The past few weeks, months, have been loud. There's been a constant flow of changes, information, confrontation, and anxiety. Granted, I'm partly to blame for this noise due to my perpetual listening to NPR; although, I very much enjoyed the piece on eating a taco everyday.
It's been getting more difficult to "quiet the noises" with the influx of negative opinions and biases formed and executed through social media. The anxiety of life had start to become so crippling (probably self inflicted) that enjoying the little things began to get difficult.
Yesterday started out that way.
I just wanted to get away, find some quiet. The river was not particularly quiet. People were out and about fishing, hiking, riding their bikes, they seemed to be everywhere, and I'm so happy they were out enjoying our National Parks, but I just really wanted some peace.
And then, it happened, the quiet came.
When it snows, the whole world gets still. There's a silence that covers everything like a giant, soft, gray blanket.
Unfortunately, none of it stuck and it didn't last more than a few hours, but it gave me that peace that I so needed.
It's funny how what you need you always receive when in nature,
whether it be a "win" and adrenaline rush or just a few hours of peace.
"Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread."
By the way, yesterday was Edward Abbey's birthday.
If you you don't know him, you need to.
Over the past month I've had the privilege of working with some amazing rod builders and creating some incredibly unique rods socks! This has really been a phenomenal experience and I'm looking forward to more builders and more socks.
Thanks to the design initiative one builder had, I'm now offering both flannel and flannel lined socks as well. They were such a great pleasure to work on and really add a uniquely vintage look.
Flannel lined socks start out at $35.00 a piece.
The traditional, un-lined socks start out at $25.00 a piece.
Discounts are given for multiple orders or for builders.
I'm currently taking orders for this month.
A special thanks to all the builders out there, y'all have been great!
Please feel free to send me an e mail
or fill out the form below
Dear Mr. President,
Congratulations on becoming the 45th President of the United States. May you guide our country with wisdom and courage. You won the democratic election and I pray that you succeed, for if you fail we all fail.
I'm writing this letter for one cause, one concern, that means a great deal not just to me, but to many Americans. Public Lands.
In our great country, we have some of the most vast and diverse lands that any country or continent has ever seen. We currently have the right to get out and explore these environs; whether it be hiking mountains, fishing rivers, exploring beaches, biking the parkways or even standing in awe at the greatness that is the Grand Canyon. These lands are also currently under attack.
I am aware that you are a business man, that your sense of self is rooted in prosperity and development, but my hope is that you recognize the fragile balance between conservation and industrialization. I believe that was President Rosevelt's thought process when designating many of these lands. While he understood the need for development, he also understood the importance of conserving nature. The importance of having an escape. Whether it be for the physical endurance of climbing Half Dome or the solitude that comes from fly fishing in the great Henrys Fork. Perhaps it's the conversation you have with God after seeing Niagara Falls or the wonder you experience when you've reached the top of Snowmass Mountains.
Public Lands, the outdoors, have the ability to accomplish a great undertaking, especially in today's politically aggressive climate. They have the ability to bring people together, to heal divides. Regardless of ethnicity, religious beliefs, political affiliations, we all escape to nature for the same reason, simply because we love it. We are so unique in this country that we have lands designated to us, that we do not have to buy overpriced permits or seek out a small corner of the world that isn't considered "private land." Here, we all own these lands, and that, in itself, is unique and special.
You've made a promise that you will make America great again, may I urge you, in this specific case, to perhaps KEEP America great.
Sincerely and respectfully,
“I fish because I love to . . . because I love the environs where trout are found . . . because I suspect that men are going along this way for the last time, and I for one don’t want to waste the trip . . . and, finally, not because I regard fishing as being so terribly important but because I suspect that so many of the other concerns of men are equally unimportant––and not nearly so much fun.”
― Robert Traver
I feel like a great many people have been concerned this week, primarily about the future. I'm one of those people.
The concerns of men often get in the way of living, have a way of creeping up and consuming our minds, therefore consuming our lives.
I can't be sure if fear is justified or not. I can't conclude that my concerns are great ones. I can't know anything for certain, as none of us can.
I can know that tomorrow I will go fishing, simply because I love it.
"Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love."
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Today, MLK Day, I am reminded that all is possible despite the odds.
In the upcoming days, years, we are facing an uphill battle in protecting our forests, rivers, mountains and all of their inhabitants.
Though all may seem bleak and terrifying, we can all make a difference, no matter who you are or how small your voice may seem.
Let's learn from the tiniest of brook trout, though they may be small, they are fierce in their pursuit of life.
