Tag Archives: O’fieldstream

The Art of the Outdoors

… to be continued.

— O’fieldstream


It’s about the FLY

The world of fly-fishing is a complex, guarded – yet free-wheeling world of traditional feeding lanes that regularly conflict with edgy currents.  Today’s world of fly-fishing is that world: more so now, than ever before.

Yet, no matter how fluid the world of fly-fishing becomes, it’s still – about The Fly.

A friend posted an interesting photograph the other day, that consisted of a number of old, broken, worn-out fishing flies, attached to a pole.  He labeled it the ‘Fly Cemetery’.  I looked at the photo and was struck by the visual.  I posted the following as a comment on that photo:

Cool idea! Never thought of it like this. But instead of cemetery .. I’d say it’s more a Tribute Poll … to old friends who served you well.  Flies are not just things. They are the connection between…  between, the fisherman and the fish. The fly is the first thing that both fisherman and fish connect to and the parting point we both enjoy.  Flies are special.

After writing this I got to seriously thinking about what I’d said .. and realized, this was an important point for fly-fishing.  The part which caught my senses the most was the following:

Flies are not just things. They are the connection between…  between, the fisherman and the fish. The fly is the first thing that both fisherman and fish connect to and the parting point we both enjoy.

Think about it.  The one thing that is common to every fly-fisherman and every fish caught on a fly is – The Fly.

No wonder the person who ties their own flies, feels such a connection to their activity on the water. No wonder such a feeling of accomplishment, connection, deep-emotion is felt when a fish takes the presented creation.

This IS big; very big.  It’s just downright special.

So that pole-of-used-flies, truly is a Tribute Poll.  Some may say a totem to their service as inanimate partners.  If those flies could claim origin at your own hands, they are your children-in-collaboration.  The combined effort of seduction and deceit – you and the fly – in a game as old as life itself.

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Fly Tyers Supplicate

I think that I shall never tie,
The likeness of the Perfect Fly.
For flies are tied to lie you see,
Truth made plain, not readily.
To whom you seek reply,
Yet answer remains to be?
The fish, the fool and the fly, go Thee.

May we who choose to fly, do so with reverence for the bit of feather and fur which make it all possible to live such a wondrous life we lead.

For … The Fly is Special.  Special indeed.

O’fieldstream


WE … it’s about U+I

How important – TO YOU – is your ability to enjoy Outdoor Activities?

A LOT you say? Then you have the opportunity to PROVE IT.

Read this report as of August 23, 2011 – Fly-fishing industry threatened by Congress .

Now… you MUST DECIDE: What are YOU going to DO about it?

No, this is not a matter of letting ‘others’ … bear-the-burden, carry-the-load, fight-the-fight or launch-one-for-the-Gipper… NO, it’s time YOU take a personal stand, make a personal investment .. or your TIME, ENERGY and SOUL …and if you can, money.

That’s right, money is not the first thing requested, nor is it required. It is the last thing needed.

The cry of, ‘Give now, to solve the problems we face…’, has been the siren call that has become the ignition-booster in the fire that is ready to burst – out of control and onto the scene. This seek-for-money, has blurred our view, clouded our judgement and influenced our motives.

Money is not poison. But power is. In our society, money is the all perceived power. Remove the money and there is no power. Thus, we do not want to loose the Power of WE, when the money is gone. WE must exist and be effective through our personal investment of TIME, ENERGY and SOUL. It can be done. But will it be done. Time will tell.

So, if you think you can only give money, and leave the other three elements out – DON’T BOTHER ! You are part of the problem. WE do not need any part of the problem contaminating our efforts. Thanks, but, No Thanks.

Let’s hope enough people are willing to get involved so that YOU and I can become a WE.

But, lets not deceive ourselves into thinking this all just started with the recent inductees into the inner-circle-of-great-discombobulation. It has been building for a long time.

There are also more players in the foil than the obvious reveals. This is a clear case of, “It’s not what you see that hurts you nearly as much as what you do not see.” There are forces, fired by agendas unrelated to each other, willing to ally to each other to accomplish their agenda-based goals. They are quite dissimilar, but the results will be identical. Those results will culminate in the loss of our two most precious commodities: Freedom and Natural Resource.

That the current warning flag comes from the fly-fishing industry does not mean the rest of the outdoor heritage activities will go unscathed. EVERYONE who enjoys a nice walk into the woods, meadows, plains, mountains, or deserts – as a refreshing break from the daily grind – is under-the-gun.

Whether you’re just a casual stroller, bird-watcher, weekend or obsessed fisherman, occasional or life-long hunter, competition junky, or a tweed-donning-purist… each and every one – regardless of purpose in the outdoors – will loose. The will be no exceptions!

