My good friend and fellow aquatic hauntee, George Jacox, posted earlier today, on his Facebook page, about books, specifically fly-fishing books he liked. He elaborated a bit on his main thesis. George’s post drew a rather agreeable comment from our common friend, William (Bill) Schudlich (editor, Outside Magazine). Bill’s comments got me to thinking. First off I just had to make this comment:
Shoot, y’all just named half my ‘special selections’ library’.
As well as the Maclean books – I re-read each of Middelton’s book’s mentioned by Sir Willie of Schudville .. and I do hope one day to get a copy of Rivers of Memory. I so want to read this book! And – if I my ship stops sinking – MAYBE – a copy of, The Starlight Creek Angling Society! I would love to own this book. But I would just like to actually see, hold and read one!
I also totally agree that Traver (real name: John Voelker) books and stories are must reads; with Trout Madness and Trout Magic list high. Voelker was a personal friend of my good friend and colleague from the Traverse City , MI area, Dave Richey. When you speak with a person who actually had, on-the-water/in-the-woods, intimate knowledge of a legend like Voelker, you get a sense of just how much one can miss by not being in the same arena, venue or age. CARPE DIEM!
Then I got to thinking about other books – besides my shared enjoyment of those mentioned by George and Bill. I started to go over some other books I’ve read – and re-read – over the past few years. So a list began to form. But not just a list. What began to form was a much deeper meaning than just reading good books. There was – and remains – an intimate relationship with the books I read, the people I know, icons I wish to meet, passions I love to pursue.
Especially any of the above fortunate enough to also coincide with just about any value on the subject of FLY FISHING.
It’s not merely about literary interest … it’s vastly more important than that!!
Here’s my addition to the conversation:
1_ Anything by Thomas McGuane .. but especially The Longest Silence. This is a book title one should read, ponder and practice.
2_ Paul Quinnett’s books: Pavlov’s Trout (the quintessential book on Outdoor Ethics!); Darwin’s Bass and Fishing Lessons (should be requisite for anyone taking to the water! Paul is a clinical psychologist and developer of the QPR (Question, Persuade & Refer), Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention program. Paul knows a thing or two about the benefits of fly-fishing!
3_ M.R. Montgomery’s, Many Rivers to Cross .. wonderfully imaginative – yet at times, heart rending – a culinary delight of Western fishing for it’s vanishing native lands, vistas, ecosystems and it’s most desirable, cold-water citizens.
4_ Anything by David James Duncan .. most notably for it’s popularity – The River Why. But, if you’ve not read his book, My Story as Told By Water – you have not found the reason for WHY, Maclean could write, “I am haunted by waters.” Read it and you, too, will find your explanation.
5_ Every word written by John Gierach! PERIOD. The guy is a veritable Pied Piper of Fly Fishing Story. There are few writers – from any genre – whom I can read and re-read their work – on any page, at any time – for any length of time … and enjoy it every time. This magical aura surrounding Gierach’s writing never ceases to amaze me. He’s constant in his ability to addict the reader.
6_ And – not because this book is a piece of literary wonder, but because it keeps me in remembrance of a fine man, whom I miss very much: Tight Lines, Bright Water Water- by Dave Engerbretson. It’s a good read about a man who loved, life and enjoyed helping others do the same: in all aspects possible in the grand outdoors: freshly mowed backyard or deep wilderness. There are still times- when I find it hard to believe I cannot just email or call this jolly fellow – my good friend – of such incredible aquatic pursuance knowledge. So, I annually re-read this book… and regularly scan it for tidbits of remembrance. It’s a good habit that I shall continue to nurture.
If there’s a special outdoors/fishing/fly-fishing/hunting or whatever person, who has impacted your life; who is no longer living: if they’ve written a book – or if only a card, letter or left you with a recording or a simple phone message: revisit it: often. Recall their ‘voice’; that energy that made them special in your life; to your life. Keep their flame alive for you. Then, Pass It On, to light the way for others. Pass On… their remembrance to others, so they too, can get to know your special people. Everyone needs to get to know special people. This is a priceless gift to the future.
Carpe Diem ! Seize every moment, every minute of every day – do so with gusto – and renew the definition of:
“…fly-fishing is such a magical place, with magical moments, made more wonderful, daily… by the magical relationships… between, man, water, fish, feather and fur.” – Sam Stovepipe, Sage of Gar Island
Keep the passion going. Read. Remember. Restore.
My Life As Told By Water, by David James Duncan
The River Why, by David James Duncan
Trout Bum, by John Geirach
Pavolov’s Trout, by Paul Quinnett
Darwin’s Bass, by Paul Quinnett
Fishing Lessons, by Paul Quinnett
The Longest Silence, by Thomas McGuane
Many Rivers To Cross, by M. R. Montgomery
Tight Lines, Bright Waters, by Dave Engerbretson
In today’s busy and hectic world getting together with family is harder than ever before. But it is no less an important venue. Time marches on and obeys only it’s Maker. We do not control time, but we have total control over how we use the allotment we are given. Thus, it is imperative that we make good use of it while we can.
