Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Re-connecting With The Past

There are times in life when you think,
 "I'm done with that. No one really wants to hear this any more".
Then there are times in life when you say
"Well nearly 16 years have passed and no one's doing what I did.
So what the hey, let's see if we can still fly this plane.

So out of the storage units I pulled all my old stage gear. Anvil cases and wiring and whatever I could find.
I must say that the smell of nearly 16 years of storage and mice droppings and mold and dust were a reminder of how long it had been. There was the CMT and Sons of the Sanjaquin stickers along with a 1987 Excellence in Broadcasting sticker I got from Rush Limbaugh when he first when on the air in California and long before he became king of the airwaves and a controversial right wing character..

Would the batteries in my old controller keyboards still work? Could I figure out how to re-wire everything in the snakes and from the 48pin custom snakes I had built back then to make set up's a breeze? 12 midi cables, 1/4in. mono and st., xlr to 1/4's, splitters and more.. Well 3 days of diagrams and re-wiring and everything is back and working. holy cow.. What have I done:)

All the music from 44.1 dat files are being transferred real time into protools and re-exported as aif's.  I must say that the sound of gear has changed in nearly 20 years but much of what I did on those arrangements is more than good enough today.  

Incorporating MegaSeg as a controller software is a cool new technology and good mic's are good mic's.
My old JBL front loaded cabarets with 18's 10's and 1's with a Wbin 18" sub have been replaced.  I loved the low volume ability of those front loaded cabs for warmth and transparency in rooms under 200.
now it's all powered gear out there. 18" mackie Subs and 3way 1230's that will fill 800 seats but most likely I'll be just putting Mackie 450's ontop of the subs to keep some warmth around at low levels. I do love the smart crossovers by DBX to be able to bypass the normal Mackie sub to mid connections and be able to save them for different set ups on eq. Yea to touring companies who invented that stuff...

So now it's Lyrics... Ha. I never used lyrics for 23 years. 3 to 400 songs in my head with changes and lyrics. I never left a space on my racks for a lyric "cheat" book. Well that ain't happening no more. I forget where my glasses are when they are on my face sometimes.   I'll never forget the first time I saw Billy Joel with a 4 inch ring binder on top his grand for all the lyrics. Nope... no CRT display with scrolling lyrics for Billy. LOVE IT>.

And then choosing 100 tunes to begin with... Big choice.  I've put together about 60 to 80 so far and as I began to play them again I was freaked out at how after all these years, my hands went to the three keyboards on the racks and began playing the arrangements as well as beginning to remember the 100's of sounds and patch changes that happen throughout the songs.  I'll just say I have a lot of work to do to get smooth again working it all and singing without thinking.

And singing?  Our voices change and if we don't use them the same, they thicken. I'm singing one hour sets after a week and pretty tired on the second. Hoping to be up to 4 sets by the end of the month and also hoping i can re-develop some of the vocal whispering techniques I was so adept at doing on the down stuff to save on the voice. Not sure I'll ever sing a high G. soprano again on the Gino Vanelli stuff but Eb is where i'm maxing out today in my exercises.  

This blogging is as much for me a way to remember what I've done the last six or so years as it is for anyone else to follow. Life is such a journey of twists and turns, victories and defeats along the road to forever.  

I have my dreams to be in and old home in the Bozeman Montana area as I slow down someday. A little restaurant and bistro with a piano. Cooking high end cuisine with beautiful wines and love songs flowing every night for 30 to 50 guests. Living upstairs on top of the restaurant and bringing something special to a neighborhood.. Yea... Keep the dream alive my friends...

Where will I be playing?  Well three venues is what I'm looking at.
1. high end dining establishment. (jazz and love songs)
2. bar/restaurant combo (folk, pop, jazz,country and dance)
3. showcase clubs (original music only in an intimate setting)
4 oh yeah... worship... I still will look to take a team and do my worship events.... somewhere...

Ok, I'm back to rehearsing.  
See you soon. You can find my gigs at and at my linked artist "reverb nation site" 


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

When Nature Touches Art

I was walking in a silent and still snow storm.  At my side in euphoric joy was my giant black schnoodle Sophia. Covered in white snowflakes the size of dimes we slowly walked the giant tree lined streets in a rising foot of fresh snow. There as I turned a sharp corner I put my headsets on and hit play.   The hundred year old oak trees completely covered the street  from both sides and they were piled with three to four inches of powder on them. More than I'd ever seen in 57years. A solo trumpet began to play as the giant snowflakes fell in the still night.  It was Chris Botti playing "Ave Maria" with the orchestra.  It was truly a religious moment. Gods Nature touching mans art. I'd never really had it all come together like that in all my travels. I froze in place and let that moment wash over me, never to be forgotten. For there are millions spent to create moments in movies like this,  but in real life it's rare.
And then there is "A River Runs Through It". If you've read my blogs over the years, I make reference to it. As a life long fly fisherman and one who wants their remains spread over the holy mountain streams of Montana, the movie is pretty special. And so I watched it again last night. In the land behind my home with a projector and screen and a friend. 78degrees, light breeze, big stereo monitors and my tent there for sleeping in and staring at the stars through the night. . These are the words I wrote as i sat.
"And The moon was full. Shining through the  oaks that swayed in the breeze. Awash in the warm gentle sounds of crickets and trains in the night I sit.  And from my seat in the long grass I stare at a nine foot screen in the distance.  Digital images and sound mixing with  the natural elements of perfect summer night. 
And there it was..
The rhythm of a butterscotch cane rod dancing over the glistening waters and calling my soul. Where the gentle strings brought  forth waters.  Waters that came from the river that runs through my soul , and are replenished by the mix of the sweet and bitter moments of life."

