Fly Fishing and Photography

Coming back to Calgary is always good, in a sense, as it provides some sort of “check-in” for me. Looking through my stuff and thinking about things I’ve forgotten about, passively or actively, gives me a chance to reflect a bit. Last night, I ended up at a cafe that I rarely go to, just to change things up, and, there, it dawned on me that I’ve done very little this last week, even though I was expecting to do a lot.

This trip to Calgary has been relatively quiet. On a trip this long – eight days – I’d normally have at least three late nights out on the town. This trip will only see one.

Even during the days, things have been quieter. I’m not frequenting cafes as much, shopping has been kept to a minimum, and even though I’ve been waking up rather early, I spend most of the day just mulling about.

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This is the list that I came up with for things to bring back to Toronto.

For the last few months, I’ve been compiling a list of things that I thought I should bring back to Toronto with me. It’s a short list, but they’re all things that I kind of want to have with me. While I haven’t been searching too hard for any of the items, what I found instead reminded me of how much I used to enjoy fly fishing and photography.

I was never very good at either fly fishing or photography. Despite the time, energy, and money that I invested in each, I never met with much success. I think I’ve only ever caught one fish on a fly line; the only picture I had as proof vanished when my grandmother’s apartment was cleaned out. I caught that fish on a fly that I tied. With photography, I met with slightly more success, but I’ve always been, very much, an amateur.

I used to drive for hours upon hours by myself, looking for somewhere to take pictures or to toss my line. I’d spend hours in secluded places, hoping to see or catch something. I’d revisit places thinking that I may have missed something.

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This is my fly tying kit. I used to tie my own flies while I lived in Montreal during the school year, and then I’d fish with them over the summers in and around Calgary.

Always, though, whenever I went out shooting or fishing, it was quiet. Other than the music blaring from my car on the drive out, it was quiet. My phone couldn’t even ring. The music was always at a low volume on the way home, just after sunset.

I need my environment to be quiet when my mind isn’t; I need it to be loud when my brain is flushed. There is an indefinable harmony that settles my thoughts, and a silent conductor ensuring that no section ever takes over for too long.

As I look back over the last year, it’s pretty clear that the last half of 2015 was one of the quietest I can remember. Very quickly, the year went from being too loud to almost too quiet. Neither is ideal, but each must be playing a part in the symphony, even if it’s a cacophony at times.

I’m bringing my fly tying kit back to Toronto with me this time. I’ll have to come back for my fly rod, or I’ll start saving for a new one.

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