I was in a non-productive funk, unsure of where my next blog post would be coming from, and feeling boxed-in from the icy weather. One aborted post concerned the use of my wood-splitting maul versus saying no-thanks to the shopping mall and the new holiday rush.
I thought a short hike through the hills in the midst of deer-hunting season might be inspirational for a story, if I didn’t get shot. Very little happened, for better or worse, other than scaring out a few despondent deer, and talking to a couple of hunters who seemed even more despondent than their quarries… No story to be found.
Resettling in the house, I started tying flies. The boxes could always use restocking. I’ve been into soft-hackles recently. I like their sparse and elegant design, their impressionistic insect forms, and their tradition extending back to A Treatyse of Fysshnge wyth an Angle (1496), if not before. I like the fact that tying a soft-hackle fly is pretty simple. Even I can manage a reasonable translation.
I usually don’t have to worry about where my next post is coming from. Most of them evolve organically from some actual experience outside. Some of them, of course, are easier to nurture than others. But sitting at the vise, feeling stymied by the weather, I was totally uncertain of the next move– till I saw and heard the day’s facilitator.
I’d put on a record that I hadn’t listened to in years. The album was Peter Green’s “Then Play On,” the early Fleetwood Mac, from 1969. The music sounded as fresh now as it did when I plowed my way through college. It was British blues at its peak, performed by a band close to its master work, before a personnel change had the group devolve into a hugely successful, boring, rock institution.
“I’ve got things to do. I move everyday…” Of course. Just move it on. As if to say that, when direction seems unclear and no mental compass can be read, just stop and look and listen! Then play on. Go tie that fly. Rock it forward and rock it back. When the map of life lies torn and tattered at your feet, realign the roads and pathways, tape the edges back together and have another look.
I got a beer from the fridge and realigned the threads and feathers on my table. Time for another fly, perhaps a Scud, or Partridge & Yellow.
The music would play. The words would get written.