the near future, in pursuit of trout.  I hope for many more such visits this spring, summer, and fall.  I have a brand new St Croix 3-weight fly rod that whispers to me at night like the One Ring:  The Precious wants to return to The Master.  (Yeah, I know I'm stretching the metaphor.)  Once I figure out how to have a few successful fly angling sessions in Southeastern Minnesota's "driftless region," I hope to bring my kids and wife along to share the experience with them.  We all have decent fly fishing outfits now, and I truly mean to take the time to fish while I can, before the parts of my brain that are in decay make it too difficult to fish anymore.  I will fish with my kids, teach them what I can, and demonstrate the patience and love my father showed to my 3 brothers and me.  With any luck, my wife will want to come along and join in the fun from time to time.  Someday, fishing "by proxy" through them may be the only fishing I can do.

I plan to write, as well.  I need to remind myself that perfection is the enemy of "good enough."  I don't need to write several pages at a time that might be worthy of publication in Field and Stream.  I just need to release the words, let them swim away, out into the wild.  (Wow.  I think I just make myself sick, a little...)  And I apparently need to suppress my inner critic.  Writing has always been a laborious and painful process for me, as I imagine it is for many/most writers.  I have friends who can produce long, elegant blog postings with a mere wave of their pinky finger.  I can't let admiration and envy be a barrier.  Just like I can't burn the candle at both ends for work anymore.

An example of a site I recently discovered and admire: Silk Lines and Paper Hulls.  The author, Gary Thompson, lives around Sheridan, Wyoming, and I'm seriously envious of him.  I miss Wyoming, even more so since I finally fished the tiny Tongue River on top of the Big Horn Mountains near Sheridan this past summer.  Gary also writes very well.  His most recent posting, Empty Pockets, talks of a day of settlement, looking back on the previous year and realizing you fell short of your expectations of yourself, letting far too many little things get in the way of living.  My time on the Tongue River, last summer, one short afternoon where I reeled in that gorgeous cutthroat trout and ran nose-to-snout with a young moose, was my one trout outing for the whole year.  My settlement shows a lot of red in the ledger.

I have stories I wish to tell.  Telling them in imperfect fragments will get results.  And I plan to make more fish stories this year.  Please, Inner Critic, do shut the hell up and stop telling me that this whole thing reads like a New Year's Resolution.  Perhaps a glass of Pinot Noir is in order...

Welcome aboard.  Enjoy the ride.

--Me and the Little Voices