And I now sit in silent stars and  think of the times where "God made" touches "man made" through nature and our lives. It's the first cry from a childs lungs, it's the last sigh from a dying friend. It's the free ticket to the secret ballet of music and dance that we left on the night stand as we picked up the remote and closed our windows for another evening of air conditioned cable. For if it's the things we've done that haunt us in life, it's as well the things we've missed that bring us pain.    
   And in the end, what remains is what we leave behind. Never the things; for surely they will perish.  And all that remain are the seeds we planted of love, that were watered with the tears of our fears, faith and hope. Hope of a clearer and more honest picture of life and life more abundant for those we leave behind.

And my songs? They are slower now, and my words are sharper. I  hug my friends longer, kiss with more passion and say I'm sorry more often.  I curse more and worship deeper. I accept more as normal and  less as perfect.  

And all that remain are the seeds we planted of love, that were watered with the tears of our fears, faith and hope. Hope of a clearer and more honest picture of life and life more abundant for those we leave behind.

on the eve of my 57th year

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Hiding Places

It's 2AM here at WoodnFire Studios in Mpls. I sit in my studio chair while ProTools files are rendering and my heart is as well rendering big files as it's being swept back to some hiding places from the last few weeks of life.  We say life is made of making memories, good and bad. We survive through the black and white moments of life, but we live or die in the colors of our memories.  Colors sometimes more real in memory that fade in time.  So I take a few minutes and paint some photos of my last two soul safari's.  As i traversed many times roads traveled by Lewis and Clark, they used pencil and paper and I use an I-Phone5 to capture moments that will automatically like a decoder ring decipher to words when I upload and look at them.  Now I know you are not a cheater if you are reading this but if you click on this first picture, it should bring up a lightbox to just view the photos,videos and skip 20min. of actual reading :)

The Ruby Reservoir. 
By day you drive by and it's a pretty flat rolling countryside that moves down to a man made lake. I guess you'd say it's not much to look at. You can walk an hour in most directions and just pass sagebrush bush after sagebrush bush and rodent/snake holes with dried cow pies.  So how is it possible that I had my most memorable night ever in 30+ years of sleeping in Montana on that flat land...
We say in golf that to get your driving, chipping and putting all into alignment, is the trifecta. It's is about  the only way to break a score into the 70's. Usually you can get one or two together but three? Not often.  

Camping and Fly Fishing have a different set of things for the trifecta.  On the fishing side, and unlike lakes, streams are always alive with food moving, and fish eating. If you understood what really happens under that stream water to facilitate the life of trout, you'd have to believe in God.

So simple, so amazing and complex. There are major hatches throughout the year on every river and stream that fly fisherman look to key on to make the fishing a bit easier and more productive but, there are "always" fish to be had if you're good enough to figure out "how" to make it happen. and  Ps. I'm not that good, and I get skunked after 35years of this, and i still leave a stream smiling every time. 

For camping nirvana I guess it different for everyone.  There are times when rainy days are relaxing and comforting and you just love to stay in your tent with a rain fly on and read and study and  drink steaming coffee while trying to keep the intoxicating smell of a smoke fire going all day.  Then there are cold nights when you go beneath your rated limits (mine are 15degrees). I've been down in single digits all alone, and had to put on all my clothes and jackets inside my bag. Not fun, but exciting in a sick way. Then there is new moon or light moon, no clouds, clear atmosphere, 65degrees, no wind, a calm lake that looks like land after sunset, the smell of a sagebrush and pine fire, a flat horizon that you can see stars from, from the flat land edges to the other side of the world in all directions.  The Milky Way looks like a milk streak on your glasses lenses that you cant really believe is there. The sound of a lost cow crying through the night in the distance. Your favorite beverage and a cuban cigar, a best friend and the best real cowboy music on the planet playing quietly in the background. (Royal Trifecta)..

