“My father was very sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe. To him all good things-trout as well as eternal salvation-come by grace and grace comes by art and art does not come easy.” Norman Maclean
Standing knee deep in the crystal-clear Colorado River on a stunningly beautiful morning, I was suddenly enveloped by what one angler had called “a slow-moving white cloud of dust.” It was not dust, but a morning hatch of “tricos,” or to use the technically correct term, tricorythodes mayflies. After about three seconds of contemplation, I made my move, and switched over from a nymph set up to a dry fly combination on my fly rod. Putting on the tiniest trico imitation dry fly I had, it took only a few minutes and I had hooked a sizeable brown trout. Netting the 18-inch brown, I gently dislodged the tiny hook and released it back to the wild.
As a pastor and leader, I constantly work with people. My life is one of deadlines, appointments and problem solving; it is often exhausting. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do. But one of my most sacred Sabbath practices is to fly fish. It’s the “Great Escape” of my life. The solitude and allure of the river in symphony, with the challenge of reading the feeding patterns of the fish, has made fly fishing one of those rare activities that brings life to my soul.
All of us need our heart and soul renewed with life. Life flows from God. We discover God when we commune with Him. How each of us commune with Him is indeed one of the mysteries that each man and woman must discover. For me, fly fishing in concert with prayer, right there beside the river, brings life to my heart. My heart is awakened on the river.
Have you found what it is that awakens your heart? God awakens our heart in many ways and in varied forms. Some have said that fly fishing is an art form. Art doesn’t come easy and neither does fly fishing. I often wonder if the uneasy art of fishing is why Jesus chose so many fishermen.
On the River,
Steve Holt D.D. MA