Snow. Sleet. Darkness. Light. Vice. Hook. Wrap. Set. Sparkle. Slide. Spin. Whip-Finish. Glue. Done.
What felt like an endless winter, continued on as the sun tucked in around 4:49 PM in the northern hills of Wisconsin. Outside the wind howled and the snow accumulated up the windowsill. The fire crackled. These short days made it hard to imagine those long, warm, sleeveless days on the river even existed in this lifetime. It sure was hard to imagine that they'd be back in four short months.
Some find themselves mad during these dark, winter months. Some find solace in reading and slowing down. Some find themselves more active, just with headlamps. Some express their creativity through art. I believe I fall in the latter category.
This particular winter day had found me with drive and excitement. As my day at work completed, I rushed home to find myself at my tying table. I call it my creative station, a table filled with hundreds of different thread colors, feathers, and hooks - my husband calls it an organized mess. I had recently heard about a fundraiser going on for a not-for-profit, Warriors & Quiet Waters Foundation (WQW), that serves post-9/11 combat veterans through fly fishing in Montana. A place I dream to make home one day. The WestSlope Chapter of Trout Unlimited was hosting a Tie-A-Thon to collect hand-tied fly-fishing flies for veterans to use while they found respite through fly fishing. With my heart beating fast for an aligned mission, I took to tying Parachute Adams, Bead Head Pheasant Tails and a personal favorite, Elk Hair Caddis. It was empowering to know that the work that I put in at the table that night would eventually find its way into the fly box of a Warrior learning to how to fly fish. I feel lucky and humbled to be able to serve Warriors in this way.
Thank you to the WestSlope Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Missoula, MT for continuing to conserve, protect, and restore watersheds and the wild fish that live amongst them. Thank you to Warriors & Quiet Waters Foundation for supporting those who have served through fly fishing.