Reunions are those events that allow family and friends to gather, in one place, to reunite and share live stories. The reunion is the place where the younger generation is proctored in such things as family history, stories – true and otherwise – and to see, first-hand, just how the Family Unit functions when its various pieces are in one place.
None of us come from perfect families. So we’ll never know a perfect reunion. But this is no reason to not have one. In fact, it’s the very reason we NEED reunions. They teach of our strengths and our weaknesses. Knowing these vital elements of ourselves, makes us stronger; individually and collectively.
So take time this year to plan a ‘fueling’ of your Family Heritage. Plan a reunion. Attend that reunion. And like most families there are two-sides to every story… meaning, a marriage brings in two or more families that require renunions. Don’t leave anyone out. Because every part makes up the whole picture. Children will be left clueless as to dynamics that may have dealt them a difficult hand, without a full accounting for their, and their families’, past.
As for me and my family, the past year has been one of excitement, happiness and sadness. I regained a brother, acquired a grandson and lost an uncle in my wife’s family. My brother and I are orphans now since our parents are both deceased. As well, both of our grandparents are gone. Most of our aunts and uncles are also gone. So, our ‘reuniting’ was an especially happy occassion. In a couple of months our family will add another new member as my brother’s youngest son and his wife will have a baby.
Time continues to march forward. If we pick up our packs and march with it, gleaning daily all that we can from it and giving in return to the wealth we have been blessed, we will enjoy the time we have – and have left. Oh, there are always regrets in life, but one of them need not be the regret of letting time get by with reuniting with Family. That is completely in our control.
Here is a short media piece with images from my recent reunion with my brother and meeting my new sister-in-law.
“Who are you?”
Now, before you begin formulating an answer, give that question some time to run loose amid your neuronic synapses. Just let it run for a while — free-reign — letting it muster it’s own steam and scratching away its own path.
While it’s doing that – think about this:
“Can you tell anyone else the names of your great-great grand parents, where they were born, the names of their parents and their off-spring?”
If you cannot do this – do you really think that cut-loose-messenger, running amuck through your brain -desperately searching for the information on Who You Are - will be able to gather the truth about YOU?
OK. So we’re slumping a bit in our chair now. Go ahead, lift yourself back up and wrap your grey matter around this one.
“What do you know about the piece of land you live on right now? Yes, no matter where it is – or what it is. Whether you own it or not, can you tell another person the history – any history – even if it’s only 10 years old – about that piece of land?”
Hmm. 0 for 2 are we? Ah, I see, not everyone is in a state of ‘heritage shock’.
There’s are a small nugget forming in the far corner, who will attempt to expatiate – at least in part- the aging components forming the history of where they currently reside.
Those of you among that special group may well, also, harbor an informed sense of your own personal heritage.
To those of you who possess such rare treasures, we uncover our heads, bow low toward you in admiration and beseech of you only one thing:
“Pray tell us, How do you know these treasures? Can we too, acquire treasures of our past? ”
Please share with us your hopes, dreams – and yes, even fears, of connecting with your past. As well, if you have tips and details on how you have connected, directed or reconciled with the connections to your past – please, pass them on as well.
Soon, I will post the first in a series of Heritage Quotient Surveys. I will use the results of these surveys to direct my posts in this series on Heritage and Heritagekeepers and to build a better understanding of our collective Heritage Quotient (HQ) .
Thanks to all for your response and support and really look forward to your responses.
Alright, the Comment Lines are now open. I believe there will be a number of folks who will be anxious to see and hear how this topic progresses over the next few hours and days. None the least of which .. is ME!!
Following the fashion of this blogger, I’ve opened another Blog. This one makes my 15th Blog in development. Now I have to begin adding material that makes the blog worth coming to. However, I don’t believe this will be problem for this blog.
The theme of this blog is HERITAGE and I am the Heritagekeeper. This topic is far older than I am – but I have arrived at an age where I am beginning to truly understand the importance of this term. The job of the Heritagekeeper is just that – a ‘keeper’ of the Heritage. What the Heritage is depends on the subject, local, and those involved.
All actions involving the human race pass on as various elements of Heritage. That is what Heritage is about: the accumulative knowledge of how to live life sustainably generation-to-generation. The beneficial elements are passed on to add to the collective knowledge of life. Those elements that do not benefit are passed on as well, but as warnings in the hope they will be avoided. This does not always work as planned and repitition of previous troubles are once again repeated. This is why philosopher, George Santayana said, “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it”.
Heritage covers all aspects of the human trace through time. Therefore it is vital that the Heritagekeepers remain vigilant in seeing that all knowledge and the collective wisdom of Heritage is passed on from one generation to the next.
More will be forthcoming in the next few days as this is just a starter commentary.