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The Real Me

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I have always taken on sports and activities that require a certain amount of intellectual curiosity and personal commitment. I enjoy the pursuit of knowledge as much as the application.

As well, I tend to lean toward the outdoors when it comes to wasting time. I enjoy bowling once in a while, but much prefer to be outside in the fresh air where the elements come into play.

Additionally, and most unfortunately, my hobbies tend to involve a certain amount of financial obligation - they ain't cheap.

However, the most distinguishing similarity I find they all have is their ability to expose me. They show off those evil little demons and sparkling diamonds that tell others whom we really are.

Maybe it is the fact that my endeavors rarely have a clear cut winner or loser, but rather are evaluated on a more subjective, cerebral scale. Maybe it is that they are generally individual in nature, where you must carry your own weight and rely on your own wits and know-how. Or it could be that they are more artistic than utilitarian, require a sense of style and and understanding of etiquette.

Whatever the reason, fly fishing brings out the real me, the one I try so often to desperately hide from the rest of the world. Whether it is struggling with the most complex wind knot ever conceived by leader, tippet, split shot, and three flies, or breaking off three fish in a row; whether it is landing a slab in some technical tailwater after a 10-minute fight around rocks and logs and moss, or catching 30 browns during the Mother's Day hatch; whether it is teaching somebody else to cast or helping them land their first fish, or showing a good friend your favorite fishing hole; whether it is a brilliant orange sunrise or placid purple sunset, a bald eagle soaring above the water doing its own fishing, or the soothing sounds of running water in the background during a lunch break - fly fishing shows everyone else, as well as me, who I truly am.

It shows my temper and frustration, my childlike joy, my love for learning and sharing, and my commitment to the natural world. It allows me to experience a wide range of emotions in a world that so often asks us to be beige, tamed versions of a human being. The escape I get with fly fishing is not just literal, a soujourn away from the chaos of the modern world, but figurative - a respite from my everyday persona. It is a refreshing and welcome relief. It is me as I am once I have peeled away the callouses built up by our modern world. It is me the way I want to be known and remembered.