Well that day we fished the Ruby River down stream away from this dam. There was a 30 something guy  with a spinning reel in his right hand and a 5 iron in his left heading to the river. (Rattlers) he said with fear in his voice. I asked him if he was right handed?  Yes, he responded with a puzzled look of fear.  I said you best change hands then, and put the 5iron in your right hand or you'll be in for a big surprise down there.  I left him and  I carried my river collapsible wading stick in my right hand  down stream. Within 5 min. I had to kill my first Rattler on the rock filled banks.  You don't want to be shooting pistols into the rocks my friends. That would be a Laurel and Hardy moment.  Oh yea,, now another gift of that day is that I've fished with various Sage rods exclusively for trout for over 30 years. For me the best and fastest rods. But that morning we had  stopped by Sweetgrass Rods  where my partner had had a bamboo made a few years ago by these legendary rod makers in Twin Bridges Montana.  Dave Delici handed me a 7'9" 4/5 weight 2 pc on the way out and said hey, take it today and fish it. Tell me what ya think and drop it off when ya head back this way.   Ya, no forms, no phone numbers no credit cards. Just:  Here, take a 1,000 or $2,000. rod out and drop it off on your way back through town (not even a be careful).   A thank you and we were off.  Really, do people do business like this anymore? Well hello Montana where opposite your wallet is your revolver and a handshake.

   It was windy that afternoon, and i didn't think this soft rod could throw line in the wind. Boy I was wrong.  It was kind of a religious experience.  The fish I landed in the 18"'s  fought that  shorter bamboo rod in a way I'd never experienced before. Like good shock absorbers vs old springs. The fish i lost and broke off  were the largest trout (that is a plural form), I'd ever had on to date. If i had not been out of paid work for 5 months and only doing unpaid ministry, I'd have not left Montana without that rod , and was kinda praying for a miracle that God would turn the graphite into bamboo before my very eyes... Anyway I'll talk of Ruby Res. later here, back to camping..

So we finish that day of fishing like always, at the trunk of the suv. Usually  somewhere between 4 and 7PM we meet. Dripped in sweat i cant wait to open the cooler for that incredible first sip of a quality IPA.  Sidebar... a few years ago inside Yellowstone park at the ranger and horse pull off of the Soda Butte, I come at sunset alone to my truck. Having just navigated a new way down river because a large male buffalo kept keeping me from the trails, I had climbed down an embankment and hoofed new ground back to the truck. Sweating and thirsty as the sunset,  I opened the back of my truck, took off my gear 

as two other guys were just coming to their trucks. They both lit pipes and opened Moose Drool IPAs as they sat on the back of their rental suv in fishing nirvana.   I lit a cigar and pulled out a can of GrainBelt premium. These two guys yelled out. Holy Cow they don't make that beer anymore. Not for years. I said ya want one? they both poured their ipas on the ground (ok just kidding there) and headed to my truck with their lit pipes looking like kids in a candy store opening a can of grainbelt.  I said hey whats your story? Sheepishly they said, were here for a convention but wanted to make time to fish. This has been incredible. I said cheers, and with my cigar i raised a hand and said I'm a minister who works in music and other business of life ministry and I'm here enjoying God and worshiping and this here grainbelt on my sweaty brow has me thanking God big time.   These to 30 somethings lit up like Christmas trees and said, we're both pastors from the East coast and are here for an inter denom. pastors retreat.   I then toasted and said "in my house the only toast is To The King" and it aint Budweiser.  So there as the sun set in the mountains along that river, three pastors with beers, pipes, a cigar and huge smiles of joy on their faces talked of how we are trying do ministry with more of Jesus honesty and truthfulness to the world than passing out rules and regs and saying be like me and then you'll be happy.   So much to discuss here but I'll leave it. Suffice to say I met them again in another part of yellowstone and we shared THE LOOK.  (God is Good, God is Great, Life is Incredible).
Ok, had to share that bit from five years ago, now back to Ruby Res.

My partner and I  head to this free camping area up off and around  the lake or (resv.)

Like i said earlier we set camp up on a big flat hill of sagebrush overlooking the resv.  You see when it rains in that kind of setting the earth smells like a Thanksgiving dinner. (100% full blown sage aroma and fresh rain)..  Surrounded by mountains and a glass lake, with clear skies and a fire crackling of the smell of Christmas and  Thanksgiving, we sat and laid down to watch the painted sunset slowly drop beyond the hills as a three quarter moon lit the sky with a night light of dark dark blue that lasted till morning.  The kind of blue that you see on a Broadway stage night scene, where you really believe it's night as the actors do their magic.  The billion stars took a while to say hello that night with the moon in play, but it was a celestial chorus by 1AM.  I remembered I had my laptop charged and I quickly opened I-tunes to play (great american cowboy) record by Sons of the SanJoaquin (over and over)   Yes Riders in the Sky are my fav. all around western group but the honesty of the  "Son's" is overwhelming it that setting. 
Listening to them that night with a lost cow crying in the valley, and the fire, and a old friend who fishes better than I sharing stories of life and faith,  I was just overwhelmed with all 5 senses as I sat in tears of thanksgiving, It was worship at it's finest.  If only our favorite dogs had been with us... That would have been over the edge.
The photo above was after 10PM and you can see how bright the moon was already. My precious wife had given me a few $30. cigars from her trips overseas and I sat with a cold beverage, a pot of coffee and a great cigar until the wee hours of the morning laughing, crying and worshiping in silence.

