All content © Robert Williamson

All content © Robert Williamson

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Search for Peace

What it is that brings peace and serenity to life? Most of you know the answer. Or do you?
Is it the catching of a few trout? Partly, I suppose. I've decided it goes beyond that. I'm to the age where I can look back over a period of years now. I've been at this fly angling for 37 years. I wouldn't consider myself an old geezer, but I'm starting to get closer to that end of the spectrum.

As I look back, I see a pattern for my attraction to fly fishing. Dad and mom took the family camping a lot, at least I remember it as a lot. We camped near the same stream for the most part. I remember that stream, and still return to it yearly. Sometimes, I don't even fish it; I just watch it. I look for the cutthroat trout and watch them. For some reason, just knowing they are still there is enough. I watch the current. I watch for aquatic insects. I listen.

Norman Maclean explains the listening part in his book A River Runs Through It when he tells of his dad reading the "good book" by the side of the river.

Preacher Maclean: "In the part I was reading it says the Word was in the beginning, and that's right. I used to think water was first, but if you listen carefully you will hear that the words are under the water."

Norman Maclean: "That's because you are a preacher first and then a fisherman. If you ask Paul, he will tell you that the words are formed out of the water."

Preacher Maclean: "No, you are not listening carefully. The water runs over the words. Paul will tell you the same thing."

Norman later goes on to explain that a river has so many things to say that it is hard to know what it says to each of us.

If you concentrate on the water, you will come to know what it says to you. Right now, it speaks peace to me. The current takes my cares and concerns and swirls them in a backwash for one last time and then sends them gracefully downstream. The focus then becomes the bottom rocks, the streamside foilage, the surrounding hills and mountains, the sun, the shadows, billowing clouds or clear, blue sky.

Then the sounds... (to be continued)