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Ronan's report

Sunday July 10th 2011

The board is doing its job again of shedding light into some of the myriad dusty corners of fly casting law. Bernd's latest video is a cracker and has helped me understand something about my own casting.

Doesn't it feel great when we discover something new? That ah-hah! moment is brilliant. Everything seems to fall into place and we revel in our new understanding. Like children fitting blocks into holes we'll repeat our new discovery over and over, giggling at its simplicity and completeness, reinforcing our learning and etching new principles into our memory.

I think that's one of the reasons I like teaching people to cast. You get to encourage and witness this process of discovery time and time again.

New discoveries are seldom serendipitous. There needs to be at least some curiosity there in the first place. At a low level maybe it's just an interest in the way things work, or don't work. A kind of "how do I fix that" feeling.

At best it's to do with wonder. The world is amazing in both its endless complexity and its staggering propensity for order. Focus in on the myriad chain of events that lead up to the chaos of a major mayfly hatch, then spin the telescope around the other way and take in the poetry of how river, mayfly, swallow, trout, heron, and angler all jigsaw neatly together. How does that work?! Truly wonder-full.

You can't have discovery without mystery and mystery itself is an attractive proposition. The mirrored surface and the dark drop-off-depths hide mysteries that have drawn us the to riverbanks and sea-shore for millennia. Just the thought of alien creatures living in another element is enough to keep me casting. Monsters don't need to be fact to pull us towards the water.

As kids we used to invent stories of a 30lb carp that inhabited the local farm pond (in which the real-life population averaged 2lb a piece and topped out at 10lb). We'd wind each other up with stories of seeing huge fish with bulldog backs, sunbathing in quiet weed-beds, or of being hopelessly smashed up by unseen monsters. Because we couldn't definitively say there weren't monsters there, we chose to believe there were.

I heard an interview with a scientist from CERN the other day. He has committed his life to trying to discover the Higgs Bosen particle which science says should exist but hasn't yet found. The interviewer asked him how he'd feel if they found that the particle didn't exist. He replied that it'd be brilliant to prove its existence, but it'd be equally fantastic if it didn't because that meant there was a whole new realm of mysteries to unravel.

We love to prove new theories and discover new laws, and at the same time we get to be equally awed, amazed, and enthralled by the stuff we don't understand.

This life really is a win-win.


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