Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Private Literature

Yet another quote crossed my electronic desk this morning, this time by Aldous Huxley: “Every man's memory is his private literature.” If that’s true, and upon reflection I believe it is, then each of us has exclusive access to the greatest treasury of fly fishing literature in the world, right between our own ears.

These stories that make up this literary treasure trove are not written in words, though they may have a caption or two here and there. Rather, they are written in feelings. The adrenaline rush you get as you land a fish you’ve hunted for the past 20 minutes, the shock of wet cold clear water when you dip your hand, the staccato quiver of a rod when a fish takes, the cool wet wiggle of a fish as you release it, the twinge in your gut when your offspring catches their first fish on a fly.

These stories are written in colors. They are the colors you see when you look deep into a pool and see the merest hints of the swaying movement of a fish – or was it a weed, clear blue-brown stream water against a green-green grassy bank, the hurt-your-eyes blue sky with a turkey vulture gliding across 1000 feet up, the gold-red-brown of September leaves rustling in the breeze on the last day of the season.

These stories are written in flavors. The flavors of a warm baloney sandwich from your vest pocket after fishing for three or four hours, the cool freshness of the apple that was tucked alongside, the half warm water or Gatorade or Coke that you carried to wash it down. The gentle burn of whiskey at dusk, of a cigar with a friend in the disappearing last light of evening and the emerging half-truths of fish caught and missed.

These stories are written in sounds. Those half-truths rolling off the tongue of your buddy, those dry September leaves bouncing together before taking that last leap of life from the tree to the forest floor, the white noise of a riffle, shedding its nymphs to the fish just below, the call of a friend 150 yards away, “fish on!,” a fly line sizzling by your ear at 120 miles an hour, that whiskey burbling from the flask to the little tin cup.

The stories that make up this incredible collection belong to no one else... They are yours alone…