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 Post subject: The Mystery
PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2017 12:03 am • # 1 
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Sr. Member

Joined: 02/14/17
Posts: 361
Location: Georgetown, Texas and Corpus Christi, Texas
Down the street from us there is a home with a flagpole. The owners, who I do not know, fly a different flag every day.

We pass this house on the way to and from the boys’ school and over the past year it has become a much-anticipated ritual to slow to see the flag that is flying, and then to try to identify it.

One day it was the national flag of the Bahamas. Another it was the banner of the USMC. Often it is a state flag. I have no idea why our neighbors have a flagpole and fly such a wide assortment of flags.

I’ve thought of dropping a note in the mail simply to say “thanks!” I’ve also considerd knocking on the door to ask: “What gives?”

But I haven’t.

In a world that is ever more quantified and measured and archived, it feels quaint and even a bit exciting to encounter a mystery.

I tell my kids – even younger colleagues – that when I was a young man a favorite dinner table pastime was arguing over facts. Verifiable, black and white, facts. What is the fastest production, street-legal automobile? What was Evil Kneival’s longest jump? How tall is the Eiffel Tower? What year did Alaska enter the Union?

Now, everyone has these facts at their fingertips, literally. Then, we had to consult an encyclopedia or the Guinness Book of World Records or some other printed reference. We might even have to make a trip to the library to do it.

At my place of employment, I work hard to reduce risk by reducing uncertainty. I cannot know perfectly how the (unseen) underbody of a ship will affect the handling of my tugboat, and I can’t be absolutely sure that the Filipino crew member reliably reported the tonnage of a bitt or chock, or that I accurately converted “Newtons” to “Metric Tons.” But I try really hard to get it right so I’m not surprised. And I practice what to do when I am surprised, so no one gets hurt.

There is a lot to know, but not a lot that cannot be known and even the unknowns can be prepared for. Usually. That’s because my work is mostly science and a little art.

Fly fishing, I think, is mostly art and a little science.

Through arduous study I can predict what a fish might want to eat, and when, and where I might find that fish, but I can’t say with any certainty whether the likelihoods will add up to a take, a hookset, and fish in hand.

Fly fishing -- like the love of a good woman, whiskey that goes down just right, and the Resurrection -- is a mystery.

It is, to my mind at least, literally unfathomable. No matter how energetically I throw myself into it, no matter how assiduously I practice its forms and no matter how many hours I devote to delving into its arcana, I will never get to the end of it.

I find this more comforting than frustrating. It gives me permission to live in this moment and I can anticipate that I will run out of days before I run out of delightful discoveries.


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 Post subject: Re: The Mystery
PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2017 8:18 am • # 2 
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Joined: 08/27/15
Posts: 717
Location: New Jersey
Nicely written. I find myself very much in agreement with your thoughts. Despite being someone who's extremely logic driven, I too find joy in many things that are ultimately mysterious, like my wonderful wife, the cross and of course fly fishing.


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 Post subject: Re: The Mystery
PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2017 7:07 pm • # 3 
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Joined: 08/31/15
Posts: 795
Location: Coppell, TX
Excellent TXH20man. Thanks for posting


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 Post subject: Re: The Mystery
PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 1:21 am • # 4 
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Joined: 06/13/16
Posts: 465
Location: North Port, Florida
Great post!


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 Post subject: Re: The Mystery
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:55 pm • # 5 
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Joined: 02/20/09
Posts: 34
TXH2Oman wrote:
There is a lot to know, but not a lot that cannot be known and even the unknowns can be prepared for. Usually. That’s because my work is mostly science and a little art.

Fly fishing, I think, is mostly art and a little science.

Through arduous study I can predict what a fish might want to eat, and when, and where I might find that fish, but I can’t say with any certainty whether the likelihoods will add up to a take, a hookset, and fish in hand.

Fly fishing -- like the love of a good woman, whiskey that goes down just right, and the Resurrection -- is a mystery.

It is, to my mind at least, literally unfathomable. No matter how energetically I throw myself into it, no matter how assiduously I practice its forms and no matter how many hours I devote to delving into its arcana, I will never get to the end of it.

I find this more comforting than frustrating. It gives me permission to live in this moment and I can anticipate that I will run out of days before I run out of delightful discoveries.


Outstanding words of life's philosophy


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 Post subject: Re: The Mystery
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:36 pm • # 6 
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Jr. Member

Joined: 09/28/16
Posts: 76
That was great!
But what does tonnage have to do with bitts and chocks?
Or are you referring to the weird new ABS requirement that the load capacity of each bitt be lettered onto the base?


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