Mark Whittington

I’m a fly fisherman. This quiet, lonely time represents a chance to rig up.
Mark Whittington

Mark Whittington

I find it hard to sleep these days. I search for positivity in a blizzard of uncertainty. When I do sleep, I wake up with a feeling of trepidation, like the morning of a root canal. You know there will be discomfort and pain. It is coming.

This has been a month of root canal days. I try to stay positive, screw on a smile, laugh and joke. My wife keeps asking me, “Why are you not taking this seriously?!”

I am. I am just searching for sparks of hope. Little boxes of hope to feed my soul.

The other day I welled up with tears over that damn Walmart commercial with folks working to keep the shelves stocked to the tune of David Bowie’s “Heroes.” The lyrics have suddenly taken on new meaning.

We can be heroes…just for one day.

In fact, there are heroes all around. Selfless patriots—the nurses, doctors, truckers, EMTs, grocers, National Guard and all the “essential” folks keeping our country moving forward at great risk to themselves.

My respect for everyday heroes has been magnified by this crisis. I hope it sticks. I hope it sticks for all of us. We need that respect for one another, regardless of job, station in life or any characteristic or identifier. We are back to basics.

We all make the wheel turn for someone out there. We are all dependent on someone, somewhere. The supply chain of interdependence is now indelible to me.

I’m a fly fisherman. This quiet, lonely time represents a chance to rig up. Tonight I looked at my unkempt fly boxes and started to organize them. I found myself smiling, thinking about these flies I have cast thousands of times.

Whittington Tackle

They represent hope to me—the optimism that you can fool a trout with a tiny bit of feather and thread if you put it out there just right, with the right drift, with the right conditions, if you are just good enough to get that fish to bite.

We fly fishermen experience those sparks of hope hundreds of times, every time we go out. It’s like a religion, really.

I find myself thinking about fishing more than ever these days. On the nights I actually sleep, I dream of standing in a stream, the movement of water over rocks, and those little fly boxes of hope.

They are beautiful.

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