It's not always so nice. A month earlier I had spent 7 days and nights in the rain, high winds and cold temps in this part of the country camping in the Bear Trap Canyon Reserve. (photo of my wet fire one morning during devotions).  At this wilderness region, you sign in at a trail head for the rangers. So in case you don't come out at sunset, they will know your are in need of serious help with the bear population being what it is. I was the only person signed in that day in the wilderness reserve. I got back to camp before dark with one good trout for dinner and no pans and a huge storm about to break loose. I had to cook my trout and eat it off of my army shovel in the entryway rain flap of my little tent as the storm rolled in and my only food was gonna be destroyed if I didn't find shelter.  Now
if you camp in bear country you know you NEVER eat within 100 ft of your tent and should actually change clothes and wash up before going to your tent for the night. I slept a bit light that night knowing I had permeated my tent with the smell of Grilled Rainbow trout..   Wednesday In The Rain from Craig T Olson on Vimeo.
Well, it was about 2AM in the rain that I was awakened to the full blown cry of a wolf within 50ft of my tent. So loud I was actually frightened for a few minutes as I lay in the dark alone in this canyon now with a knife in each hand listening for footsteps.  It was then I noticed the key fob for my 4wd truck.  Yup with unbelievable joy, and like a kid, I began pushing the horn and locate vehicle buttons yelling "suckerrrrrs take that!" Like somehow a horn and lights made me invincible alone in the wilderness. I fell asleep fast with that key fob in my hand and it now has new meaning and respect :).  It's funny in life how you can have such false courage so fast with a little weapon in your hand...  Animals are not to be taken lightly.  

 And speaking of animals, A month earlier driving down from reviewing a property between Livingston and Bozeman I came across something I'm sure I'll never see again. A mother fox and six cubs. I had my realtor pull over to try to get a shot before they all ran into hiding in their dens there in a large fallen tree. Only three ran when we stopped, and the other 4 are in this picture. They blend in so well, if you weren't really looking, you'd pass them right by.

On this trip we drove up a pass from the West Fork of the Madison river West on dirt logging roads to the top of the Mt pass, and stumbled upon this beautiful deer with winter coat along the side of the Mt. It certainly is survival of the fittest up there and to see them leap away into the forest and out of sight is breathtaking.  Remember you can click on any of the photos in these blogs and see the original photo size (compressed for web of course) :).

Until you drive this country, you just can't imagine how big and large and dangerous is really is. And to think Lewis and Clark did this the way they did, is beyond incredible.  Columbus crossing the ocean. yea.  Crossing the Continental Divide?   Some in this life are born explorers and risk takers. God bless their mothers is all i can say..  In Montana one risk taker is ole Ted.

Well, let me go back to landing in Bozeman. Ole Ted Turners jet sits next to the rental car lot with buffalo logo and all, waiting for him to jetset somewhere at any time.

When you land and see it, you kind of feel like the landlord is in town since he has the largest ranch and most beautiful in all Montana.. Like Richard Branson and a few others, they are unique men of our time mixing business and love of wild.   Yet a few years ago I was drifting the Yellowstone River and there along a steep bank stood Ted on a narrow trail throwing flies to a riffle full of trout in well worn fishing attire.  Our boat drifted by him and he just looked up long enough to do a head greeting followed with his unmistakable cocky voice bellowing "great day for fishing boys".. A river and a fly rod makes no distinction between a billionaire and a trout bum and neither does God.  It can however always tell a rookie by the amount of fresh and clean LL Bean gear he's wearing that morning. Kind of reminds me of the east coast brother in "A River Runs Through It" who shows up with a bait casting reel and an old coffee can o' worms...

  Now when you camp and live on freeze dried for weeks at a time there is a bit of planning that must take place.  You have to plan enough foods and extras to make it through till you get to a store in a town down line.

I have a thing for laying everything out in my tent and doing inventory on a regular basis (in the mornings) and to checking to be sure I have the flies and extras I need for the next day on a river.  If it's raining it takes a lot longer since that sound on a rain flap is intoxicating at the least when mixed with a steaming pot of french press.  If only i prepped this hard to go golfing.. Shoes. yup, Bag, yup, lets' go..
Anyway, back to landing in Bozeman... My partner was held up in delayed flights for 12 hours so I rented a car for the day and went and just did business followed by a drive to Belgrade to listen to a band I'd heard  a few times over the years playin in a new joint.   I stood out side for a few hours on a Friday night as these boys tore up the country and western vibe with a lot of folks attempting to two step and having quite a time doing it!  the whole band was wearing good in ears, and  the keyboard player had a nice Nord Keyboard rig set up.   I's impressed. 

