Tag: fly fishing women

A Surprise on the Creek

A Surprise on the Creek

A few feet from me, the trout rose to the surface and sighted the fly as it slowly drifted down the run. It was like an athlete carefully watching as a ball was hurled toward it and then…BAM! It caught the fly with a quick slurp. 

I’m always learning from the trout magi. Something new is revealed each time I wade and wander in the creeks and rivers of the Smoky Mountains. But besides having really good interactions with trout today, I recovered something I lost a week ago, when the water was running higher and I couldn’t reach it. And I couldn’t have been happier.

Last week, I was casting to a beautiful, deep hole, over a seam of really fast water. The elk hair caddis—with an orange hot spot for sighting—was popular with the trout that day. And then, a cast drifted a little too close to a submerged log and got stuck. I had no choice but to break off and leave the fly. It was too dangerous to wade across and rescue it. 

Today, the fly was waiting for me and the water was down a lot. I cast to the pool first but was so excited to see my fly, I stowed the fly line and waded across to retrieve the fly.

The hair and feather creation was really soggy but as soon as I waded back across the creek, I changed tippet and tied this lucky fly on. I squeezed it mostly-dry and added some gel flotant and off we went, casting and dancing with trout. 

There’s something so fun about finding something I thought I had lost. Even though it was a little fly and I hadn’t thought about it since losing it last week, it gave me great pleasure to rescue it and use it to interact with trout again.

As I waded and cast, I pondered the metaphor of re-discovering something in life that we thought was gone. Maybe an idea or dream, a skill, a friend, a job. Sometimes it’s about physically ‘finding’ a lost object, but other times it might involve re-claiming a talent or simply remembering to pause and let our heart feel love, gratitude.

The idea of letting go has been in my mind and heart lately. Letting go of how I expect or want plans to work out and being present enough to navigate daily from an informed present moment instead of trying to guess what the future holds and make decisions from that weird place. 

I was bummed about losing the fly last week, but didn’t waste energy fretting or worrying about it. I simply let it go. And then, I was thrilled it was there waiting on my return today. It’s a little ‘thing’ but holds space for much bigger ideas about letting go, waiting on the right timing, waiting on better conditions before proceeding. 

What have you rediscovered lately that has been a good surprise? How has it affected you?

Letting Our Light Shine

Letting Our Light Shine

Earlier today, I was listening to Amy Ray as she was interviewed by Maggie Rose on her Salute the Song Bird podcast. Amy is known for her activism in environmental and social justice causes but perhaps more known as a singer/songwriter with her own band…oh, yes…and she’s one of the Indigo Girls. Aside from all of that, she said something in the interview that really caused me to pause and reflect.

Amy said she was exploring her own internalized misogyny. It was like a bell went off in my mind as I pondered the idea that women internalize this pervasive, ingrained, and institutionalized prejudice against themselves. Hatred, dislike, mistrust manifested in various forms of abuse, social shunning, ostracism. Oh…that?!!!

As I explored this in my own life, I realized that I’ve always had that negative seed within. It’s what culture taught us. What religion taught us…at least the religion I was exposed to as a child and teen. What schools taught all girls on the tennis team or any girls’ sports team where we’d lose our transportation to a match or game if the football coaches decided they needed the transport we were going to use. That really happened. A lot. Maybe it’s changed now…for the sake of our daughters and granddaughters, I certainly hope so. 

How have I distrusted myself and my strength? How have I viewed myself physically, emotionally? How deep is this darkness planted within me?

In a very sad coincidence, Sinead O’Connor passed yesterday. Her life was far more than a songwriter and powerful vocalist. She stood up against child sexual abuse by the Catholic Church and was labeled…well, what any powerful woman that stands against such an institution is labeled as…historically and even today. I watched an interview done in the 1990s from her SNL appearance where she tore up a photograph of the pope on live TV to protest the cover-up of the child sexual abuse by clergy. She said nobody was paying attention and that the Catholic church in Ireland purchased insurance to protect them from lawsuits 10 years before it became known worldwide of the rape, abuse and horrors children faced from those who were supposedly trustworthy. She refused to be quiet. She claimed her voice for children. She became a warrior…and still is labeled as a troubled soul as people remember her. We should all be so troubled. 

So, this idea that women who stand up and speak out are somehow crazy or to be feared…why, yes! Fear us, because we are weary of misogyny, that we have learned so expertly to turn against ourselves. Until we recognize our own self-hatred, distrust of our personal power and brilliance, and deal with this warped view of what it means to be a woman, we’ll continue to perpetuate those ideas in our lives and in the energy we put out into the world. It’s not something to judge ourselves over, as we are literally unwinding ourselves from the trauma and teachings that keep us small and kept our female ancestors from standing in their brilliant power. But it is something to work on healing by daring to speak our truth and digging deep to learn how light yearns to break free and shine through our beautiful hearts.

