Standing over a steep, rock walled canyon, staring into the abyss of a ten foot deep river, I know there’s something worth hooking into in there.
I had lost my mind in the sound of the rushing water reverberating off the walls and staring mindlessly into the hypnotic green current. I’d been drifting bug after bug through the current, to no avail for some time now. Eventually, likely 15 minutes into fishing the same run, I snapped out of the malaise and realized I had not created a plan and was not intentionally doing anything specific in order to target a particular part of the water.
Stepping up, so I could see down more clearly, it was obvious that this run had a beautiful tail-out below some boulders just beneath me. Ages and millions of gallons of water were pouring countless insects through a particular section. right below that section, in the water column, there has to be trout, lazily drifting in a holding pattern at the subtle eddy just below the onslaught of water over their heads. But to get there, my fly had to be at least 5 feet deep, no easy task considering how short of a drift there was available. I needed far more weight; and to get my line down I needed more tippet.
Correcting the weight issue and after a single exploratory cast that told me where I had to enter the water, the fish responded immediately. You just can’t catch fish if you’re fishing where they don’t live. The difference between just fishing and paying attention to making a particular cast with a particular set up, on purpose, is night and day. Everything changes.
In our work, it is readily apparent that most of us spend most of our lives with no real planned intention as to what we would like the outcome to be. Even more disastrous, most folks don’t take the time to actually know ourselves, experiment and iterate as to what and where we fit best.
But, generally all this takes is a moment to step back, take stock and mindfully make a decision to intentionally explore, be curious, and find out what it might be.
Not unlike that moment on the water, if we can stop what we are doing, as a habit, and intentionally write down who we are and where we want to be, it will inform our future enormously. Just that one idea, purposefully sit down and be introspective about myself; take me and my process seriously, or that of a friend or loved one whom we are trying to help, will affect the way you go forward. We will spend far less time just casting and casting mindlessly, letting rushing waters cary our lives down the river.
Photography takes the same turn. It's an incredible mirror to life, not surprising as by it's very nature that's precisely what it is. The intentionality of capturing a story in a moment brings an image out of the malaise of documentary snapping and into the life of telling a story. The following image is the result of my desire to capture both the incredible mountain in a sunlit bath (Mount Olympus and Twin Peak in Utah) as well as more poignantly, to capture the air around it. Utah, for all of it's beauty, is plagued up and down the Wasatch front by pollution and inversion that keeps it there. I find this to be a daily thin on my mind, as the Peak rises some 7,000 ft above the valley floor, but is continually clothed in the heaviness of smog. What a contrast between what is wild and what is introduced! Taking this photo, I snapped nine images of various levels of light and blended them together in order to focus on the shift in color in the air, over the cleanliness of a stark mountain back drop on the sky. The intention here is what the mountain is in, not the mountain itself. In me, it evokes both the awe emboldened by the size of the sky and the mountain, but more poignantly, the clothing she is wearing.