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Tired of chores? Try looking ahead

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POSTED April 21, 2010 2:29 a.m.
The trick to enjoying manual labor is cluttering the mind with good thoughts. Happy Gilmore called it his, “happy place”, and he was right, though the most effective are within the realm of possibility.

That’s how I tolerate mundane things like pulling weeds, mowing the lawn or shoveling dirt, because after 30 pages of a good fishing book my hands can work without my head which is drifting nymphs on the Stanislaus, stripping streamers on the Russian or using crank-baits in the Delta — anything but seeing little deltas of roots come up from the earth.

This is also how you get blisters and hurt your back. The brain likes thoughts of delicate swings of a fishing rod and sometimes forgets that repeated swings of an ax separates layers of skin and floods said area with blood.

That happens a lot during the summer, but it’s nice to feel the result of hard work, it’s a necessary reminder of what life used to be like before everyone became seemingly entitled to a freedom from hard work.

Thinking about using the fly I was tying Saturday, I lost focus on a No. 12 elk hair caddis and pinched my left pinky with my new scissors. I can report they cut quite efficiently whether it be thread, marabou, or flesh and though the wound bled more, it hurt less than a blister.

Outside unintentional self-mutilation, I’ve been known to put the milk in the freezer and even coffee filters in the microwave - not sure they do that sort of filtering - all because I was watching the water poor into that deep pool by the rock cliff on the Russian River, in my mind that is.

Emerson said passion is a bad regulator, but a powerful spring. It’s a spring from which happiness bubbles, most of the time right when needed, though dropping everything to chase trout, a romantic notion, is imprudent. A bad way to regulate your life. But what is life if void of day dreams?

The potential of something yet to come? Not imagining Apple wants you to give you an iPad and shoot a commercial with your choice of Hollywood Stars.

Not gonna happen. But releasing a single trout, or even a cup of hot coffee from a thermos next to a blown-out river, that’s possible.

I’ve known many people that have grown hard by the years, even though they’re not that old. Their youthful exuberance replaced with a calloused way of looking at reality. The inner 10-year old locked in a padded room with only a broken fishing rod as a friend.

Being realistic is to not look back at what you used to do, and remember tallies for the day, but to have something pure that can supersede all else, that elixir that reminds you  of what makes you happy, not what makes you money.

When passion becomes a memory, or turns into nothing more but one-upping strangers with “Well, one time I...” what’s the point?

Maybe you ruined it with competition or tried to make it solve all your problems and discovered it can’t.

Maybe take Emerson’s advice and rekindle, and ride that spring again.

It doesn’t prevent blisters but it sure makes the time go faster.

To contact Jeff Lund, e-mail
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