At last count, that includes roughly 90% of the entire human population. THAT! … is a loss _TOO BIG_ to allow.

So, yeah. It’s a big, scary, deal! I guess the only question left is this:  

What are YOU going to DO about it?

Again I will repeat: Let’s hope enough people are willing to get involved so that YOU and I can become a WE.

U+I = WE

This formula could be translated as: Unified Individuals Working Environmentally.

That acronymous statement may seem more an oxymoron and an impossible task. It may be, but …

Exceptional problems require exceptional thinking to produce exceptional solutions.

This would be a very good step toward an… Exceptional Outcome.

Arthur O’fieldsteam


Words of Endearment

WORDS … it is said, have launched ships, made and brought down nations and have inspired all, from kings to the common man.  They are the currency of communication.  As the old saw says, “Clothes make the man.”, similarly words make the character of any person.  For how we speak is more important that what we speak. Because what we speak is constructed of the How.

In my life words are a most important commodity. They are, after all one part of my biotope of creativity. I do enjoy creating imagery with the combination of words.  Thus, there are sources of words which are especially important … even dear to me.

My family is a source of such words.  My wife is my dearest friend and most invested colleague in life. She and I also share in the delights of being permanent partners in – post-parenting – for a fabulously wonderful young man.  His offspring are the combination of his efforts and the woman whom he married and has become his best friend and colleague and our daughter. From their committed friendship have sprung two (thus far) children; the apples of all our eyes.  Those two darling offspring are our most treasured treasures.  They are Brooklyn and Wyatt.

BBW or, Before Brooklyn ‘n Wyatt, there were many words, along with their connected moments, for which my wife and I consider as most treasured moments.  Such things as the first ‘I love you’; and the “Yes!” to an engagement request; and the “I do.” promissory of a life-long commitment of love and devotion.  Then as parents, the first words of our son, “Mommy”, “Daddy”. To a lessor extent for us – but monumental to both sets for grandparents – hearing his first terms of ‘grand’ applied to them and the follow-up whimsies he sent forth.  As he grew and expressed his mind; even in the times of disagreement; we saw in his words, the character of the man he would become.  The vocabulary he grew up with was not tainted in words that bring embarrassment and shame. But, rather with words that uplift, encourage and speak to a higher focus.  He has, in life thus far, mirrored the pictures painted by those words.  The pleasure we as parents derive from this, flows in an unspoken, yet not wordless, vocabulary of love and respect.  For a parent, it truly – doesn’t get any better than this!

Over the past 8 1/2 years – the time since Brooklyn came on the scene – my wife and I have been adding an entire lexicon of words we use to bring smiles, tears, warm-fuzzies, and moments of pure joy to our lives. Then 2 1/2 years later, our family increased by one, when Master Wyatt came along.  He has been a remarkably wonderful addition; both to life and the now expanding B&W Lexicon.

Utterly astounding, it is, how a simple phrase such as, “That’s not right!”; or a word like “Grandpa?”; can usher in both a concrete point of how to live a treasured life, or just warm the cockles of the heart. All the while bringing a smile – that heartily competes with the brightest of sunrises – on our faces.  But it happens: daily!

Our B & W Lexicon of Endearing Words and Phrases is filling up with such treasures as:

  • “Oh Grandpa…”
  • “One time…”
  • “I do!”
  • “Will it hurt you?”
  • “She’s over me.”
  • “I don’t like cauliflower!”
  • “Keep it in your mind.”
  • “Are you pulling my leg?”
  • “It’s just my ‘magination’.”


With many more to come.

To you, the reader, there is little emotion stirred from the list above – unless you have a direct connection of your own.  For me however, it’s a world of metaphor. Each word and phrase telling an entire story.  One which each time I see – I am taken back-in-time to the moment the memory was made.  This is the power of words.  Ad a series of musical notes to the mix and the memory is encased in neural concrete.

The name of our granddaughter, Brooklyn, for me conjures an entire book; literally. The story came to mind the minute I heard what her name would be. It has nothing to do with an urban landscape, nor the bridge so associated.

The scenic memory takes root in the first five letters of her beautiful name: BROOK.  As an avid fly-fisher, I am also a lover of the colder water fish known to the fraternity of trout lovers as Salvelinus fontinalis. Or more commonly known as the Brook Trout. Not actually a trout, but a member of the char family, the brook trout is to the cold water fishes, what the wood duck is to waterfowl: shear unadulterated beauty.  A magnificent array of color and beauty. My granddaughter is well named.

