Thursday, December 29, 2011

Literary Connections

My good friend and fellow aquatic hauntee, George Jacox, posted earlier today 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.  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:

WHY? ...

"...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

Thursday, September 01, 2011

WE ... it's about U+I

How important - TO YOU - is your ability to enjoy Outdoor Activities?

A LOT you say?  Then you have the opportunity to PROVE IT.

Read this report as of August 23, 2011 - Fly-fishing industry threatened by Congress .

Now... you MUST DECIDE: What are YOU going to DO about it? 

No, this is not a matter of letting 'others' ... bear-the-burden, carry-the-load, fight-the-fight or launch-one-for-the-Gipper... NO, it's time YOU take a personal stand, make a personal investment .. or your TIME, ENERGY and SOUL ...and if you can, money.
That's right, money is not the first thing requested, nor is it required. It is the last thing needed.

The cry of, 'Give now, to solve the problems we face...', has been the siren call that has become the ignition-booster in the fire that is ready to burst - out of control and onto the scene. This seek-for-money, has blurred our view, clouded our judgement and influenced our motives.

Money is not poison. But power is. In our society, money is the all perceived power. Remove the money and there is no power. Thus, we do not want to loose the Power of WE, when the money is gone. WE must exist and be effective through our personal investment of TIME, ENERGY and SOUL. It can be done. But will it be done. Time will tell.

So, if you think you can only give money, and leave the other three elements out - DON'T BOTHER ! You are part of the problem. WE do not need any part of the problem contaminating our efforts. Thanks, but, No Thanks.

Let's hope enough people are willing to get involved so that YOU and I can become a WE.

But, lets not deceive ourselves into thinking this all just started with the recent inductees into the inner-circle-of-great-discombobulation. It has been building for a long time.

There are also more players in the foil than the obvious reveals. This is a clear case of, "It's not what you see that hurts you nearly as much as what you do not see." There are forces, fired by agendas unrelated to each other, willing to ally to each other to accomplish their agenda-based goals. They are quite dissimilar, but the results will be identical. Those results will culminate in the loss of our two most precious commodities: Freedom and Natural Resource.

That the current warning flag comes from the fly-fishing industry does not mean the rest of the outdoor heritage activities will go unscathed. EVERYONE who enjoys a nice walk into the woods, meadows, plains, mountains, or deserts - as a refreshing break from the daily grind - is under-the-gun.

Whether you're just a casual stroller, bird-watcher, weekend or obsessed fisherman, occasional or life-long hunter, competition junky, or a tweed-donning-purist... each and every one - regardless of purpose in the outdoors - will loose. The will be no exceptions...!

At last count, that includes roughly 90% of the entire human population. THAT! ... is a loss _TOO BIG_ to allow.
So, yeah. It's a big, scary, deal! I guess the only question left is this:  

What are YOU going to DO about it?

 

Again I will repeat: Let's hope enough people are willing to get involved so that YOU and I can become a WE.

U+I = WE

 

This formula could be translated as: Unified Individuals Working Environmentally.


That acronymous statement may seem more an oxymoron and an impossible task. It may be, but ...

Exceptional problems require exceptional thinking to produce exceptional solutions.

This would be a very good step toward an... Exceptional Outcome.


Arthur O'fieldsteam

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Remembering: If we don't, we will lose memory's values.

Tomorrow will dawn the 27th of June, 2011.  Once again we have entered summer in the northern hemisphere. It's getting hot and in many places remains unseasonably wet; while others are equally dry. In the southern hemisphere, the seasons are plowing into the winter months. The exact opposite of us in the northern version.

But for me, it's not of season that my mind wanders.  No, it's to an anniversary.  One that I do not cherish. Rather I loath. It brings me only sorrow and the reminder of a loss I am still not able to deal with.  Three months ago tomorrow ... on the 27th of March of this year, one of the best friends I've ever had, passed away - after nearly month in hospital after suffering a stroke while riding his bike.

