Thursday, June 30, 2011

Browns, Bug Bites & Beauty.

  "I knew, just as surely and clearly, that life is not a work of art,
and that the moment could not last.” 
~ Norman Maclean

Brown's Cabin, by Kendall Zimmerman

Five in stride we walked; four holding rods and one a pencil. Water and paper, our waiting canvases. An old jeep road singly filed us, divided by Western wallflowers and ordered by brome grass.

Rounding a bend in the road we came to the pond, and to a man and his son just packing up their rods. “Only a couple ‘a bumps,” the father said, “let’s see what you guys’ve got.” “Oh, I’ve got game,” Jay said walking determinedly past, like a baseball player up to bat, already swinging, already pulling out line. First cast….bump. Second cast….hooked-up! This painted him The Fisherman. John, Eve, and I spread out --assault style. Soon, more fish. We’ve got game too. And soon, the Two Bumps erased themselves from the picture….

…from this scene, where my world felt whole, centered upon this ground and comforted by uncounted time. I had been writing, drafting, and imagining this day for months now. I didn’t know how the story would be told or what the picture would look like. I didn’t know the ending. Yet I knew that whatever might be, there would be a story. I knew there would be a work of art. And, I knew it would be beautiful…..from the beginning sketch. 

I sat down and ate an apple, grazing as I gazed at four people -- a family, a moment, a work of art.....

…….into which I was now painted.

Black leeches stripped through the water, getting cheap glances and brown bites. Periods of wind mensurated casts, and fish began to rise in the off-beats. John was having the most luck. “What are they bitin’ on?” Jay whispered, the water carrying the question like an invisible tin can with a string. The end of my line. “Dries! Your Clown Shoe!” the tin can and string answered back. And soon, four pink shoes could be seen floating, walking us into late afternoon.
Risers pocked the pond like raindrops and shadows silently began their stalk of evening….

… we rounded another bend in the road.

Jay looked at me, his eyes like mirrors of the waters he loves…."This, is one of those days, Erin....this is one of those days.”  A third time echoed off a smile’s cornering lines as he looked across the pond. We must remember this, for this moment won't last. “We'll never have this day again….

...but, we will have better.”
While it’s true that life isn’t a work of art, every now and again there is a moment that is – transforming us into works of art -- beautiful lives covered with scrapes and dirt, and sunburns and ant bites. And those moments…..

….those moments will last.


  1. Wonderful,

    Love the 4 some photo.

  2. Great post. I felt like I was fishing with you. I couldn't figure out if the clown shoes comment was an actual fly or some kind of cut down. I had to read it a few times.

  3. You know, I read these things and wonderful things by others. I realize I'm older, older than most others writing.
    In 15 years I'll be 70 and hopefully still reading, able to read. I think of what, if, you and others will be writing then.
    There were writers I knew 15 years ago, good writers now gone. Not dead, not writing. They just stopped. I hope for you, for the others, that doesn't happen. I need something to do in 15 years.

    Oh yeah, nice post.

  4. Brk Trt - Many thanks, and oh, how I love that photo too...

    Clif - Thanks! I do too, but I think the first -- the picture of an unfinished masterpiece -- might be my favorite. Kendall is amazing!

    Kev2380 - Ah! I'm glad you came along! :) The Clown Shoe Caddis is one of Jay's flies....I wasn't making fun of his shoes. hehe

    Ken G. - Thank you so much for taking time to write that comment....and I guarantee you, you'll have something to read in 15 years. I'll still be writing. I can't stop. And, I've wanted to...but unsettled minds grow restless and destructive when things are not let out....when words are not written. This, is my "medication."

  5. That might be one of my favorite so far..very nice (the fish isn't bad either!!).

  6. Thoroughly enjoyable made more enjoyable by knowing you two.

  7. A pleasure to read. The photos are good to!

  8. There is a certain 'art' to fishing Erin, some of us are Michelangelo's and some of us are Picasso's.......... me i am somewhere between Rolf Harris and a three year old with a bunch of crayons LOL

    As lovely a post as ever.

  9. A truly wonderous post Erin,you paint a beautiful and vivid picture with every post.

  10. Jeff - Ah thanks! I think it was probably my favorite day out...

    Cofisher - Thank you, and I'm glad....on both accounts.

    Phillip - Many, many thanks!

    Tom - Wasn't there some phenom of a 3 year old crayon artist selling their scribbles for thousands of dollars in New York City or somewhere a few years ago? Don't lose hope. ;) And thank you for reading and the them!

    Mark - Oft times, I have been jealous of painters, of artists....but then I was reminded that we as writers do the same thing, our palettes just hold words instead of paint...

  11. I've been driving by the Loire river in France all day and I thought nothing could eclipse that experience. Then along comes 'the canyon lady' and boom, the rest of the world can sit and wait whilst a masterpiece is viewed.

    Erin, that was wonderful.

  12. Iver read and re-read a lot of your posts and your journey. This post particularly touched my heart in a special way. It painted a certain picture- One I really wanted to see.
    Sometimes I will read one of your posts and I am embarassed to comment because.. well.. what do you say? This was just really really really good. Thank you for posting this and continuing on.

  13. Erin, you are right that we never really know our stories beyond the current page. I am glad your much anticipated chapter titled "Fish Camp" turned out the way it did :-)
    Now flip the page and bugger on.

    p.s. I love Kendall's sketch.

  14. Dave - driving by the Loire river in France...? Oh my, I cannot imagine! I would love to be near that masterpiece. Many thanks for reading, and for always taking the time to leave your thoughts!

    Steve - always comment! Your words mean a lot! I'm incredibly humbled that you "read and re-read"....thank much...

    Herringbone & d.nash - haha....thanks!

    sgb - flipping the page...always another bend in the road (I don't know where I would be in adulthood without Anne of Green Gables. I really don't!)

  15. Isn't it lovely when one's expectations are so greatly exceeded. Nicely written.

  16. Thanks, Steve....and yes, it is!

  17. I really like Ken G's comment. There is a really great cohort in this "generation" of blog writers.
    I hope I'm still game in 15 years...

    and yes, great post.

  18. You're welcome Erin. I stopped painting a long time ago and never went back. I stopped writing things down a couple of times, but it didn't last long. I have no clue if what I jot down is any good, but I apparently need the outlet. It will drive you nuts if you don't have an outlet.

    There are a few others that commented whose blogs I visit and read. Like Steve, I don't always comment for pretty much the same reason. What I said above goes for all of you. I'm going to need something to read when I can no longer go stumbling around rivers. I hope a lot of you are still around.

  19. Matt - I completely agree, this community of fly fishers, of writers, is beyond anything I've ever been apart of. I love it. My thoughts are fueled by everyone's posts, and am encouraged by your comments. I too hope I'm still game in 15 years, but like Ken G said, I can't stop. Oh yes, and thanks!

    Ken G. - I stopped playing my guitar after I graduated with a degree in it. Irony, eh? I love it, but I don't need it. I need writing. I always thought music was my outlet, but have discovered differently. You're right, we need these outlets....and I very much enjoy reading yours.