Then Tie On

I was in a non-productive funk, unsure of where my next blog post would be comingDSCN2387 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.

DSCN2323I 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.

DSCN2395Resettling 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 DSCN2471evolve 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.

DSCN2456“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.

DSCN2343Sounds simple maybe, and sometimes it is. More often, there’s no easy fix.

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.

About rivertoprambles

Welcome to Rivertop Rambles. This is my blog about the headwaters country-far afield or close to home. I've been a fly-fisher, birder, and naturalist for most of my adult life. I've also written poetry and natural history books for thirty years. In Rambles I will mostly reflect on the backcountry of my Allegheny foothills in the northern tier of Pennsylvania and the southern tier of New York State. Sometimes I'll write about the wilderness in distant states, or of the wild places in the human soul. Other times I'll just reflect on the domestic life outdoors. In any case, I hope you enjoy. Let's ramble!
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8 Responses to Then Tie On

  1. Les Kish says:

    With hunting season over, and cold on the horizon, fly tying season is upon us here too. I”ll be doing the same later this week.

  2. what better way to start with a legendary album by peter green and the early Fleetwood Mac. sometimes you need a green manaeeshee (sp) to get you out of the funk.

    Good idea to take a walk through a deer woods beforehand to burn a few cals. way to go.

  3. Thank you, Jack, for weighing in on this! Yeah, a walk in the deer woods at this time of year can put an edge on your blood flow, but not in the same way as facing the Green Manalishi (would it make a good name for a steelhead fly?). I’ve seen and heard a lot of music in my day, but when I listen to or watch (on You Tube) Green and band performing the G.Man. in the 1970 version(s)– it’s important to acknowledge that version as opposed to a slew of others that would come along– I think that creative rock truly hit a peak of some kind. Holy crap. Anyhow, it’s great to know you’re a fan, and please stop in again.

  4. Alan says:

    Fleetwood Mac, and tying flies. I prefer some sooth jazz when tying Rangeley streamers.
    I’ve been spending time in those deer woods, a beautiful place to do some serious thinking.

  5. It sounds like the deer woods (dark and deep) have been good for you, Alan. As for jazz, I too enjoy it for a tying session. Miles Davis, most recently.

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