Within a few days of Brooklyn’s birth I began fantasizing non-stop about a time in the not-too-distant future, when she would begin asking me to take her fishing; to teach her to fly-fish; and the days upon days of joy and excitement the two of us would share in pursuit of the finer, more artistic part of the wonderful event called fly-fishing.

My fantasy melded into the story of a little girl’s journey along a stream in which a little brook trout emerges from it’s egg sack learning to fend for itself; growing into a young parr and making it’s way in the watery world of the stream, regularly visited by the little girl and her family. 

The opening scene has the little girl riding in her car seat, along the winding road that parallels the mountain stream in which the little brook trout has just emerged.  As the family car passes over the bridge spanning the soon-to-be-home of the tiny trout, the little girl; unable yet to speak or know the world about her, sees the colors of the newly emerged leaves and the light as it gently filters down from the blue sky above and she smiles.  She has no idea why, but a feeling of comfort, warmth, belonging and home come over her.  She’s far too young to understand any of this beyond the sense of comfort and it makes her smile.  Interestingly, this same feeling washes over her every time their family car passes over this bridge. No other. Just this bridge.

Three years later as she and her daddy walk along the stream, just down from the bridge, the fly her daddy had just dropped into a feeding lane vanishes. A few minutes later, the little girl and the now 3 year old brook trout meet.  Immediately she falls in love with the brook trout; she wants to take it home. Her daddy tells her about the value of being selective and letting the trout go back to the water and live; to make more trout and maybe she’ll visit again by taking another of daddy’s flies. The trout, knowing nothing of love, but a lot about fear of predators, does not – when looking at the little human – feel the fear she has of the warm thing gripping her.  The moment is brief, but forever in the minds of both entities.

The story continues to tell the interaction of the brook trout and the little girl, culminating in the day, 3 years later, when the little girl catches the little brook trout and the little girl must make her first life and death decision.  You will have to read the book (and I will have to finish writing it) to find out the answer. 

All of this washed over me -again and again – like an ocean wave.  Each time bringing in more information, idea and energy. Somehow, I just knew Brooklyn would become my fishing companion.  And now in her 8th year, she is beginning to make a move in that direction. 

I was greeted with a phone call a few weeks back with a request from Miss Brooklyn. “Grandpa?” she asked. 

“Yes, Miss Brooklyn, what can I do for my precious little lady?”

“Grandpa, would you take me fly-fishing?”

At that moment, somewhere in the realms of my heaven, angelic choirs lit off into a mighty Reggae line and the steel drums echoed among the mountain tops!  Music to my ears!  Bingo! I’d hit the lottery!!  All of this and a thousand times more.

“Why, sure thing princess. When do we go?”, I was able to gasp out.
“Oh, Grandpa, it’s still too cold. But I want to go as soon as we can.”, she intoned.  
“We’ll do it fist time we have opportunity. Maybe when you and Wyatt come stay with us this summer. How about that?”, I added.
“Oh, can’t we do it sooner? I really want to go fly-fishing.”, she pleaded unnecessarily; I was totally sold!
“We will go fly-fishing at the very first opportunity and we’ll do it as often as we can and you want to continue. How’s that?”, I committed.
“OK. That sounds great. I hope it’s really soon.”, she said with great plans and hope.
“Me, too, sweetie. Me too!”, I said concretely.

Unlike the verse that greeted me, when I would take the final drink from my favorite Donald Duck whistle cup as a kid, “All Gone”.  This story, instead winds into another word phrase of memorable importance.  I hear the musical refrain, the song which ushered my wife and I from our marriage ceremony, courtesy of Karen and Richard Carpenter, and remember – “We’ve Only Just Begun”.

Oh! Have we ever …just begun.


NatGeo: What were YOU thinking?

OK.. time for some feathers to fly.

I just saw a post by one of my Facebook Friends (FBF), pointing to the now-running, National Geographic Photo contest.

As usual the thumbnail image, in the post’s LINK, was too small for me to see clearly at first. But, I read my FBF’s commentary.  I couldn’t agree more.  A National Geographic photo contest should be pretty darned good and worthy of strolling through the galleries of photos.

Then I looked closely at the image headlining the LINK in the post.

What ?? !!!!!

This is NOT a slam on my FBF here. Let’s get that out of the way first. It’s not his fault the image contains the content it does. Nor was he condoning the specific content shown in the image associated with the link.

Besides, when you include a LINK widget  this way in Facebook – and the linked-to-page has several images on it, a randomly chosen image appears. Unless you click-through the widget and choose a specific image – the first image (the fighting cock photo in this case) becomes the default.  Just like what you see, when you click the link below.

The image, aside from the content, is – technically- a superb photo!

But – there’s the rub: the content.