Our society circles around that word relentlessly. You question whether or not you've accomplished enough throughout your day, week, year. But, who defines an accomplishment.
In social media, even those who value experience over possessions have fallen into this same trap. We compare our adventures, magnitude of mountains, the size of fish... our "experiance" accomplishments.
Jacob and I escaped to the river this week for an entire day. Plenty of coffee and peanut butter sandwiches in tow.
It's was a cold and windy day, the kind of wind that throws your fly back in your face and cold that won't even let the sunshine. Your bones ache, your fingers burn and you've all but lost all feeling in your toes. But you keep on, because you can see all the trout, they're right there.
By the end of the day, we had managed only a couple of mid-sized, stocked, rainbows to the net. Nothing to brag about, nothing to show off, nothing to feel accomplished about. On the ride home, Jacob and I went over the day, fly selection, weather, fronts, etc... and, the accomplishments of the day.
This is what got me thinking.
No, I don't have any phenomenal photos to show off on Instagram. I can't go home and brag about my trophy brown, but does that constitute an unaccomplished day?
Of course not!
Being an accomplished or respected angler had nothing to do with your ability to catch 20, 20-inch trout on every fishing trip. Some days you're going to get "skunked," it happens. If we're totally honest it happens a lot more often than any of us like to admit.
So, here's to troutless days, but going back and knowing that the amount of trout to the net has no constitution on your value as an angler.
Here are to mountains, big and small.
Here's to opting outside and adventuring for yourself and knowing that your adventure is just as magnificent as any other.
Because you chose to adventure, to climb that mountain, to chase that trout, and that, in itself, is a great accomplishment.
There's a calm, quiet when it snows. The whole world seems to stop for just a little while. You can't hear much of anything other than the soft falling of snow. Everything is gray and bright all at the same time. It's a wonderous thing.
Here, in North Carolina, we're lucky to get one, maybe two good falls of snow a year. I suppose that's actually a good thing considering the whole world shuts down. Being that we live on a "rural" route, our roads are very last priority for treatment and scraping. And so, we spent the weekend indoors, mostly.
We walked around our little corner of the world, exploring, noticing the beauty of it all.
The longer I sat in the house, the more stir crazy I got; and so, the relentless pursuit of having Jacob show me how to tie flies ensued.
The kitchen table soon looked like there had been a war of thread and feathers.
I managed to attach feathers to a hook, beyond that, I'm not sure.
Here's to snow days and the relentless pursuit of learning new things!
This week, despite the greatest of efforts by so many, congress voted to "recalculate" the way in which they can sell off Federal Lands to either the states or private entities.
It was a truly horrific event.
You can read about what the Washington Post had to say on the specifics of the vote here.
When Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt became president in 1901 one of his main goals was conservation and therefore created the United States Forest Service. By doing this, Teddy erected 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reserves, 4 national game preserves, 5 national parks, and 18 national monuments. By the end of his presidency, he had protected over 230 million acres of Public Land. These are 230 acres our deeply conservative president set aside so that all of us would have to opportunity and ability to enjoy them without the threat of industrialization and greed.
Today, those lands are not nearly as safe as they once were.
You can read more about the history of protected lands and President Teddy here.
I don't spend a lot of time writing about specifics and facts and "how-to's," mostly because I don't feel I'm very good at it. However, today it felt warranted.
A few months ago I published a post about Public Lands and how much they mean to me. I'm not sure if it impacted anyone, caused them to do some research, infuriated them, but I hope that it did, just as I hope this post does.
NPR did a wonderful story concerning the issue on Tuesday, you can listen to it here.
Yesterday, Chris Wood, of Trout Unlimited wrote an excellent piece on the peril that we're now facing. Please take the time to read it, found here.
Today I don't have any fun, heartfelt fishing stories. Nor do I have a plethora of beautiful trout pictures and bendy bamboo.
Today I only have words, words that I hope will have some impact.
However, I will leave you with one photo, of the tiniest of trouts, possibly insignificant to most, caught on Public Lands. I hope that you will find a fire inside of you to protect it just as I have.
It was the best of days.
65 in January.
We literally chased trouts downstream all day.
Not one broke off.
Take note; to bend to life, chase it, and not break.
Jacob is a fly fishing guide with a passion for conservation and brook trout. He is an accomplished rod builder and restorationist.
Jillian is an outdoor photographer and blogger, using her voice for Public Lands and Cold Water Conservation. She specializes in trying to out fish jacob whenever she puts the camera down.