There is not a day that passes; oft times many moments during each day; where I am not reminded of the intense friendship I had with Paul Lindenberg of Johannesburg, South Africa. Paul and I never met, face-to-face, in real-time.  We met online by an act of serendipitous fortune and developed a friendship as strong as any I've been privileged to know in a F2F world.

My world has not stopped, but it has been severely crippled.  I can only imagine how these past three months have been for his wife Lindsay, sister Stephanie and close relatives. I know, as member of the legions of friends  on six continents, that Paul's death has had a profound and moving effect on many of us!  I hear weekly from many of these friends; several a communal friends of mine as well.  Some I hear from a couple of times a week.  We all share the loss of Paul in common.  None of us have gained any form of grip on this loss.  We've just learned to 'live with it'... as one might say.

I have a very strong spiritual root base, so I have that to hold onto for solitude and guidance. But nothing exists to relieve the pain of loss. And - in my way of thinking - nothing should.  No one wants to suffer the pain of loosing a dear friend or relative. However, those of us who are no novice to the experience, understand the long-term prospect does offer a benefit for our lives and others.  Loss does make the heart grow fonder.

In remembrance of Paul, I post here - for the first time - the memorial I wrote about Paul. I was honored that his family chose to read it to those gathered for his memorial service.

Remembering is a labor of need. We need to remember.

If we do not work at keeping the memory of people, places  and events, they will fade from our consciousness and we may loose the most valuable essence of our relationships or experiences.  This would be a most sad affair.  This is what the heritagekeeper lives for: inspiring others to see and engage in the importance in remembering their past and passing it forward to generations to come.

I want others to know there was a man of vision, talent, generosity, integrity and life ... who walked among us, but is no longer.  Yet his memory is still very much alive and is worth being lit from time-to-time to remind of WHOM he was, is, and will always be in our hearts and minds.

Remember your loved ones; your friends; your close acquaintances who are no longer with you. Pass on to others their memory and the art of heritagekeeping will also be passed along as a treasure to generations to come.


Memorial to Paul Lindenberg ...


my friend, my colleague, my bruI write this memorial, in a most saddened state of being.  Paul Lindenberg’s passing on Sunday 27 MAR came as a shock... a horrible shock.

PAUL

Paul was a consummate professional in whatever he took on to do. His photography was tight, thoughtful, engaging, informative and down-right enjoyable. His skills as a computer programmer were second to none.

Paul loved photography. It didn't matter if the subject was someone on a city street, a sleek aircraft slipping though the air, a partially hidden antelope in the bush, a kid 'hot-doggin' it on the BMX track, the sleekest new bike or motorcar in production on a show block, or a newly minted wonder of the floral world, Paul loved taking photos of them all.

His love for all forms of life that could be framed in his viewfinder; people, places, events, city life to wildlife and the wilds of all places in between the heavens and the earth, were exhibited throughout his photographic work.

A tour of Paul's Red Bubble account shows the level of his photographic prowess. Whatever he pointed his lens at was presented to the viewer in a most pleasing and engaging manner. You could not walk away from one of Paul's photos. You left when it let you go.

Paul maintained an exceptional gallery of images on his Flicker account, as well; known there as the SpotlightKid. The pages upon pages of this gallery are filled with numerous images of his expanded technique and experienced photographic eye.

Paul was also well known, respected and admired among the aviation community in Johannesburg. His fame took on an international flavor and following with the launch of his eMagazine: Le Cirque Volant. His capture of all manner of aviation transport, has been admired for years.  Many of his friends were of his shared passion for Planespotters. His absence from that community is now sorely missed.

PAUL and Me
I have been meeting people online for over twenty-five years now. I have a near 20 year membership in one online group, devoted to Fly Fishing. One of my good friends from that group, sometime around 1993 wrote of the people whom he had become acquainted with - on that group - were in his words, Friends Not Yet Met.  He took that saying from a William Butler Yeats quote,

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven't yet met.”

