November 1, 2010

The wander of it all.

Not all who wander are lost.
J.R. Tolkien


Aware of the silence coming from the fireplace. This room is just a garage without a fire going. Pull back the curtain to peer through the rain dabbing the window. The trees sway, shedding needles which fall randomly around a squirrel who seems very busy either burying future snacks or digging up somebody else's, I'm not sure, until I see something in its paws being delicately adjusted for consumption. To the victor...

Fire duty. Still have some nice coals. Keep the home fire burning. I check my inventory. Only 3 good chunks of red fir and a couple of birch left in the box. The birch burns too fast all by itself. I select one of each and arrange them accordingly on what remains of the grate.

Just then an idea comes to me. I quickly retrace my steps back to the Mac and get it into print. After reading it back out loud, I just as quickly highlight it, hit the delete button, and reach for my hat. Maybe a run out to the woodpile will help. In this case, one of the secret joys of aging is that I know I'm going to forget everything I was thinking about prior to going out to the woodpile so when I return it'll be a whole new ball game.

A classically-tied number twenty-two baetis sits, drying, clamped in the jaws of the Regal. Four more are snagged on the styrofoam angle board awaiting dispensation. Now and then I wonder how many of these I've tied over the years. I'd probably be amazed. But, then again, maybe I wouldn't. I guess I'd be more amazed by the number of flies I've tied at different junctures thinking that they might work better than this particular pattern, or, better still, at the number of times I thought something else would. Impossible to know, right up there with how many more times I'm going to be so inclined as to do it again. And again.

I remove the classically-tied number twenty-two baetis from the vise and snag it next to the others, pausing for a proud second to admire them. Lucky thing I'm not a trout. I wouldn't last very long out there.

I have this rather cumbersome Sterilite box. I chose this model over the next size up which is on wheels. That, for some reason to me, seemed like a bit much, although secretly in the years hence, I wish I'd gotten it. I keep some of my important feathers and fur patches in there, and when I go on the road, I pare it down to only what I deem to be 'the essentials' and pack the rest of my tying stuff in there, too. It still takes up way too much space according to just about everyone I've ever traveled with, but I'll put up with the needling. It goes where I go, and that's that. Besides, the needling invariably ceases when that oversized-box supplies me with the materials that enable said needler to hook a fish or two when his supply of flies runs out. I particularly enjoy that circumstance. Call it a smug smile.

There is more than a bit of my father in me. I can tell there is when I look at my collection of tying materials and tools. I remember at some point deciding to actually sit down and sort through all of it. I would keep what I thought I could use, and find a way to dispose of the rest, either by donating it, or by just plain throwing it in the garbage. That was the plan, anyway.

It went bad, or should I say good, almost from the beginning. I'll save you the details, mentioning only that the stuff in what started out to be the 'discard' pile was examined, then re-examined, and finally then put back before I'd gotten a tenth of the way through. I still shudder when I think that I could've actually thought I was going to somehow 'streamline' my stash of stuff. What a colossal error in judgement. I've used some of the stuff I almost chucked, but the important thing to keep in mind is that yes, I did use it. The same might not be said for the rest, should I have been so remiss as to think hm, I'll never use that... Safe to say I don't ever think that anymore.

Thanks, dad.


  1. The worst mistake you can ever make is to never try. And, by god, no one can ever accuse you of that--you have tried every pattern in the book, and about 500 that you invented!

  2. Oh yeah, I meant to say that was a cool post. How it is.

    The syncopation at the beginning of Space Truckin' isnt even as cool.