There is a feeling
I get, once in awhile, when I am sitting in a chair out on my
front porch, practicing my banjo. It comes creeping silently up
on me, something I have been working on just clicks. I'll finish
running through a tune, and when I am done, unexpectedly, there
is a small feeling from deep inside, a quiet feeling, a feeling
that it was right, a feeling that I have just touched my soul,
just for an instant. It feels peaceful. The instruction books
never told me that I would feel that.
when I am picking with friends in a jam, everybody will just all
meld together, and play like we were one musician, one body, with
one mind and one heart. You can feel the pulse of the body, the
rush of the blood running through the veins in sixteenth notes.
I did not see that in the tab.
moving along, first you have to understand that fly fishing is
a rhythmic sport. You start the cycle by lifting your line up
off the water with a graceful sweep of the long rod, and you let
the line stretch out in the air behind you until just the exactly
right moment. Then you gently but firmly arc the rod forward pulling
the line along, until the rod tip is just a little past vertical.
The line keeps rolling forward though the rod has stopped, and
when the line is finally almost level straight out in front of
you, you gently drop the rod, and thus the line, down to the water,
making hardly a ripple. Way out at the end of the line, sometimes
fifty feet or more, at the end of another eight or ten feet of
clear tapered monofilament, is the fly, a little spec of fur and
feathers wrapped around the tiniest of hooks. If it's a dry fly,
it isn't riding in the water, it is resting on top, on the very
fine film of water that separates where pond or stream meets sky.
For a few moments, nothing happens. And then, blurp, the fly is
gone from sight, and you have just established a new rhythmic
dialogue with a slim, ghostly form that resides deep below the
surface film, in a far different world than you do. You want to
pull him in, yank the line, and see what you have done hooked
into, but with about one pound of pressure being the only stress
that slim tip of monofilament can handle, if you don't stay with
the rhythm of the moment, and take your time, you will lose him
forever. They never bite twice. Standing on stage, pushing your
banjo up into the mic, kicking into that break, not knowing where
it's going to lead you, reaching for just the right balance of
energy and restraint, it gives you that same feeling way down
in the pit of your stomach, that same thrill, that aching yet
blissful feeling that you are in command of your life, but then
again you know you aren't, really. Anything can happen, life or
death, it might yet break off and be gone, right up to the end.
That was something the books didn't tell me.