Most my friends know I'd like to re-locate to the Bozeman area and do and finish my life ministry there. Free thinking, free spirited artisans out there. Ranchers and Hippies and radical leftwingers and conservative rich folk all finding away to get along and leave each other alone with a big university crowd to keep hip.  Pretty libertarian for not being libertarian at all.. (laughter)..

Geeze back to  fishing..

If you follow my Montana Blogs you know I fish paradise valley allot and in the NE corner of the park. All catch and release for cutthroats, so I rarely ever eat a fish. The last two trips have been different.  First off I'll say I'm grieving. My old hand made net from idaho falls ID, that I've had for over 30 years (in this pic) came unclipped off my wading belt some 3  miles deep in the woods climbing up a ravine full of high thicket. It will most likely never be found by anyone. Here's the basic location of where it is  if you're ever down there..  

In life we make many offerings, I guess this was my offering to the trout gods.. and bear.....  If you ever see a picture of a bear wearing this net in the river fishing, call the park ranger and tell em it's mine.

Fishing the Bear Trap Canyon north of lake Ennis was an incredible hike along that winding canyon. This picture below  was at the first turn into the trail head. Now a mile or so in, and three or four winds of the river and you are surrounded on all sides by steep mountains of evergreens. You can look up anywhere and envision a bear staring at you (hopefully across the river). Eagle and hawks sit in that canyon and soar for hours by the pairs and there is a section with a dozen or so large storks or pelicans that live in that remote area that kinda look like they own the neighborhood. Since it was during run off this was one of the only areas where there was any water clarity. The fly fishing was mainly a streamer or large nymph with a small pheasant trailer or such. Rarely did the fish ever strike the nymph or streamer but always take the small grain of rice sized pheasant tail nymph.. After all these years I'm still amazed that these large food machines mainly dine on ridiculously small nymphs.
15min up the trailhead
Rainbow trout unlike other species have this innate ability like bass, to jump. Like dogs, some are runners and some are jumpers. Rainbows are jumpers. It's like they say hey here I am "a rainbow" look at my colors in the wind and try to keep me on sucker...
On this trip, my friend and I staked out a section of the Madison River one evening before dark and walked the high grass banks looking for a spot to settle in and wait for dark where we could wait for the caddis hatch to come on after dark, and then night cast and  listen for "pow".... on the top of the water with multiple aerial jumps.  The hard part is not snapping the lines in hook sets and climbing down the bank into a dark river to land them. I only managed to get one photo in the dark.  For losing an Iphone5 into a dark river is not a good idea while tryin to handle a feisty fish and then get er back to safety in the river. This beauty was not large but the colors were spectacular with my head lamp on. I didn't have a net so that made it even more dicey.. 
In near the same sections of the river upstream and across there were some nice riffs along the banks of rocks to fish and after missing and snapping off a few larger fish I finally found a couple of nice browns. These bigger browns will hit you on the swing or deeper in a whole and just sit there for a min. to decide if they want to play or not. You might think you're snagged on a rock and try to roll cast and get the hook off the rock when many times you have a larger fish down there waiting to see what you're gonna do.  And when they decide to move in the river.... get ready. :)
I've since found that this portion of the river is catch and release as well. I didn't know that at the time,  and this brown and a few of his relatives didn't taste at all like they were verbotten.  Much better than freeze dried rice and beans, and tastes allot like bald eagle and spotted owl.

It might sound a bit strange but after you get a hook out of a good trout, half the fun is gettin in the water and holding them by the tail as they re-oxygenate themselves and get strong enough to swim away.  You have to be very careful of this. I've sadly lost to many fish over 35years, thinking they were ready after a few minutes in the stream. Then when they swim off they flip over and become bear and fish food down river.  This one was Craig food...

The West Fork...  
There are many rivers that flow into larger ones. It's the cycle of life. This river flows into the Madison a mile or so down from here. From my camp space in this very bear country, I hiked up stream to this point and then climbed down and entered by that broken tree and fished up stream beyond this view. With pepper spray (thanks Bruce:) ) and a bear bell on, I fished a lot of very small nymph patterns without much success. A half dozen misses and no hook sets beyond the proverbial head shake "see ya"...  Like all rivers as you go up stream the rivers run smaller and smaller with creeks feeding into them from the melting mountain snow pack.  This photo was before 7AM. My breath was frosted and the sun had just peeked over the Mountain onto this section of the lush green forest. I had taken an early walk before breakfast to scope out this new area before gearing up and heading  out and up river.