Odd, I can hardly imagine a time when I did not know Paul Lindenberg. Yet, there was a lot of time I did not know he even existed. My loss. Truly.  He, Paul, became for me, the epitome of a, Friend Not Yet Met.

Paul and I met through the social community devoted to image sharing, called Flickr, in February of 2007. I was searching for images of trout and fly-fishing for an art project I was developing. One return in my search turned up a screen-shot of a database for fly-fishing. I clicked and saw the profile handle, Spotlightkid. Details of the profile said this Spotlightkid was from South Africa. I thought, “What? Fly-fishing in South Africa? For what, carp?” I had an education coming.

I had NO IDEA just how much I’d enjoy it.

Going back over the archive of communication between us - and it is vast! - I have been astounded - no, SHOCKED! - at just how fast we moved on ideas and project concepts.

Unfortunately, due to health problems rapidly engulfing me at the time, I near as quickly, fell off the radar screen. Off and on for the next year and a half, I struggled to keep up with the projected plans. I was constantly falling behind and into the black-hole of depression and inaction and I knew in my heart, disappointing to Paul.

That really hurt.  It still does.  It always will.  But I will not let this feeling go negative. Instead I will direct it to positive ends. That would have been what Paul would have wanted.

Through it all; the darkness of depression, isolation, and disappointment; came this voice of calm and support in a most intriguing South African accent,

“Yea, Bru! You makin’ it okay there, Jimmy?”.

To which I would try to reply in positive kind. Despite my black cloud of despair being as obvious as the proverbial ‘wort’, Paul would pop back in with something like,

“No matter bru. You’ll get it straight. No rush. Hundred percent, eh! Say, let’s pop over and watch the flat-dogs ‘round a watering hole on the cam. What say?”

Or, we’d just take a tour of Africa in his photos or the online galleries of his or of photographic friends or associates. Regardless, he would pull my blithering butt right out of the mud hole and up onto dry ground and he’d  once again show me the daylight.

Paul is the only person on earth who ever called me Jimmy... and got by with it. I never liked that juvenile version of my first name, but somehow, when Paul said it, it just ... felt , well... welcome. And that's how it will remain. Paul will continue to be the one and - ONLY ONE - whom will ever call me by that name. And I will treasure it - always.

These are life experiences one does not forget. Something we miss to the utmost-of-missing, when they are gone.

It's here where these words of singer Joni Mitchell’s, Big Yellow Taxi - come roaring back into painful focus. From the chorus, the words burn deep and bring stark attention the need for diligence in making the most of everyday with those whom we care.

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone

Paul and I shared a keen interest in so many of the same things in life. Yet, growing up where we did, with such vast differences in our pasts, and our respective parts-of-the-world, life could not have placed us on more juxtaposed paths. Our life experiences were vastly different. Yet, none of the differences mattered. We had far too much alike - in common - to let any outlier bother us.

Our connection was immediate. We hit-it-off from the first keystroke.

I shall forever miss Paul and his quick uptake on any idea I would present. We had this incredible, Yin-Yang Thing going on. I’d mention an idea and he’d fill in the missing part. And we’d do the same in reverse. It was a bit spooky at times. But who cared?  We sure didn’t. It was just too much fun!

Oh, yes. I miss that immensely. I’ve missed it since the day I got the news of his accident. And that miss will not soon depart. On one hand I am so tired of hurting. I want my friend back. But, on the other, I really don’t want the pain to leave.

I’m afraid of forgetting him.

Paul and I went on dozens of ‘digital hunts’. We scoured the Internet in search of story ideas. We’d look for photos, videos, blog posts, and other digital tracks of interesting uses - of the newly developing digital technology - and their display. We’d share our finds in emails and then take ‘live hunts’.  While connected via Skype, we'd take off across the pans, savannas, mountains, forests, deserts, oceans and urban landscapes of the Internet in search of our quarry: Hot new digital species and their environments. We had a grand time and found such incredible places. All the while sharing the finds together.

