Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Out There

This morning I got up and walked out of a meeting full of people who spent most of it talking of things they really know nothing about but think they do because they watch HGTV, took a DIY wall papering class at Home Depot and got a 17 piece kitchen tool set for Christmas last year. The real world works differently. Come on people, we’re constructing an office building not a lollipop barn on a unicorn ranch.

On the way back to the office I passed by a small creek and stopped to look at it for a few minutes. Along the edges of it where there was still water thin patches of ice had formed over night. Small pieces of the ice periodically broke free and drifted along with the current disappearing around a bend into the woods and out of view. I wondered what was out there.

 In Walden, Thoreau said of going to the woods to live deliberately, “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”

I’ve read that passage a hundred times as this piece has wandered and meandered while I try to write it. Two friends of mine keep coming to mind. I met them several years ago through fly fishing and though we really only get a chance to hang out a few times a year at the winter fly shows, they have become good friends and people I just like being around. They are an example of how hard work, passion, sacrifice and constant honing of one’s craft result in success. Success not as others might define it but purely as these two brothers choose to.

To me, Dan and Tom Harrison embody what Thoreau was writing about. If you spend a little bit of time with them talking about what they do, you realize quickly they feast on the marrow of life every day. They have reduced life to its lowest terms: being on the water or not on the water. 

Photo courtesy of Harrison Anglers

Dan and Tom own and operate Harrison Anglers based out of Northfield, MA. They are two of the few fishing guides in New England who operate year round. They grew up in the area fishing much of the same water they now guide and then like all explorers went west. After spending four years guiding in West Glacier, MT and a stretch guiding in the Patagonia region of Chile they returned to the Commonwealth in 2007. Since then they have been guiding full time for browns, bows, brookies and pretty much anything that swims in the rivers of the western part of the state.

Over the years I’ve seen a lot of pictures and video of their trips. Many of my friends have fished with them and told me tales of their days on the water in the front of Dan or Tom’s raft. Dan and Tom have told me some of the same tales but from their view in the middle of the boat. What I’ve taken away from it all is that the Harrison brothers are two of the best out there. They know the water, they know the fish and they know how to give their clients a memorable day on the water. I think that maybe what makes them, or drives them to be the best is that they still take time to wonder what is out there.
Photo courtesy of Harrison Anglers

I haven’t fished with them yet. We’ve talked about it. I’m a saltwater guy. I’ve never fly-fished for trout or floated a river. I think it’s time this winter to do it.

Because I wonder what’s out there.

Stay tuned…

North River, MA
1 December 2015

1 comment:

  1. Amen to that, Mike! I've floated with both Tom & Dan, Tom got me into my first trout and 6 years later, Dan showed me my best trout day ever (
    I would love to join you on a winter float. Definitely two of the best out there doing what they love.