This part of the river has allot of fallen trees in it. It was a time of testing to not lose nymph patterns to the submerged tree limbs off the banks as you'd drift your nymph silently down stream.  You cast and move and cast and move, looking at the banks and the rocks and the riffs.  All the while you are looking into the stream for any thing floating by to give you a clue when there are no hatches going on around you. You look at the tree limbs and grass and rocks for sings of what might be in the area. There were a remarkable abundance of red and black ants that the camp sight. two parts red one part black so I had an accoutrement of them in my vest to use as droppers floating behind an weightier nymph pattern.   On my way back down stream i stopped at a curve in the river after a bend and was drifting along the bank when. God said "here dummy try this".. and onto my vest and hand flew the precious Salmon fly.

This hatch is one of the most prized in fly fishing. You cant count on it, you cant time it, you don't know when it will surface from the deep each year, but when they do, and when the trout finally realize it's Christmas, the big fish who hide all day and feed at night come roaring out of no where to feast with reckless abandon.  
  I've always had salmon fly patterns in my fly box but never could use them unless it was for ignorant bass in the Midwest.   These 3plus inch critters are harmless and allot like dogs. They just love ya and want to be all over you.  Well I put this on in my fly box for a souvenir and quickly cut my 5x fly line back 3 feet and tied my best salmon fly on.. Having not landing a fish that morning i was not remotely ready to throw my first cast back to a run I had thrown into 10 times already. Instant Wham and my line was tight and snapped.  That was the highlight of the day. It's not catching and landing them, it's tricking them to the take. If you get them in, it's a bonus. Ahh the salmon fly.. what a beautiful creation. Their stain glassed wings and either yellowish or orange bodies make them quite a site. 
 I grew up a spinning reel kid with an old famous Mitchell 300 reel. One of my little spinners growing up for crappies and bass was a mepps 01. this little black and white spinner polka dot spinner blade. They said it was for trout. Well I'm eating breakfast in my site one morning and I look down and there is a mepps 01. I reached down to get it and it moved... I'll be darned if it wasn't a small butterfly.
I couldn't get my phone to get the contrast right but these wings were coal black the those spots were bright white and it was florescent green under the wing body. Wow, God is so amazing. I see Him in nature way more than in humans...  This section of the West Fork was remarkably scenic and I'd be happy to just hike back up that river to enjoy the view.  This clip of the West Fork from outside my tent was during a late afternoon caddis hatch.   I'd never been in  the west fork before and  the first night we cooked a few miles away and changed clothes before coming into camp to be sure the bears would have no scent of us. Pepperspray and kinves laid out exactly where you know they are for a in the dark reactionary grap are essential to a good nights sleep. When you're 10 ft from a river the noise is so loud you'ld think you'd hear nothing. Well that night I heard plenty of sounds along wtih a cattle drive that went on all night and through the next day. Here's a clip in the morning during that same cattle drive. Off in the distance you can see and hear them moving over the sounds of the river.

Now back fishing along the Madison, its a much wider river and you have to pick your spots more carefully I caught a pic of my old fishing partner Bruce casting away in silence toward sunset.... the way he likes it. (shut up and dont' talk to me will ya) never spoken - just realized :) We headed from their south to the Ruby River and Reservoir. Yes the Ruby, I talked about that a bit earlier in this blog. The fish down stream and beneath that dam were the biggest trout I'd ever had on a line to date. Never landed one and broke them all off the first night.  Fished there the next day and the only ones I landed were 16 to 19". The rest were snap offs.   My last cast of the day was downstream crossing on the mend into one seam for a 2sec. chance at a good drift. It took me 5min to get into a casting place in the river to make the cast and as it passed  over that hole a fish rose up on my 1x leader and hit me so hard.. I lifted hard and fast and this monster browns back and tail moved the water like a freekin top water muskie. Snapped my 1x and it was over in 5sec. Wow what a ride for a moment.  I had a few smaller fish there but never landed anything large. 

HOOKS. now hooks are a controversy in fly fishing. To barb or not to barb is the question.   I like to fish.. no, let me clarify, I try to remember to debarb every hook i fish with. It's 10 times harder to land a fish this way because if you give the fish one second to turn on you or go to the bottom, they just move their heads and hook comes out.  Frustrating, but worth it to save the trouts mouth and for me...  since I made the great mistake of getting a Joes Hopper fly, with barb embedded into my head years ago on  Soda Butte or Lamar River in the Yellowstone Park.  I had to go to the hospital to get it removed. If I had debarbed it I could have taken it out n 2sec. As it was, I had my buddy Bruce back then trying to rip it out with a leatherman pliers. Not a chance. There is a science to pulling out a light wire barbed fly fishing hook.  Usually if its a steel hook you can just turn the hook up and push it back out of your body, cut the barb off and it's out. Wire bends... Cant do that....
I actually did that push it through on my index finger with a barbed nymph in bear trap canyon last month. I thought it was debarbed, was walkin along a path and my line became undone from my rod. It caught a limb and ripped a little green nymph pattern completely buried into my index finger. If that had been a dry fly hook I'd a been screwed but since it was a hard nymph hook I took my leatherman along the steam edge and pulled it back out the other side of my finger.  Little bit of water and hand sanitizer and we were all good..