This is how all relationships form. Common interests. Common dreams. Common goals. When accomplished  together, over a period of time, participants become common friends.  For some, as Paul and I, the result  unfolds in an uncommon friendship. We became, as his native South Africans say... Bru.

There is no way I can forget Paul.

Every time I log into my regular haunts .. Paul's name and photo will always be there. It is painful to see these memory icons now.  But I know, that in-due-time, the pain will be replaced by an extremely comforting awareness of having my  Bru there with me, again, in all those places we dug for digital treasures together.

In December 2009 I met another Red Bubble member, by the name of Pieter Zaadstra owner of Zaadstra Art Gallery, in Gravelly Beach, Tasmania. I formally introduced Pieter to Paul - via a Skype call - in April 2010 and immediately we became a trilogy of ideas, collaboration and projects.

Paul and I had formed our publishing group eDIGImag within the first few months of 2007. It languished between my illness and recovery. Now,  Pieter formally tossed his lot in with us in early 2010, and before long the Three eDIGImigos had hatched a reall doozey of an idea, for bringing Pieter into the mix, called ZaadTrek.

The engines roared. We were dizzily cranking out ideas and plans for the next 10 years! Yes... 10 years. ZaadTreks to highlight the launch of our flagship publication, LAT.LON. After a long discussion on where to begin - we all agreed, South Africa would be a perfect fit. Plans were launched.

Then we were all struck with a tragic news report. Paul’s brother-in-law, sister Stephanie’s husband, David Tennant, owner/founder of Dave Tennant Safaris. had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

The three of us watched through Paul’s conversation and regular reports, as David fought  long and courageously, but eventually losing his battle for life in August 2010. It was for me... another - Friend Not Yet Met - that shall go forever, unmet.

Pieter landed in South Africa in November of last year (2010), spending 3 weeks visiting areas Paul had procured accommodations and access to. Pieter wandered about collecting data that would become part of our production plan: One book each year, for the next five (5) years and eMags expanding on the areas covered, delivered on a monthly basis. We were set to Premiere launch in April 2011.

Life is learning how to deal with unexpected interruptions along the linear timeline. But explosions like the loss of Paul … well, those just stop the timeline completely.

Pieter, at least, had opportunity to meet Paul. For this, I am quite happy. I am however saddened that I did not - nor, will now - have such a luxury. Another, Friend Not Yet Met, I’ll not meet.

Paul and I were kindred spirits. We shared so much in common that any difference was rendered, invisible.

Such a kinship of mind and kindred of spirit is truly rare. If you or I can experience this pleasure but once in a lifetime, then we must consider ourselves extremely blessed. And I do. I truly do. But still, it does not keep me from feeling robbed of future years, sharing unique and wonderful experiences with such a unique person as Paul.

That truly hurts.

What am I to do now...? This is a question I keep asking myself. The void is deafening.

Please, DO remember Paul's family in your thoughts and prayers. This is a very difficult time for them.

As well, don't forget Paul. Visit his RedBubble, Flickr, and many other sites across the Internet to constantly refresh your mental picture of Paul, his work, his legacy and what he will always mean to you.  I will have a complete list of Paul's, online presence, on the eDIGImag site.

Keep the Spotlightkid alive in your hearts and memories. Keep Harry Black running through the brush and engaging his audience with excitement and life.

And do not forget to keep all the others: Yes, those whom all of us have lost - to whatever tragedy before their time ... or in their due time. Keep them alive in your hearts, your memory and tell others -OFTEN- of how much you care for them. Share their stories and importance - in your life - with others.

Pass on their lives and legacy to the future. Keep the heritage of their Spotlights burning bright.

Thank you Paul.

I WILL keep your Spotlight burning. In my feeble hand, your Spotlight will tremble for a time. But I do hope and pray, that, in-that-time, I shall be able to hold your memory steady.

Your light - your life - may have left us, but your Light - that wonderful part of you that inspired, caressed, excited and warmed us with your pleasant demeanor, catchy character, charm and wit - that Light, we will keep lit and it will go forth.

