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Old 10-24-2011, 10:57 AM
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Default The Monument

Time really goes quickly for me these days. I looked at the calendar a couple days ago and saw that a month had gone by in a blink of the eye. I tried to remember that month and if there was anything of significance that happened. I few things came to mind. I was surprised that only that few of things stood out in memory. I decided that i need to start keeping a log of daily events. I keep a fishing log. Why not keep a "Life" log.

The few things that came to mind were family or fishing related. This did not surprise me. My life revolves around my family and fishing. Trout fishing closes last month. I blame trout fishing closing for the time going by so quickly this month. My most vivid memory of the last 30 days was the GIANT trout that humbled three anglers in 6 years near the end of season.

Yesterday I felt the urge to wander and maybe take some photos. The feeling the day prior was still stuck in my head. I thought about my lack of significant memories and decided I needed to visit a couple places from my past. Things that were important to me.

I drove to Gays Mills and visited my mother. We talked for a while and she told me that time slowed down for her now and that days were endless. I explained to her I was in the opposite direction and time was flying by and I didn't like it. She told me that after my father had died that time flew by for her. She was so busy taking care of 6 children that 15 years flew by and all of us were out of the house way too quickly and she was alone. Being alone after all that was really hard to adjust to. She told me time crawls now a days. We some how got talking about if I had been to the cemetery lately to pay respects to my father. I typically go there once a year on Memorial Day to talk him. If I am troubled and life is not going well I go more often. I decided a visit to his grave was in order. It really brings me down to earth and makes my problems seem insignificant. It is eerie to see my name on a tombstone. I am named after my father. I have the plot directly next to him. I always get nostalgic after a visit there. My mind began to wander. Old memories came flooding forward. I remembered the day I became a trout angler. I sat down and took a trip back in time.

The year after my father died I went out trout fishing on my own for the first time to the stream where my father and I loved to trout fish together. I can still remember the hollow feeling of being out there alone. I went directly to the hole where I had become a trout angler. This hole was where I had caught my first trout at age 5. I can still remember my father's words like he said them just yesterday.

"Fishing is like life, if it comes too easy you will not appreciate it. I am not promising you a big trout here. I am not sure we will catch anything, but when we leave here, you will have experienced something special. Trout fishing. Fishing, not catching."


That day when I was 11 years old and fishing alone for the first time I wanted my Dad to be with me so badly. I wanted him to have that feeling I had and to be able to be stream side with me again. I felt so lost. I sat there and wondered what I would do without my Dad. I thought about my Dad's favorite poem. It was the Old Indian Prayer. He liked to think when people died that their love for the outdoors would live on forever in their children and their children.


Old Indian Prayer

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die.



Author unknown



That day on stream....The first day I fished alone without my Dad I remember looking at the sand stone bluff at the head of the hole. I thought that it would be a perfect place to make a monument for my Dad. At age 11 my funds to put a plaque up there didn't exist. I decided that I would wade out in the water and etch my Dad's name and his years he was on this earth on that bluff. I thought there was no more of a fitting honor. He could be stream side and watch the beautiful stream he loved for eternity. It took me 3 hours to do. I was very meticulous and carved HIS name and dates he was physically on this earth in the sand stone bluff deeply so they would last until the end of time.

Len Harris Sr.
1927-1967


After my visit to my Dad in the cemetery I decided a trip out to that bluff was in order. Trout season is closed so I just walked right out to the bluff. It almost seemed like I was doing something wrong by walking out to this special place without a fishing rod in my hand. There were three bluff sections that Dad and I use to fish. I remember it vividly. I had even had a few dreams in my past about the hole and the day I became a trout angler.

It was cool day yesterday and a little rainy. A perfect day to be nostalgic. I could see the bluff through the trees that were devoid of leaves for quite a ways out. I began smiling and as I grew closer to the hole and I scanned the bluff for those carvings. I thought about the three hours I spent on the monument I made to my Dad. A 11 years old's tribute to his Dad I thought it was pretty silly that I spent so much time carving it in that sand stone bluff.

I walk up to the hole slowly just like my Dad taught me. I wanted to see if there were any nice trout in the hole. Many trout were in the hole and they scurried to the head of the hole. I smiled and thought that my Dad could actually see the trout because they were directly under the carving I made.

I walked right up to the bluff and the head water. I scanned the bluff for my Dad's Monument and I could not see it. I did not have my waders on but I wanted to see the carving again. I walked right in the water up to my waist. The bluff had moss on it and where I had carved it was about 14 inches above the water line. The carving was not there. The years had washed away my tribute to my father. My first impulse was to re-carve it and then I remembered about what my father thought about death. He liked to think when people died that their love for the outdoors would live on forever in their children and their children.

Click the image to open in full size.

Last edited by LenHarris; 10-24-2011 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 10-24-2011, 11:10 AM
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Default Re: The Monument

What a beautiful story...Thank you for sharing Len.

Dave
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Old 10-24-2011, 12:17 PM
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Default Re: The Monument

You've done your father proud.
Gary
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Old 10-24-2011, 05:08 PM
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Default Re: The Monument

Len: Thanks for sharing such a great story about your father!

Larry
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