One of the reasons I wanted to provide opportunities for women to learn to fly fish is a direct answer to the misogyny which many of us carry within ourselves. We’ve been taught that there’s something inherently flawed within us…after all, it’s our fault that humans were cast forth from paradise….how can we ever get over that one? And that’s just one example, although huge, of how we are taught to judge ourselves so harshly and distrust ourselves. I wanted to provide women a safe place to learn and explore their strengths, fears, and dreams. That’s why I created Wading Women.

As I was walking along the creek today, I had a strong intention arise—I am going to be my shiny self, no matter what. I refuse to shield my light from anyone. And, I want to help other women grow into their own brilliance. For those drawn to wade and cast a line in these Smoky Mountain streams, let’s go play! Let’s be strong together! Let’s heal together!

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Join Simone on a holistic fly fishing excursion in the Smoky Mountains It’s about empowerment, fly fishing and nature. Its based on a balance of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of the experience and is founded in awareness of the environment and interconnectedness of all life. Visit the Wading Women page to learn more.

Threshold

Threshold

The gate is a threshold that offers a portal to a magical world, a green tunnel overhead and clear, flowing water underfoot. A place beckons where the outside world is left behind and the seeker can receive precious gifts of the present moment.

Fly fishing small mountain streams offers so much more than interacting with trout. And while dancing with trout is amazing, it’s the relationship cultivated with then entire ecosystem that brings us to gain understanding of Oneness, connection, balance.

When wading and casting, one doesn’t have to concentrate on doing any specific mindfulness practice or yoga asana to find balance. It naturally occurs from being completely present. This comes from immersing not only the feet into cool water, but the entire self into the experience of staying upright on slick rocks and keeping the fly out of rhododendrons overhanging the creek. And submerging into the absolute beauty of wading through the green tunnel.

When only focused on numbers of trout caught, the entire experience of passing through the threshold into the magical world can easily be missed. Anyone can splash through water and drive themself relentlessly to pursue fish. But only those souls who understand the true gift offered by the river and rocks and trees, will come to know the Medicine offered by fly fishing.

Photo by Anna O.

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I call it holistic fly fishing and offer guided experiences through my business, Wading Women. Holistic fly fishing is based in balance of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of the experience. It is an approach founded in awareness of the environment and interconnectedness of all life. Our excursions are based on creating a nurturing, safe place to learn and connect. It’s all about deepening our relationship with Nature and all life by wading and casting…Wading Women. For more info visit the Wading Women website.

Photo by Anna O.
When Rocks Sing

When Rocks Sing

The large bolder in the middle of the clear, rushing water was the perfect place to sit as I tied on new tippet and a new fly. As I focused on tying the knots, attention given completely to the task, I felt vibrations coming from the rock through my body. Must be the rock transmitting the water’s movement, I thought.

On I waded until I found a much bigger rock to sit on for my snack of dark chocolate and almonds. As I chewed the nuts and sweet treat, I felt the same thing. I’d never felt vibrations from a rock before…not like that. And yes, the water was moving but, still. 

So I sat and felt the rock trembling and wondered if it was my body shaking…but no, it was definitely coming from outside of me. 

What must it take for something as solid and heavy as a rock to reverberate with the energy of water? I’ve been at large waterfalls and felt the earth shake from large volumes of water. I’ve stood on cliffs over 700 tall on the west coast of Ireland and felt the ground shake far back from the edge as waves crashed into shore. So yes, it’s possible for earth to transmit vibrations of moving water. I had just never felt it on the rocks in the creek.

It’s rather amazing, really. Something as hard and heavy and big as a large bolder can convey the language of water through vibrations. And, I’m guessing I could have put my ear to the rock and heard the music of the interplay between rock and water through the rock’s interpretation of those vacillations of sound waves…of energy.

In my meditation before sleep tonight, I closed my eyes and listened to my body. It felt energized and alive, in perfect balance. That usually happens after four or five hours of wading and casting, but tonight I noticed something different. It was as if my body still held the vibration of the rock…the music of the rock…and continued to emit joy from that profound song. 

While I truly love dancing with trout and the relationship I have with them as they swim to flies I tied and refuse or try them or swat them or ignore them, it’s experiences like I had today–when rocks sing to me and I am still enough to feel the music–that nurture my life, my self.