The only OUT your Light shall see, will be when it is being sent OUT to those whom we contact. Where ever we go, to whomever we connect, they too, shall know a bit of the Light that was - and will always be - the Spotlightkid.

Till another time and place. I will remember. I will tell. The story of the Spotlightkid and Harry Black.

The man who was, is and always will be my colleague, my friend, my Bru - Paul Lindenberg.

Your bru ... les ‘jimmy’ booth



Saturday, June 11, 2011

Words of Endearment

WORDS ... it is said, have launched ships, made and brought down nations and have inspired all, from kings to the common man.  They are the currency of communication.  As the old saw says, "Clothes make the man.", similarly words make the character of any person.  For how we speak is more important that what we speak. Because what we speak is constructed of the How.

In my life words are a most important commodity. They are, after all one part of my biotope of creativity. I do enjoy creating imagery with the combination of words.  Thus, there are sources of words which are especially important ... even dear to me.

My family is a source of such words.  My wife is my dearest friend and most invested colleague in life. She and I also share in the delights of being permanent partners in - post-parenting - for a fabulously wonderful young man.  His offspring are the combination of his efforts and the woman whom he married and has become his best friend and colleague and our daughter. From their committed friendship have sprung two (thus far) children; the apples of all our eyes.  Those two darling offspring are our most treasured treasures.  They are Brooklyn and Wyatt.

BBW or, Before Brooklyn 'n Wyatt, there were many words, along with their connected moments, for which my wife and I consider as most treasured moments.  Such things as the first 'I love you'; and the "Yes!" to an engagement request; and the "I do." promissory of a life-long commitment of love and devotion.  Then as parents, the first words of our son, "Mommy", "Daddy". To a lessor extent for us - but monumental to both sets for grandparents - hearing his first terms of 'grand' applied to them and the follow-up whimsies he sent forth.  As he grew and expressed his mind; even in the times of disagreement; we saw in his words, the character of the man he would become.  The vocabulary he grew up with was not tainted in words that bring embarrassment and shame. But, rather with words that uplift, encourage and speak to a higher focus.  He has, in life thus far, mirrored the pictures painted by those words.  The pleasure we as parents derive from this, flows in an unspoken, yet not wordless, vocabulary of love and respect.  For a parent, it truly - doesn't get any better than this!
Over the past 8 1/2 years - the time since Brooklyn came on the scene - my wife and I have been adding an entire lexicon of words we use to bring smiles, tears, warm-fuzzies, and moments of pure joy to our lives. Then 2 1/2 years later, our family increased by one, when Master Wyatt came along.  He has been a remarkably wonderful addition; both to life and the now expanding B&W Lexicon.

Utterly astounding, it is, how a simple phrase such as, "That's not right!"; or a word like "Grandpa?"; can usher in both a concrete point of how to live a treasured life, or just warm the cockles of the heart. All the while bringing a smile - that heartily competes with the brightest of sunrises - on our faces.  But it happens: daily!

Our B & W Lexicon of Endearing Words and Phrases is filling up with such treasures as:
  • "Oh Grandpa..."
  • "One time..."
  • "I do!"
  • "Will it hurt you?"
  • "She's over me."
  • "I don't like cauliflower!"
  • "Keep it in your mind."
  • "Are you pulling my leg?"
  • "It's just my 'magination'."

With many more to come.

To you, the reader, there is little emotion stirred from the list above - unless you have a direct connection of your own.  For me however, it's a world of metaphor. Each word and phrase telling an entire story.  One which each time I see - I am taken back-in-time to the moment the memory was made.  This is the power of words.  Ad a series of musical notes to the mix and the memory is encased in neural concrete.

