Like many, the family decked the halls, well, put up the Christmas tree and decorations in the living room and den, recently. While I enjoy the season, I would much rather watch then move everything around and hang ornaments. I’m not a Scrooge mind you, it is just not my favorite thing to do.
Afterwards I was able to get some bow time, throwing some arrows out of the new RhinoX from Ben Pearson Archery. It did not take long to set up, and after shooting groups with the arrows touching from 50 yards, I knew to start shooting at different spots. Due to some experiences in competition from last year, I also decided I may need to get some bench time and build some more Carbon Express XJammer arrows.
With the Wolfpack’s dominating win over the Heels (sorry, but I did go to school at the old school in Raleigh), I convinced myself to decorate my arrows with the brightest red fletching I could find. Bohning’s Blazer vanes fit the bill.
After setting up the fletching jig, organizing the glue, arrows, pin nocks, target points and vanes, I was all set to go. Then I lost myself. I lost myself in the task at hand, but in a very good way. Stress flowed from my shoulders as my only concerns were the proper placement of the vanes on the shaft of the arrow. I marveled at the symmetrical degrees of angle from each vane as looking at them from the sides and top.
It was as if I had painted a picture, except it was something I would be using rather than displaying. After finishing up the last of the arrows, I suddenly felt a sense of emptiness. I had put them all together, and now I just had to allow the drying time. I had no need for any more arrows.
But I had a revelation. Through Facebook or Instagram or Twitter I have seen several fishing world contacts, specifically those that focus on fly fishing, tying their own flies. I have always had the image in my mind of the wife and I growing old, settling down on some lake or river front land away from everything, and spending the rest of my days either fishing, hunting, or dabbling in tying my own flies.
I know, it sounds a little weird, but if you were to spend a day with me you would see that I am what it sounds like. Weird, quirky, crazy, are all good adjectives to describe how I am about some things.
The bench, with a small magnifying glass looking down upon an arm with an alligator clip holding deer hair, squirrel hair, or maybe even something more exotic such as pheasant feathers with a couple of strings wrapped here and there with a precision set of tweezers hanging from the ends offers than Hemingway-ish detail to my image of my latter days.
After tying one I am particularly proud of, I promptly tie one last knot; this one to the fly line tippet.
I step outside and walk down the water front. I begin working the rod and line eventually unloading the rod so the fly makes a presentation to the fish below. The end scene is not one of my bringing in anything. The result is just the satisfaction of being there.
If there is anything I envy, it is that losing of oneself into the act of just doing. No thoughts, no stress, just doing. I can only hope and pray my days end in that fashion.