Well, I've got allot more pics and allot more stories but It's time to get back to work and I'll have to blog again on this in the future... I know I could write this all in story form but only have the time to get down the basics here today. I'll just say this, we then fished the Jefferson River in rain, snow/hail/sleet and driving winds for two days. Those two days have now become the measure of what a large trout means to me.  22 and up.... small flies jammed into larger tippets with hopes you can keep from snapping just one..

Till next time or trip.. keep the dream alive and burning in your hearts..

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Can We Get Real?

This quote disturbed me today. Could it be true.. Could I be one of them.. Can I admit that.. Will I justify any area of my life that I may have faked. (confidence, false-pride where fear lived) I guess I could make a list and Jesus "could" make a bigger one (but wouldn't). And satan.. oh he has a massive list he's using against you 24/7 for his benefit from any direction he can use them.  For him Fake is a good thing,  and also bad, so he can condem and shame you later.. if.. you let him.
I posted a very long response today to a ministry website that had reposted an article on Creator or Critic.
  Like blogging, I'm guessing few will read it, but it's part of the process of being, and exploring your self while allowing others the opportunity to agree, disagree or learn or reject you. Yes, I do believe that  Narcissism is involved in all social media and I am in that group to some degree, so let's get that out of the way..

At the end of the day and the posting above, I reflected before hitting the send button.

 "Can we get real" really?  

My honest answer: NO "capital letters".

For a million reasons but one big one. "FEAR".
    Only Jesus loves us enough to have perfect love that can cast out all fear, and in that allow us to be transparent with Him. And yet even in that, how many of us are willing to even admit to Christ what He already knows about us.

In a world designed around "it's all about me" i submit two things are happening.

1. People who disregard morality and faith, are more honest about their weaknesses and who they really are than ever before. It's showing up in a billion ways and places.
2. People of faith remain and are less honest about their weaknesses and who they really are as a result of "TEACHING" and false expectations of who and what they are supposed to be like. 

There are no perfect leaders.... Except the one who came and lived and suffered and died and rose again to give us hope and a future when all was lost... Jesus is the ONLY ONE. Stop projecting and teaching and faking otherwise..

Parents need to learn to be honest with their children about their pasts and weaknesses and struggles so their children can learn to live and survive through their own failures, not hide and lie and live in shame of some unrealistic expectation of who they are supposed to be.

Exposing our darkness to the light.. what a concept.

The same goes for leaders, teachers, pastors, mentors and pop culture hero's. But no... we just love being on the pedestal, stage and at the podium being adored and called "elite and special".

I Googled "fake people" photos, and you can imagine how foul most of the photos and comments were.  I posted a few here that were at least honest. Like the blog I read this morning from a talented pastor evangelist "creative". It appeared (I'm sure without his knowing) that the critics were the problem , not he or his band of creatives and hero creatives. (unknowingly he was putting "his" group back up on a pedestal for all to admire). 

I'm trying to learn to be more transparent. I fail way more than succeed.  I have friends who are so much better than I at it. So much less passive aggressive. They may be (in my eyes) way more imbalanced than I in many ways, and as a result, appear to struggle more. But hey, you always know where they stand, which is nice (;

So i don't know bout you, but I really would like to be more like Jesus.. and he wasn't fake. 
He didn't have to lie, because he told the truth. 
He didn't have to cover anything because He didn't sin.
Now really good people can succeed in the above two, and then develop a self righeousness that's worse than fake.. Damned if you do.....  Yup, that's right. Exactly. Thank you JESUS for YOU.

I'll never be Him, and shouldn't pretend that i am to the world around me to feel better bout my self, but, I certainly can aspire every day to try.. and be.. real, and loving and honest and giving. Yup i know that the more I fill my flesh with His word and spend time trying to really say "what would you do Lord" in every circumstance, the better chance I have at hearing "well done".

So can we get real.. really? fully? 
Don't think so, so don't expect if from others either. And that's ok. For so long as we're honest and trying to follow His footsteps, hear his whispers and realize our hope is found in nothingless...

Everything else is just costumes on a fake set.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I Think of You

In a warm light rain where sun does shine
oer a moonlight night under snow filled pines
when a rainbow rises in a mountain stream
and an eagle soars on a morning breeze
I think of you.

In the beauty of a child's eyes
on  tear stained cheeks from a mothers cry
When love grows fresh where  love had died
and  mortals slip from through skies of blue
I think of you

From the sacrifice of the purest  heart
to a broken world that had come apart
When the light replaces darkest night
From hopeless to everlasting life
I think of You

Ever faithful, Always waiting.
Nothing will turn You away
Always creating. Always renewing
Forever showing the way
I think of You.
I Think Of You
Craig T.© Tenn Minn Music

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Why is it always about you

Well, It's dead of winter. Lot's of time to think here in the deep freeze of the great white north. I'm  guessing posts from June to October are usually much about nature and beauty and all God is doing.  And I've not researched it, but I'm guessing there are a heck of a lot more introspective cathartic posts during the winter months from "frozen" destinations.

