Today is one of my very favorite days of the whole year: the last day of kids at school! YAY. It's not the "last day of school," not the last day I have to show up. I have two more of those. But I have always said school without the kids there would be a great place to work, so the next two days, I don't even mind that I still have to get up and go to work when the entire rest of the western world has been out of school for at least three weeks. (Some places have been out for more than a month. And yes, they go back in August, but not that much ahead of me. I guess we simply must have more vacations during the year than other places. I do know we all basically have a similar number of required teaching days, so that has to be where the discrepancy lies.) Anyhow, one day last week, this guy, who also happens to be the father of one of our 5th graders, came in to show the kids more about fly-tying. Our 5th graders go to an outdoor camp for three days in early June where one of the things they do is learn to tie a fishing fly. But theirs are very basic and simple. So one of my co-teachers had this guy come in to show a little more about it. Since I don't go to camp with them, AND since learning how to fly fish (of sorts - I learned that what I really want to learn is not necessarily true "fly fishing") is on my bucket list, I went over to watch and listen along with the kids.
It was truly fascinating. There is a whole entire language devoted to the sport of fishing that I simply was unaware of. I really had no idea what he was talking about most of the time, since I've never really fished, other than putting a worm on a hook and dropping my line in a lake. (I did catch one fish when I was 12 and my dad took me fishing, but I haven't spent the rest of my life pining to repeat that experience) There is a science, an art, to the whole hobby, and I loved his complete absorption in it. He is a SERIOUS fisherman.
I know I found it far more interesting than many of the kids did, but it goes along with something one of my other co-workers mentioned a couple of weeks ago. I think I was extolling, at the time, on my education while in Alaska on dog poop, and what the sled dog's poop SHOULD look like, and what to do if it didn't look like it should, and what could account for it NOT looking like it should, etc.etc .About the time her eyes glazed over, (well, that happened when I first mentioned dog poop, I guess, but bless her heart, she continued to listen anyway) she remarked, "You really do love learning new things, don't you?" And it's true, I do. I LOVE LOVE LOVE learning new things. ANY new thing, really. I eat up new 'languages', new ways of doing things, new hobbies, new experiences. I would be very unhappy to feel that I had ever stopped learning things, or stopped being excited about learning something new. So, watching him talk about the equipment needed, the types of feathers and furs he uses,and why, watching him talk about the science of creating a fly that has a tail, a body, a thorax, wings, a head and antennae, and watching him demonstrate so easily how he creates different flies was totally cool.
I think it is a hobby I might enjoy doing, someday. Not right now. It's not tops on my list, because I still have too many other things I enjoy, currently. But it is almost like a craft, the making of the flies, and I enjoy crafts. But it takes a lot of skill and practice to get them to be good enough to fool the fish. I think that's cool, too, because the more you make, the better you'd get at them. And, since I do have an interest in learning how to fish with flies, it is related and connected for me.
He is the one who said that THIS is fishing. He said if someone new asks him if he wants to go fishing, he says, "Are you bringing worms?" If they say yes, he replies, "no thanks, that's not fishing." For him, FISHING means you cast the line in, jerk it just so, skip it along the water, or sink it, depending on many things. Then you pull it out, and do it again. It seemed to be a lot of casting, pulling, constant walking along in the water. THAT sounds way more fun than what I THOUGHT fishing involved. My only experience with fishing was spearing a worm, throwing the line in the lake, and then waiting, waiting, waiting. BO-RING. I really didn't understand why people enjoyed that. AND I had no idea there was any other way TO fish, except maybe FLY FISHING, you know, the kind we all watched in A River Runs Through It? With this new knowledge of fishing, I now also understand why people who TRULY fish also do "catch and release." It's a sport. I was under the impression that after all that time sitting on a bank with your line in the water, if you actually managed to get a fish to eat your worm, why would you throw him back? But now, now I get it. So, all in all, it's been a pretty good week, after that one rough patch early last week. It doesn't rank right up there with my all time coolest things to do or learn about, (dog poop is FAR more fascinating, honest) but I did find it interesting, and am looking forward to learning more about fishing, about fly tying, about anything new, really, as life goes on. To be a life-long learner. Trite, but it really does fit my goals, I guess.
(PS Two more days until summer vacation... :)