A wonderful day up in Brook Trout country on Friday got me to thinking about why Brookie fishing is such a fun and calming challenge. There are lots of technical things you could cite as crucial but to me it really boils down to a something of a dichotomy: In order to succeed you have to be as mentally present as you can, while at the same time being as physically not present as you can. It sounds weird but it means you have to be absolutely focused on nothing but the stream, the fly, the fish. As the situation becomes everything to you, you strive to become nothing to the situation. Ideally, you want everything to be as though you weren’t even there; no sound, no shadow, nothing. I don’t know, but it seems like there must be something healthy about an activity that rewards you for maximizing the importance of everything around you and minimizing the significance of your presence in it. I can’t be sure…but I know it makes you smile.