by Andy Weddington
Friday, 15 May 2015
"Rivers and the inhabitants of the watery elements are made for wise men to contemplate and for fools to pass by without consideration." Isaac Walton
Twenty-six and a half plus hours rolling byways, highways, and more byways and as much time afoot navigating a trout stream affords time to think.
That was last week.
One thought: Hillary Clinton. Her politics fishy. Real Fishy. She stinks. She reeks - like week-old over-cooked left over crap(pie). And she's in the mix for president? Of what?
America can do better. Reel better.
Impromptu talk aside that trout stream about what bug to next try brought up tying on an emerger - a tiny fly and sometimes (at the right time) a trout favorite - as trail fly, the dangler. Thus, the emerger rises to the top.
By definition an emerger not necessarily a bug but anything or anyone who rises to the top.
What America needs is an emerger - for reel fishy politics.
Ergo, why not our next president - that emerger - a master fly fisherman?
And not a politician who happens to fly fish. But to upside down the current paradigm - find the master fly fisherman settled in community who has the smarts, polish, temperament, and stomach for politics.
Imagine? A citizen holding elective office, serving country, then returning to their community. What a concept. Once there was the day.
Why fly fishing and the presidency are consummate complements...
A master fly fisherman understands...
1. Pattern recognition and the importance of tying precise patterns - in size, shape, and color, and, most importantly, leaving no loose ends.
2. Wading is done quietly with minimal disruption to the habitat. And never deeper than knee deep - because any deeper is fishing water.
3. Fish are not always in the 180 degrees to the front.
4. Delivery of a line - straight. And mend when necessary.
5. Try and try again and patience, finding the right mix of variables, are the fly fisherman's ally.
6. Managing depth - shallow to deep; keeping an eye on the float; being in tune with the subtlest of strikes; and knowing when to set the hook.
7. Small fish can be quickly stripped in but big ones are best played and landed on the reel.
8. Paying close attention to habitat clues e.g., sun; wind; birds; bugs; etc., solves the problem of finding fish.
9. Line in the water requires focus. Otherwise, advantage fish.
10. A net is a must - for safety; of fish and fisherman.
More there is.
How fortuitous were that fly fisherman too a master plein air painter? Outdoorsmen like Winslow Homer and Frank W. Benson first come to mind. And, of course, the master of masters (at least with a brush) John Singer Sargent.
So the painter...
1. For seeing what others do not. And never will.
2. For skill to cut through noise; see and arrange the essence; and simplify the puzzle of line, color, and shape into a coherent picture - with accuracy and speed.
3. And when red is called for it's neither reached for with timidity nor threatened but slashed on with purpose and vigor and absolute confidence. Sometimes as a line.
More there is.
So, amongst character and other core leadership traits and skills, fly fishing and plein air painting in our next president?
And let's not forget Winston Churchill, for example. He, too, wielded rod and brush. He led.
How refreshing to one day enter the Oval Office and see a fly rod gracing a wall or mantel and 1/2 box French easel placed as if fine furnishing. Both tools at the ready - to remind. To work.
So where is America's emerger?
9 x 12 in. acrylic on illus bd
Fish, especially trout, are not easily fooled. So why are people - by presidential candidates and paltry, limp (f)lie lines?
Back to Hillary Clinton. Neither fly fisherman nor painter, real fishy. Really! Murderers have been convicted with less circumstantial evidence, and without a body. Akin to a leech infested Chinese sucker fish, fillet her. Leave to flounder.
Take 53+ hours (road nor water time necessary) and, per Walton, contemplate.
Get reel, America!
Unqualified for far more than two reasons, competent, not "master," best describes my fly fishing and plein air painting. But out there somewhere is the one - the emerger (with persona to tolerate political theatre) - who's interested in the job of president then eager to go home; to again fly fish and paint. Now to find, tease, hook, and land them.