August 5, 2008


"His job is to shed light, and not to master"
- Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia

It has been nearly 13 years since the soul of a brilliant musician, Jerome J. Garcia, left this world. Though his lifestyle may not have been approved by many, he left his mark on most of his followers; his poignant guitar playing touched many of our souls. I cannot recall a single fishing outing in recent memory where I did not listen to the Grateful Dead, or one of Jerry's offshoot bands, on the way to and from the river. In fact, on some expeditions I recall listening to a killer show more than the actual fishing itself.

A tight set will get me into the right frame of mind, and things just seem to flow better on the river. All things come together. A crispy Help/Slip/Franks from May '77 or a funky Shakedown from July '78 just begs for a tight loop. With the advent of satellite radio and Sirius' Grateful Dead Channel, I am able to have Grateful Dead music piped in 24/7, everywhere across the country. This has been fabulous. Now I am connected.

During a recent show celebrating Jerry's life on the Grateful Dead Channel, a fan had commented on a lyric from the song Terrapin Station (Lady With a Fan), "His job is to shed light, and not to master". Wow. I have listened to this song hundreds of time and only the other day did it finally hit me on what that lyric meant. It was profound. It is not the responsibility of this roughfisher to conquer all roughfish with a fly, but rather help others along and enlighten them on their path. Life isn't just about me and my journey, but interaction and connection, and helping others along the way find their light. In this "me first" world that we are currently living in, this is a point easily overlooked.

I just hope that through my ramblings and postings, I've been able to help someone along their way, and that they've been able to find success, whether it be through fly fishing, or life in general. This has been an enlightening retrospective and has really illuminated a guide for living out my future endeavors. Sometimes we all just need a little perspective.

"Goin' home, goin' home,
by the waterside I will rest my bones,
Listen to the river sing sweet songs,
to rock my soul"

-Robert Hunter