OK, it is a little late to lay out my New Year Resolutions, and then there is the fact that I never figured out what, if any, these would be. Still, the year unfolding holds great promise, and this is finally the right time to share a few of my thoughts.
Much of 2016 was a down time for me. A deeper, darker down than I’ve ever survived. My life was good, my family well, my friends supportive. What’s wrong Jay, some of my well meaning friends would ask. How can I help, they would ask. Fine and I don’t know, I’d reply. Nothing was out of order in my life, except that an illness had settled in. An illness I couldn’t shake. I walked. I wrote. I tied flies and took photos of flies. I produced a book. All of these things were not achieved easily and none were comforting. My family held me close. The pit was so deep and dark that I couldn’t see light and held on to only thread of intellectual hope that I would survive. My former plans for the future were replaced by a minute-by-minute process of placing one figurative foot in front of the other, trudging in circles.
Gradually, by imperceptible increment, the cloud lifted. The light returned. I’m back. I wake each day with enthusiasm for a long list of projects to accomplish, and there is never enough time to do what I’d like by the end of the day.
Thank you. This is a word of thanks to all of my friends who stood-by me, accepted that I’d eventually pull out of the darkness. You were right. Although I couldn’t feel it at the time, I held on to your friendship and good wished, just like I held on to my family, and kept a tiny measure of hope hidden away somewhere in my head, because I couldn’t feel hope in my heart.
Enough of that.
I’m back. I’ve been tying flies and fishing better than ever before. I have yet to catch a winter steelhead, but still hope to. Regardless, my flies are swimming well, my casting feels right, and I fish the swing with great anticipation. The fish will do whatever, but I’m enjoying the tying and fishing.
My family is thriving, and more than a little relieved, I’m sure, to have me back to my usual, normal crazy.
What’s on my list of things to accomplish in 2017? Plenty. The two headline goals for 2017 are huge, all things considered.
- Shooting fly tying videos (short videos for the oregonflyfishing blog and extended version videos for fishingwithjay. I’ve tied flies in front of a video camera for some 7 or more years, and I often meet people who learned to tie flies from these, people who are able to recount details of these videos far better than I can. Well, I’ve decided to dive into 2017 by recording and posting 20, 30, 40, or 50 new videos. The goals are fuzzy and I’m not sure what I can deliver, but as I draft this note, I’ve already shot a dozen videos, have edited 6 of these, am on the cusp of starting a YouTube channel for fishingwithjay, and close to posting the first of these new vids. My hair is short now, and my age is showing, but I’m recording on a new camera and still prone to ramble on. I’m looking forward to producing my own library of fly tying videos in a new and improved format, even though I won’t be tying anything smaller than a size 16. The first should be posted within a week, if all things go well.
- Publishing my salmon journal. It’s time. My friend Al James enlisted a team of volunteers with the right skills to bring my dream to reality by the end of this year. Our team will bring focus to the collective expertise of a book designer, videographer, photo journalist/editor, proofreader, accountant, and project manager—culminating in a Kickstarter Campaign to raise funds to print and distribute the journal. The details about my fundraiser will be forthcoming soon and I’ll be depending on my friends to help me bring this book home.
Here we go. There will be a new look for my website too, thanks to Rob Perkin, just as soon as I figure out how to respond to the possible options he’s laying out for me.
Here’s me with my wonderful wife Lisa, and teenager Courtney, just last week.
Thanks again, to everyone who wished me to recovery. I know that many of my friends are dealing with their own health and personal challenges, and have all-the-while offered their love and support. I wish I could ease your burden as much as you wished you could have eased mine. We will each begin this day, do the best we can, and prepare for tomorrow—as best as we may.
Jay Nicholas, March 14th, 2017