My last post on N.Y.Eve was pretty cathartic and I re-read it the other day to see if I'd learned anything in the last few months from myself. Geeesh ... should I really say that. HA!, it's a blog, So...  now here's a post on Narcissism. Yup, you should be laughing at that flow of thought as I'm typing.... I am. :)

Sandy Hotchkiss  wrote this great book that a therapist gave me not to long ago. And to make it better the Psychologist said with a wry smile and raised eyebrow "read this and don't think of others.. put the shoe on Your foot Craig".  So i dove in and read it that week.   Her advice to me was great because honestly, i saw the faces of most the people in my phone book as I read,  and had to constantly re-read sections and think about "me". 
Her explanations of narcissism founded by the age of two is worth the read in itself for every parent.

 Narcissism.  Wow, Wish I would have read up on the depth of this years ago.  I thought it was all about ego manics for 40yrs.

I must admit that I found my faith in Christ at a time in the early 70's when  seeing therapists was a sign of spiritual weakness and immaturity. You could get any answer and healing by just prayer and reading the Word, combined with a local pastor and a church counselor.  OMG have we learned a lot in 40 years of ministry... Long live the professional counselors.  
That's not to dismiss the potential help of a local church and pastor or church para ministry, but, I'd do a professional any day and follow it up with a good local support group..not... the other way around. 

OK, yes there are exceptions. I'm sure you are one of them and that's ok. Let's move on.

I remember entertaining and doing the opening premier  of the George and Ira Gershwin show in Charleston S.C. a few years ago with an incredible group of musicians and singers from around the country.  Sold out shows, so the ushers had a lot of work to do. 
  Well there was a grey haired man in his 70s' one night working the doors and I asked him what he did for a living.  He was the Sr. Pastor of a mega church and just loved the theatre, and loved giving back to that community.. How COOL!  So i point blank asked him. " How do you handle counseling folks from your church pastor?".  With a twinkling smile he said " I counseled the first couple in my church 40+years ago, and after it was done I knew all their secrets and they left my church in fear I'd out them. So I've never counseled another couple. They all get referred to a list of professionals.  Doesn't mean I  don't  meet with, and pray for my flock mind you, just that we refer them to professionals."  whoo hoo. Thank you Jesus.

So let me circle my thoughts now.

My NYEve post talked a bit about this book and unconditional love and what it isn't..
Today I'd add and submit this.

I would submit that good people raised around good people, who make good choices and are lifted up for this behavior, naturally tend to develop a sense of self-righteousness.  
To live a life like Jesus would be the greatest thing we could do, and in many ways living a holy life IS Jesus. Except were not Him...

As mortals if we let our righteousness become self-righteousness and then surround ourselves with people who think like us.  we have great lives in our closed communities until we are "wronged", "sinned against", "betrayed". There is a chemical reaction when Self-righteousness meets those words.  It's intoxicating, and powerful and dark.  It's called Entitlement.  Yup "dark ...a very dark .. word.

We use it a lot in the natural sense of  politics and welfare and in discussions of spoiled children and younger generations,  but I'd submit within the household of faith and all things God, that it's way darker than in it's secular definitions. 

If you let spiritual entitlement enter your being in any way, it will justify every self-righteous vile, evil, angry, depressing, hate filled thought you can think of about those that didn't live up to your expectations of them by hurting you.  You won't see your thoughts as evil, but as justified. Since you are a good (righteous) person, you didn't or don't deserve to be treated or wronged or betrayed or just plain sinned against. You are entitled to better. Your self-righteous self tells you all this in a convincing way.. Really convincing. Funny however that the world sees that personality trait of Entitlement and self-righteousness in the church and runs from it, knowing it's not Christ but using it as an excuse to run from Him.

I've been there, done that. Rode that horse on both sides of the fence. Don't like it and want to expose it for what it is. A Killer of all things good and destroyer of Unconditional love.

So that's it for today. Seek it out, look for that darkness, expose it in the light of this thought.

I don't deserve anything in life. I work for things, and yes I receive  things for my labor. But all good comes from God,  and godly principles applied to my life. Anything good I receive is a blessing. Any perceived or unperceived wrong done to me is part of my journey. (accept it!) The success in that is, am I able to either move on after every hurt and failure to victory and freedom or be paralyzed in hurt, anger, fear, bitterness, loneliness, depression all wrapped in that beautifully dark word "Entitled"?

Jesus, today,  help us to drop the " I deserve" and change it to "Father Forgive them ... "

I promise Spring is coming, and I'll begin uplifting happy blogs of life, and the outdoors, and laughter and the beauty of all God's creation!