I had the honor and all around good fun of accompanying my friend Art and his grand daughter on her first fly wrangling river adventure. A coordinated, focused, and good-humored teenager, she has all of the prerequisite characteristics that translate to fun behind the fly. We incorporate a night camping underneath unsettled skies to up the adventure quotient and find ourselves fortunate to be enjoying our freeze dried meals sans raindrops.
Once on the water, I am so distracted by the hope of Molly catching her first fish that I find it impossible to move down below them. I am, in fact, lucky enough to see her reel in her first rainbow and provide netting and snapshot services. We are off to a good start!
So, I end up hanging around soaking up the precious scene of generations passing joy. This is a special kind of teaching- one full of hope that the student will go on to find the friendships, the solitude, the beauty, the escape, and the acceptance that only comes with loving an activity that can never be mastered. Despite our algorithm driven obsessions to prepare with the right leader, the correct line, 14 sizes of the same fly, the outcome of our day on the water depends on a multitude of factors that do not respond to human influence. It’s a drag…and a hoot! And for a grandfather, it just might reason enough to sign up to sleep in a tent on a rainy night. This duality -loving the process despite your lack of ability to control the outcome is the cornerstone of resilience. And resilient people? Well, they tend to report high levels of happiness and meaningfulness. And don’t we all want that for the people we love? Truth be told, you know you’re extra special when someone with lots of years on their skeleton willingly, and gladly, sleeps on gravel studded ground under threat of thunder to find you a cooperative trout!
So, Molly, see you on the river… OR the field, the library, the mountain…wherever you find your joy. (Selfishly, your grandfather and I hope the river calls you back because we are usually hanging around there in waders anyway.)
Thanks for having me along!