I ask you.  Explain the difference

  • NFL Player Michael Vick – convicted (rightfully so, in my opinion) for his illegal, immoral and ethically drought dog-fighting antics;
  • A beautifully composed, in vivid color, laser-sharp, focus, wonderfully composed image of two young boys,  maybe 8 or 9 years of age , in colorful, native Indonesian (Suradita Village of West Java)  dress, tossing fighting cocks at each other;

Both are abuses of animals, people and sensibility.

Both, by venue, promote such tragedy. 

One is mediated as heinous conduct, while the other a potential International photo contest winner.

Tell me I’m missing something; please!  Otherwise we’re sinking deeper into the quagmire of duplicity.

I’m not squeamish about blood, death or killing. I am a hunter.  But neither of the two scenarios mentioned above have anything to do with the natural actions of hunting or territorial protection.


Wolverine: Soul of Wilderness

Wolverine.

What comes to mind when you hear or see this word, name, description? I’d dare say it is not what truly exists.

Michigan’s state nickname? Evil-spirit? Legend? Phantom? Teeth? Danger? Hell-on-paw-w/-claws?

  • How about the most successfully adapted creature to extreme cold climates imaginable?
  • How about one of the most understudied and/or appreciated animals on the planet?
  • How about the rarest ‘actually seen-in-the-wild’ animal in North America?
  • How about the living embodiment of the Nike slogan, “Just Do It” ?

Yes, I believe the wolverine embodies all of these and so much more. If you’d like to see more and know more about this amazing creature – got to the PBS.org site and watch the full Nature program, Wolverine: Chasing the Phantom.

I have had a passionate love for these, largest of the weasel family, since I first saw a presentation of one on the old Mutual of Omaha, “Wild Kingdom” – back in the early ’60s.

It was a frigid north woods winter in the late ’60s, where I had the extremely rare opportunity – and privilege – to encounter and watch a pair of wolverines – in the wild – for over an hour. No camera. Nothing but my eyes and memory to record the experience. The sensation of that memory still sends chills up my spine every time I think of it; which is quite often.

I was never taken serious when I told the story of the encounter. I had no proof; only my story. Wolverines had not been verified as having been seen in that region in over 40 years. Yet, over the years reports of sightings have been persistent. Recently, with the advent of imaging technology, i.e., Trailcams, researchers are seeing verified proof of their return.

Many say the wolf, is the symbol that gives the wild in wilderness it’s heart. I maintain that the wolverine is what gives wilderness its wild soul.

If the wolverine had a theme song, you’d likely find them hummin’ Bosephus’ – A Country Boy Can Survive – through a snarl, oozing attitude that would rock-the-world of a grizzly bear. Hiding their complex nature as a very social animal, has been a successful key in their survival.

But, for all the survival ability it embodies, the wolverine has one major flaw in their arsenal: they are heavily dependent on cold – really COLD – temperatures to survive. As the earths polar and altitude environments heat up, dependable cold temperature, heavy snows and long winter seasons are becoming an ever increasing problem across their more populated range: the Rocky Mountain glacial fields.

To loose the wolverine would be to loose the soul of the wild.

I -for one- am in total agreement with Aldo Leopold, as he poignantly announces, in the first line of his introduction to the book, that has become the repository of his writings, A Sand County Almanac – containing – as the last chapter – what I believe was his most important essay – The Land Ethic,


Abundant Abuse: We have been warned

It is amazing just how comfortable we, in the fortunate minority of earth’s population, can become with a way of taking for granted the most basic of life essentials.

We quibble about not having the right shirt, skirt, pants, shoes or whatever to wear.  We chafe over the least little infraction of our personally imprinted mandate on time.  Our fellow travelers on this road of impoverished awareness of the natural world and our tenuous – at best! – part in it, are no less complacent of their duty or complicit in their premeditated abdication of responsibility.  And each one of us – barreling down this autobahn of destruction – is more likely than not to be clueless to the extremity of our minority value in this issue.

Yet, we certainly seem to be so morally bankrupt in this that we do not realize the extent to which we gorge our pursuit of pleasures at the incredulous expense of the rest of earth’s citizenry; of which we are less than 5%.  Yet, we control the use of 95% of the resources earth coughs up.

Could it be assessed – dare I say, assumed – that we just don’t care? The evidence shows clearly there is no other choice of analysis.  The bill for such a lapse in moral responsibility will come due and there will be no avoiding it at that time.

It will be a sad, sad day when this happens – and it’s not likely that far off. On that day there will be many a lip uttering those damning lines from the morbid poem, Maud Miller –

For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: “It might have been!”
John Greenleaf Whittier (Maud Miller)

We have been warned.