Enjoying the Smaller Things

Sometimes we have to take a step back and enjoy what we can.

A few months ago on a very snowy and blustery Saturday morning in November, I sat in front of my vise in
my warm and cozy manly man-cave watching the powdery Utah snow piling up outside my window. I felt a little like Clark W. Griswold as he stood before the frost-laced window staring out at the fantasy scene unfolding in his yet-to-be-built swimming pool as my mind drifted to summer meadow streams full of colorful bikini-clad cutthroats. In my Griswold stupor, I could smell the grasses, trees and water as they combined to form one of those scents you don't easily forget. I could hear the wind in the trees and the splashy rises of fish greedily taking terrestrials from the surface. And as Ruby Sue roused me from my day dream, I was harshly reminded of the months ahead locked in Winter's grasp.

But as I sat there and tied flies that day, I had an epiphany of sorts. I was playing around with some very clean colorfully dyed pheasant tails and a superb Hungarian Partridge pelt while working my way through a few fly patterns. As I was tying, I stopped to think about how something as small as a delicate pheasant tail fiber wrapped on a hook and counter-wrapped with some silver wire was a source of a certain amount of enjoyment and fulfillment. I stopped and began to focus on those small things in my world right in that moment that brought me satisfaction: Being in a warm room tying flies; having my soft-hackles prepped with webby fibers stripped and feathers all lined up; being able to take a few pieces of fur, feather and metal and ultimately make something from nothing in the form of one fly. Done, complete, tidied up from chaos to order.

I began to think more about the things we fly fishers more often focus on and strive to attain. It's frequently more about the big fish, the big trip or the big gnarly flies. But how often are we forgetting or overlooking those small things that, when added up, combine to form what could be a very large part of our enjoyment of this sport in which we participate -- especially when those other things are out of reach for the time being. How often do we focus on getting that huge trophy to impress the peeps, but not stopping to appreciate the colorful bright spots on a small brown or brook trout taken from a small stream or lake?

And even more to that, for the fly tyer, it can be all about the latest and greatest materials, hooks, flies and doodads. Everything leading up to the big trip or the filling of the boxes. How about the smaller things? Things like a nicely stacked clump of deer hair with the tips aligned, ready to be pulled out of the hair stacker or a perfectly spaced and wrapped peacock quill body or the motion of gently preening back soft hackle fibers as you tie off an immaculate thread head in front of it. That list goes on.
Big Color, Small Brookie

In today's hustle and bustle, it will behoove us to stop and smell the roses along the way. Appreciate those small things wherever and whenever you can. Don't let the pursuit of the grand overshadow the enjoyment of the everyday or the small.

Peace out.

~ Curtis