Contrarianism

In New England, Monday was a holiday. For the long weekend, I went to Barkhamsted, CT, to fish. I rented a small room on a river.

Fished about eight to 10 hours a day. Water was very low, which made for very challenging conditions. The fish spooked easily, and so, you had to slowly creep up to them while hunched over and cast while kneeling on the river’s bottom.

I fished alone. It was a great time to enjoy nature and have some time to be introspective. Fishing is both a means and an end for me. A time for spiritual renewal.

On Sunday, it rained all day, and I was nearly the only one out there. But, that is when the fishing is best. It is a bit like life in general, whether it is VC or entrepreneurship or research. You want to be doing what others are not able or willing to do. That is when you know you’re working on something special, something that is unique.

This large brown trout was the fish of the trip.

Other good-sized fish, 15″ to 16″, showed up.

Sometimes, the smallest fish are the prettiest. I caught many wild baby landlocked salmon and brown trout.

A fish gracefully finning in place is amazing. Here is a video of a fish I had just released.

The views were stunning.

Lunch usually was PB&J sandwiches. They taste best when made on the trunk of my car and eaten next to the river.


Hope everyone had a restful weekend.

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4 thoughts on “Contrarianism

  1. Hi Jo,

    I especially enjoyed this blog post, as it really brought me down memory lane, to a couple of different places, and touched my consciousness on at least a couple of different levels. Many years ago – gosh, it’s almost 40 years ago now – I knew that section of the Farmington River quite well. I sometimes fished the section between the Riverton Bridge (Hitchcock Factory) and the Colebrook dam. I was just a kid of 17-20 back then, so I wasn’t into fly fishing then…but sometimes during my break as a waiter at the Old Riverton Inn (between the lunch crowd, and dinner crowd), I’d grab my spin rod and go off by myself for a couple of hours, to unwind, both my psyche and a bit of fish line. The trout were usually elusive, but it didn’t matter, the nature and quiet time made up for the stubborn fish.

    Lower sections of the Farmington (especially the section above, and below, Satan’s Kingdom), I knew pretty well, too. I not only canoed that section of the river every chance I got (I was an “outdoor studies” major, before I switched to political science), but I was also so foolish as to have scuba dived through the Kingdom’s rapids. My thinking was I’d find all sorts of interesting “artifacts”, where so many canoes had capsized.

    I survived, and I did find a bunch of submerged, tangled, old fishing lures. But that’s a whole ‘nother story, and I digress…

    The photo of the bend in the river you posted, reminds me a bit of the section of the river that went through People’s State Forrest, but, as mentioned, it’s been nearly 40 years now, so my (once upon a time) memory of every turn of the river, has definitely become very hazy…more of a general, very fond, recollection of happy days spent with my sneakers wet. I can almost smell the fall leaves from my living room.

    The other aspect of your blog post that touched me pretty deeply (significantly enough to post a comment), was when you mentioned the enjoyment of solitary fishing, as it allows you to enjoy nature, and be introspective…particularly when the weather is inclement. This very much reminded me of my days, also so long ago now, when I was a ski guide/instructor in Kitzbuhel, Austria. I particularly loved those blizzardy, blustery, particularly cold days, when I’d find myself alone, miles from any village, at the top of a mountain, when I could/would enjoy the nature, and the ability to be introspective (without having to entertain ski guests). I can almost feel the wind in my face now.
    And – strikingly similar to the way I had come to know the Farmington River – after many seasons in Kitzbuhel, I believe I could, back then, replay every curve of every long (some miles long) run, in my mind’s eye. That acute geospatial memory is long gone, but the pleasantness of the experience I’ll carry forever.

    And that’s what many of your blog posts – particularly the ones where you’re communing with nature – do for me. Gosh, I could even relate to your eating peanut butter sandwiches over the hood of your car. I used to do that in the upper Killington parking lot…and many other places, too. That recollection almost (well, actually it did, I’m not embarrassed to say) made my eyes misty. Such powerful memories.

    Anyway, I’ve grown too sentimental.

    So, if you’ll allow me (and forgive me), I’d like to switch gears, and mention something a bit “commercial” in nature. I hope you don’t think it terribly crass of me (I’m thinking because you are a venture capitalist, and understand the power of networking; you’ll forgive me this one indiscretion! And I promise to never mention “sales” again in a comment to your blog).

    But…
    I just want to very quickly mention that I have an enormous supply of vintage (much, unopened as new, old stock) of fly tying materials. I am trying to find this material a new good home. Currently, I am attempting to flog it on eBay (my seller name is “eastofgreenwich”, and my more artsy/and artifact-y stuff, I sell under the name of “capecodchip”).

    I also have a number of vintage rods, that I’d like to find a new home. One, in particular, I think you might really like. It’s a 1954 Orvis bamboo, made by Cal Skinner…2.5 oz, 5.5’…sweet, very light rod, perfect for sneaking up on trout with.

    It almost goes without saying, but if any rod, or fly tying material – or anything at all – catches your fancy, I could certainly do a better price than I have on eBay. That’s the power of networking! And, after enjoying your blog posts for over a year now, I feel a certain collegial connection to you, so I’d sharpen my pencil as much as I possibly could.

    Also, along the lines (no pun intended!) of possibly paying you back (just a small bit), for having had the enjoyment of reading your blog posts, I’d like to send you something (just a small token of “thanks”), but I think you may like it, or at least get a small “kick out of it”, as they used to say.

    It is a Yale University “Annual Dinner” menu for the Class of 1878. It actually has a good deal of collectability to it, because it was William Howard Taft’s graduating class. I know you are (rightfully so!) very proud of your days at Yale, so I think this bit of historical ephemera would feel right at home, in your home. Or office. You probably remember, Taft went on to teach at Yale, after his Presidency.

    Just a “freebie”, if you like it! And not totally altruistic on my part…cause I’m a great believer in karma…Show a little nicety to someone, and maybe it will make swing back to me some day. And even if it doesn’t, it just feels good to gift things, once in a while, as one sometimes can.

    Thanks for letting me bend your ear for a bit.

    Tight lines!

    Chip
    Eastgreenwich, RI

    1. Hi Chip,

      This is one of the kindest notes I’ve ever received on this blog. Thank you for making the time to write in.

      Yes, isn’t fly fishing amazing? Very meditative and, like skiing, your mind is always fully focused “on the moment.” Yes, I fish from Riverton all the way down to S. Kingdom. Some amazing fish at the Farmington.

      Regarding the items on eBay, I will check them out. I really appreciate the heads up. And, regarding the Yale memorabilia, I will humbly accept and will send to you via email my mailing address.

      I’m touched that you reached out.

      Fondly,

      Jo

    2. Chip, I received the package. Thank you for both the Taft Dinner item as well as the book. I am very grateful. Thank you very much!

  2. Jo, You’re welcome! So glad you like the Yale/Taft piece. It “had your name written on it”…figuratively! I’ve enjoyed your blog for a while now, and so a little “thank you” was in order.

    Best,
    Chip

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