Author: Bach, Gene

Artistic Endeavors
Last night I watched the movie, “A River Runs Trough It.” It wasn’t the first time I had seen the film, but it had been many years since I had first viewed it and I thought I’d enjoy seeing it again. It was as good as I remembered it to be. The movie’s emotional roller coaster ride was as gripping as it was a long time past when I sat in a darkened theater surrounded by other souls searching for something that could be drawn from the screen and carried with them forever more. I laughed, I cried, I sat in awe and never was bored. At the end of the movie I sat in my chair and thought about what I had just viewed knowing that I could have easily walked in the shoes of those two boys: knowing that I have walked in the shoes of those two boys.

For those of you who may not have seen the movie it is set in the early 1900’s in Missoula, Montana, and centers around the family of one of the towns ministers. He and his wife play large parts in the film but the lion’s share of attention is focused upon their two sons. It’s all about the ups and downs they encounter while each one walks his own road through times both good and bad. Although there are obviously mighty differences between the boys and their father, the one thing they have in common is fishing…fly fishing. It is the glue that has bound them together from the beginning and the only thing that holds true to the end.

But it’s not the fishing itself that captures my heart: it’s the sheer serenity that can be experienced through the gracefulness of the moment as the line and fly slides back and forth through the air embracing both power and finesse, always precise, never uncontrolled. I have found that there, standing on a rock in the middle of the river, it is possible to be surrounded by the majesty of creation as it shouts its’ glory to the heavens, and at the same time be awash in the silence of contentment.

Fly fishing is a discipline that no man has mastered. It can not be. It is not meant to be. Truly it is an art: something that to be done well must not so much be learned as felt. Agreeably there is a learning process that must be undertaken in the beginning but that small thing can never be the driving force of the adventure. In order to be good, in order to enjoy it to the fullest, what is inside you must be allowed to flow freely from within; traveling from your heart, through the rod, down the line to the fly, finally leaving traces of itself in the water as it caresses the rocks. In order to be good at this you need, no, you absolutely must become a seamless part of the surroundings. Once you are standing on the rock you can not think about what you need to do it simply has to happen. There is no other way.

I am willing to bet that much of what is applicable to fly fishing could also be used in music. We have all heard that the music needs to be “felt” have we not? I believe it’s true. There is no more powerful performance than the one produced by the artist who is giving the audience a glimpse into their feelings and beliefs. Perhaps it would be well worth the time it would take to contemplate that for those who are performing. Perhaps it would be to our advantage if we all considered that, at least a little.
Posted:  4/6/2008

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