The name of our granddaughter, Brooklyn, for me conjures an entire book; literally. The story came to mind the minute I heard what her name would be. It has nothing to do with an urban landscape, nor the bridge so associated.
The scenic memory takes root in the first five letters of her beautiful name: BROOK.  As an avid fly-fisher, I am also a lover of the colder water fish known to the fraternity of trout lovers as Salvelinus fontinalis. Or more commonly known as the Brook Trout. Not actually a trout, but a member of the char family, the brook trout is to the cold water fishes, what the wood duck is to waterfowl: shear unadulterated beauty.  A magnificent array of color and beauty. My granddaughter is well named.

Within a few days of Brooklyn's birth I began fantasizing non-stop about a time in the not-too-distant future, when she would begin asking me to take her fishing; to teach her to fly-fish; and the days upon days of joy and excitement the two of us would share in pursuit of the finer, more artistic part of the wonderful event called fly-fishing.

My fantasy melded into the story of a little girl's journey along a stream in which a little brook trout emerges from it's egg sack learning to fend for itself; growing into a young parr and making it's way in the watery world of the stream, regularly visited by the little girl and her family. 

The opening scene has the little girl riding in her car seat, along the winding road that parallels the mountain stream in which the little brook trout has just emerged.  As the family car passes over the bridge spanning the soon-to-be-home of the tiny trout, the little girl; unable yet to speak or know the world about her, sees the colors of the newly emerged leaves and the light as it gently filters down from the blue sky above and she smiles.  She has no idea why, but a feeling of comfort, warmth, belonging and home come over her.  She's far too young to understand any of this beyond the sense of comfort and it makes her smile.  Interestingly, this same feeling washes over her every time their family car passes over this bridge. No other. Just this bridge.

Three years later as she and her daddy walk along the stream, just down from the bridge, the fly her daddy had just dropped into a feeding lane vanishes. A few minutes later, the little girl and the now 3 year old brook trout meet.  Immediately she falls in love with the brook trout; she wants to take it home. Her daddy tells her about the value of being selective and letting the trout go back to the water and live; to make more trout and maybe she'll visit again by taking another of daddy's flies. The trout, knowing nothing of love, but a lot about fear of predators, does not - when looking at the little human - feel the fear she has of the warm thing gripping her.  The moment is brief, but forever in the minds of both entities.

The story continues to tell the interaction of the brook trout and the little girl, culminating in the day, 3 years later, when the little girl catches the little brook trout and the little girl must make her first life and death decision.  You will have to read the book (and I will have to finish writing it) to find out the answer. 

All of this washed over me -again and again - like an ocean wave.  Each time bringing in more information, idea and energy. Somehow, I just knew Brooklyn would become my fishing companion.  And now in her 8th year, she is beginning to make a move in that direction. 

I was greeted with a phone call a few weeks back with a request from Miss Brooklyn. "Grandpa?" she asked. 

"Yes, Miss Brooklyn, what can I do for my precious little lady?"

"Grandpa, would you take me fly-fishing?" 

At that moment, somewhere in the realms of my heaven, angelic choirs lit off into a mighty Reggae line and the steel
drums echoed among the mountain tops!  Music to my ears!  Bingo! I'd hit the lottery!!  All of this and a thousand times more.

"Why, sure thing princess. When do we go?", I was able to gasp out.

"Oh, Grandpa, it's still too cold. But I want to go as soon as we can.", she intoned.  

"We'll do it fist time we have opportunity. Maybe when you and Wyatt come stay with us this summer. How about that?", I added.

"Oh, can't we do it sooner? I really want to go fly-fishing.", she pleaded unnecessarily; I was totally sold!

"We will go fly-fishing at the very first opportunity and we'll do it as often as we can and you want to continue. How's that?", I committed.

"OK. That sounds great. I hope it's really soon.", she said with great plans and hope.

"Me, too, sweetie. Me too!", I said concretely.

Unlike the verse that greeted me, when I would take the final drink from my favorite Donald Duck whistle cup as a kid, "All Gone".  This story, instead winds into another word phrase of memorable importance.  I hear the musical refrain, the song which ushered my wife and I from our marriage ceremony, courtesy of Karen and Richard Carpenter, and remember - "We've Only Just Begun".

Oh! Have we ever ...just begun.