28 May Trout Stream Time Warp
At this very moment I’m working in a coffee shop in a hipster North Carolina mountain town, having spent the morning fishing for trout with a traditional Southern Appalachian fly called the Yallar Hammer. The fly was once tied with the feathers of the yellow-shafted flicker—a woodpecker, hence the “hammer” moniker—but get caught with the plumage from that rare bird these days and you’ll be fishing for a quarter to call your mama from jail.
So a couple of things have occurred to me over the last few hours. First, I am never getting a neck tattoo. The guy beside me looks like someone stitched a road-killed possum to the side of his face. And second, there are days—like this one—when I really, really like my job.
This website and so-called blog is sort of a highlight reel of my profession, I suppose. I get to put the best up here and leave the bad-hair days and rejected, red-lined prose off the air. Not a bad deal. I’m making no promises that I’ll be posting fresh stuff thrice a week. Or even once a week. But hopefully I’ll keep things fresh enough for the occasional visit.
Two days ago I bought a handful of old Yallar Hammer flies from an 84-year-old one-handed mountain man who’d been tying those flies since he was 11 years old. He’s switched from woodpecker feathers to mourning dove quills, a nod to the changing world he’s navigated for 9 decades. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to tell the flies I bought from the ones he used as a kid.
I hope my place in the changing world of journalism operates the same way. These days, I’m published in tiny blips of on-screen electricity as often as old-fashioned ink. What hasn’t changed, however, is the power of a story. Yellow-shafted flicker feather or the plume from a mourning dove? The trout seem to buy it all the same. Thankfully, a good story seems to translate as well.
So thanks for reading. Or scrolling. Or watching. Or sharing. Or as is more common these days, all of them at once.