Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Metaphysical Fly Fishing


                             "Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing
                                     it is not the fish they are after." ~ Thoreau            

Early Spey Caster
I am a bit uncertain whether the Ozark mountains become the place in time to wonder about the mystic qualities of fly fishing.  This is Lil' Abner's land that neighboring taunters playfully refer to as "Darwin's Waiting Room."  Denying the  "missing link" genetics  of the rolling hills of Northern Arkansas,  I do not ascribe to the evolutionary aspects of the region.  Besides, there are way too many Baptist churches here to suit Charlie D.

It is raining and cold now, and as one of my fishing buddies says, "You're a cold weather sissy, you'll never be a steelheader."  So, when not fishing, I do what many old red-blooded males do every other hour of the day, I contemplate fly fishing.

As a young fellow I won a couple of State of Georgia singles tennis titles. In each win, I felt a confident and calm strength that sport's announcers refer to as, "the zone, or momentum."  I didn't know what it was when it was happening, and after I won, my young mind quickly returned to other thoughts measured at every seven minutes.

It was not until later in life  that I heard the term "Zen."  I'm not sure where it came from, but someone once told me it was a place called Walden, or was it Woodstock?  This was during the  B.A.(before Amazon) epoch. Then, each bookstore had an aisle section that  featured   "Zen and The Art of Cooking, Hiking, Tennis, Bridge, Negotiating and even Tie-Dyeing."  Zen meisters started showing up at the fly casting pond in San Francisco.

Following the first wave of Zen, came T.M.  Surely you remember the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi  and Transcendental Meditation, which became the first metaphysical multilevel marketing program.  Pay your deposit and get a mantra, sign up some friends and double your mantras. Once when asked to join, I responded, "Listen, I don't bowl because they want me there every Thursday night, and you want me to pay to say a mantra and sit quietly once or twice every day!"

Suave (pronounced swave in Georgia) folks from Manhattan and L.A. are the experts about  Feng Shui. I'm told it will bring harmony to one's life, home and office, so it's only natural that Feng Shui will soon be coming to a river near you.  "Hey Bubba, could you turn that boulder so the pointed side faces upstream, oh, and move that log into the sun, okay?  Oh my, Bubba, can't you just feel the ripples?"   
Reverse Warrior Pose
I have a dear friend who suggested Yoga as a way of improving my fly fishing  experience.  She practices her Yoga dock side along the shores of her beautiful lake.  Plus, she's a good fly fisher. So, I told her, "I'll try anything that won't split my waders."   I tried, really, but nearly drowned attempting that half lotus tree pose. You laugh - you try it on didymo covered river rocks. I will admit though that the reverse warrior pose helped a lot with my pile cast.                                                                    

Also popular these days is the challenging question, "What would Jesus do?"   In my mind, he would welcome fellow fly fishers into his beat and would not hesitate to share the fly he was using.  Just feeling his presence would have all around him picking up discarded Vienna sausage cans and Power Bait cartons.  As a struggling trout is brought safely to net, one would experience the  warmth of his smile as the trout is released back into its multicolored habitat.  As Jesus would exit the river, quietly behind you, he would say, "Tight lines, my friend."  I'm guessing the hatch would then begin in earnest.

Once, when climbing into a drift boat, I said to our crusty old Montana guide,  "Be the Rainbow, Billy, be the Rainbow."  He looked at me like he was thinking, “If this pilgrim says something like that again, I'll whip his ass.”  Seeing his frown, I didn’t ask him to share his mantra.

John Gierach, noted fly fishing author, best cuts to the chase,  "We who fly fish, think it is deeply meaningful until we try to explain why it is deeply meaningful, and then suddenly it's just fishing again."
A Norfork Morning 

How mental, mystic or metaphysical we choose make fly fishing, the process becomes self governing.

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