Time was running out. I had cast for the thousandth time and listened, "In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice this world to those who are its worst."
Ayn Rand's ageless phrase hit me like a Petosky stone. But I was fly-fishing for lake trout near the mouth of the Boardman River in Traverse City, Michigan and watching fish after fish being caught with spinning rods, spawn bags and bobbers. Ughhhh...yes, bobbers! I almost let it make me feel stupid - this trying to catch a laker on the fly, nearly an impossible thing to do. The trouble is; it's been done, and I wanted badly to be among those who had done it.
100% dedication to fly fishing isn't an easy path. But, as far as I'm concerned, it is the only path, heavy as it can be. Yes, "those who are its worst" is very subjective although it makes a strong point. After all, those others were just having fun fishing, which is really the entire point.
The trouble is; it's been done, and I wanted badly to be among those who had done it."
But I suffered. "In the name of the values that keep you alive, do not let your vision of man be distorted... Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all.”
Worse, I was tempted. I was tempted to slip on an "indicator" (a fly-fishers lie for a bobber), a hook and a fresh mooched spawn-bag and go head-to-head, elbow-to-elbow with the hordes just so I could hook and land a lake trout. Just so I could add another fish to my fly-fishing life-list. Then I stopped – in horror of my temptation, in horror of the thought of the temptation and the daemon that was biting at me from below. The fish still wouldn't be caught with a fly.
The loudest from the horde tested me with a throaty "Hoo-hoo!" as he hooked yet another fish. He was looking directly at me.
I listened further to Rand. "Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it's yours." ~ Ayn Rand | Atlas Shrugged. One more quote from Bob Lawless settled it, "If I'm not going to catch anything, then I'd rather not catch anything on flies." Done. I reeled in my fly and walked away with my pride intact.
That world and pride are mine, simply because I tried to do something nearly impossible and didn't sacrifice the values that keep me alive. That's the essence of my quest. - WES:::