Fishing for the Purpose of Life
Three months after Hurricane Katrina, I arrived in New Orleans as a Red Cross Disaster Services volunteer. The view from the bridge over the Mississippi River revealed a city destroyed but not beaten. You saw a sea of blue tarps serving as roof-tops keeping the rain out. The Red Cross base for Disaster Services operations was across the Mississippi in a suburb of New Orleans called Harvey.
“I cannot believe the purpose of life is to be “happy.” I think the purpose of life is:
– to be useful
– to be responsible
– to be compassionate.
It is above all:
– to matter
– to count
– to stand for something
– to have made some difference that you lived at all.”
The quote is attributed to Leo Rosten.
Ten years after Katrina, the index card she handed to me is above my desk. I never knew the nurse or her name and she has no idea of the impact she made on me.
We actively support National Trout Unlimited and Montana Trout Unlimited. Both organizations are strong ardent voices for trout, water and habitat. In our world, the tiniest mayfly deserves a break. Healthy populations of mayflies, caddisflies, stoneflies, midges and everything else that flutters, flies or flicks along streambeds has both a place and a meaning for fishermen. Trout Unlimited is the strongest voice for fishermen and the sensibilities we represent. If there were no mayflies there would be no trout nor would we be able to listen to Shubert’s Trout Quintet. So it goes….
I have spent over 20 years on the Smith singing the praises of the river, which is second nature to me. You could probably inscribe on my tombstone, “Have you fished the Smith? ” A better epitaph to paraphrase W.C. Fields, would be, “Personally, I would rather be on the Smith.”
When I was younger, floating the Smith was all about the adventure of knowing what was around the bend along with disconnecting from the 21st century. You fished hard and rarely looked up. Now I float the river with the same amount of enthusiasm for fishing but it is more for the soul. It is a place that lends itself to the mystical as well as being magical. There just isn’t another river experience like it in Montana. And as always, we live and work to accompany you through this remarkable canyon.