Watching an old John Wayne movie this evening, I noticed
that the entire cast of leading characters is gone. By
that I mean John Wayne, Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin and Walter
Brennan are all dead. Too bad, they were fun to watch.
Fortunately, they left some fine movies behind that will
entertain new generations for years to come.
I've also noticed that some of the legends of fly-fishing
have recently left us behind. Most recently it was Gary
LaFontaine and Phil Genova, but there have been others.
There will be more in the next decade too. We all have
the problem of a limited time line to deal with.
What's my point here? Well, I've been spending some time
thinking about what I've done in my life that made a
difference. What have I done that will carry on like
that old John Wayne movie? What impact will my life
have ten or twenty years after I graduate to the next
level? Will I even be remembered ten or twenty years
after I'm gone? Tough questions.
Does anyone ever really know what will happen twenty years
from now or even tomorrow? We plan for tomorrow as we must,
but none of us is guaranteed the opportunity to wake up in
the morning. Life is short and things change fast. That
brings me back to the question; what have I done that will
last beyond my grave?
I'm fairly certain that I won't have a bunch of old movies
to be remembered by. Books, articles, editorials and photos
fade quickly. Chances are my legacy won't be anything as
irect as those. If I'm going to have a legacy at all,
it'll have to be in a different form.
Maybe the best legacy anyone could have is an impact on a
young life. Call it a living legacy if you will. What I
am and have become is a mix of influences others have had
on my life. As far as fly-fishing is concerned, I am a
legacy (in part) to a fellow named Dan Bailey. He's the
gentleman who took the time many years ago, to teach a young
boy of ten the basics of fly-casting. I didn't cast well,
but he managed to spike my interest and hook a young guy
on the sport of fly-fishing.
In turn, I've taught many other young people various aspects
of the sport. Some of the people who I influenced in this
art have already started teaching others, and so the legacy
continues. From the man who taught Dan Bailey to several
generations beyond me, the seeds of the sport continue to
survive and grow. The soil of desire is fertile in young
people, and fly-fishing is a hardy seed that grows easily;
but it has to be planted to grow.
Again I ask myself, what have I done that will survive after
I'm gone a decade or more. Sure, I have written articles and
taken pictures that might still be around then, but they don't
provide the lasting legacy that planting a seed in a young
mind can provide. Fortunately, I have planted many seeds
What is your legacy? What are you doing that will last beyond
your time? If you are investing in youth, your legacy is secure.
If not, I wonder if you'll have an impact ten years beyond your
time. Something to think about; isn't it? ~ AC