As we sit by the campfire, sparks carried
by the heat begin their arduous journey into
the dark sky, then disappear far above us,
but are they extinguished? Quietness of the
night, the crackle of the fire, the feeling
of security as we speak softly to each other.
We are careful not to interrupt the ambiance.
Deep shadows dance to the silent music of the
flames that are creating and reflecting
pleasing orange hues on the distant woods, and
on us as we warm ourselves.
Much like life itself, these sparks. Skyward
and burning, then off into the darkness to abate.
Maybe, maybe not. I see a similarity to lives;
the likeness to fire and embers and sparks.
The flying and gliding embers, carried by gentle
breezes, touching, then another fire has begun,
caused by the sparks; the sparks of enthusiasm
and knowledge. The enthusiasm of life, its spark
that now has set a fire within someone else, then
repeated time and time again, passing from one
to another, regenerating as long as time itself;
I sat and read a long thread here on FAOL yesterday.
A thread created by Deanna about Al Campbell. I
read about a man that I've never met, but somehow
know very well, simply, by reading what others
wrote about him. A man of conscience, a man casting
sparks into the star-scattered night. A man causing
fires within hearts and souls that have spawned more
sparks. And if we are lucky, we have caught a few of
What do you think about reincarnation? I believe
in it, I've written about it before. I've spoken
of spirits, and ghosts. I've seen them, and I speak
with them…often. So, you don't care to believe?
That's okay. But look around you. See that spark
over there? Can you feel that warmth, that burning?
Who started it? Where was that fire; who was that
fire? Look inside of your soul, your inner strength.
Do you have a quiet fire burning, if so, where did
it come from? The answer is obvious, friend. It
comes from folks just like Al Campbell.
We never know where our sparks may land, or who
they will touch. Just like the ripples in the
lake behind the house, they touch things, they
touch lives. And, if we are fortunate, our sparks
will spread to others, and others will continue
the process with the same vigor we have, or once
How many lives has Al Campbell touched? What
differences has he made? Here's an excerpt from
one of his articles, "The Meaning of Life",
I found quite amusing...
"The meaning of life, huh? Let's see; maybe
it's the way we raise our kids. There's a
good one. People tell me that my legacy in
life is my kids, and what kind of people they
grow up to be. Oh my, I hope that isn't it.
Kids are like clay; you mold them the best
you can and pray for the rest. In my case,
it's plainly obvious that I'm no artist. It's
also obvious I need to practice praying more
often than I do. Still, I hope for the best
and hang on, praying that all those wild oats
I sowed when I was young fail to produce a crop."
My kind of guy. Common sense and a good and
healthy mix of humor. That's Al. Guess he
touched me with one of his sparks, and I
never met the man face to face. Sad, I should
have. But all of the shuddas, wuddas, and
cuddas have gone now.
So, how many have had Al Campbell's sparks
fall upon them? Let's see. I'll pull a few
quotes from the members...
"I am thankful for the knowledge that Al has
shared with members of the fly fishing
community. He was greatly appreciated, and
he will be greatly missed."
"My heart weeps."
"There will be an empty place - a place on
this board that will never be filled."
"You made me feel important for just a
"Although I never met Al in person, I feel as
though I know him personally through his
"The reflections of greats past and present are
the true treasures of this great weekly production.
It is the true gift from the heart."
"Having never met the man, it's hard to say I
know him. But if someone were to ask, I surely
say I did.
Just a random sampling of what our readers are
saying. Sparks? Loads of 'em, scattered upon us
from a man that most, like me, have never met,
but somehow knew. And how fortunate are those
that call him "friend."
I go back to my belief in reincarnation. I look
around, and it's reaffirmed. Those, like Al, that
have scattered their sparks wisely are all around,
not gone forever, and their sparks continue to
burn, then reignite more flames to make great
differences in the lives they have touched. I
am careful where my sparks are going, and what
they are saying.
As we sit by the campfire of life, listen.
Listen to the winds that blow through the
pines and you will hear their voices. They
are there. Their sparks have been scattered
among us so that we may continue the fires
to warm others.
Good Night, Al Campbell...thanks. ~ Capt. Gary
Gary grew up in central Florida and spent much
of his youth fishing the lakes that dot the area.
After moving a little closer to the coast, his
interests changed from fresh to salt. Gary still
visits his "roots" in the "lake behind the house."
He obtained his captain's license in the early '90's
and fished the blue waters of the Atlantic for a little
over twelve years. His interests in the beautiful shallow
water flats in and around the famous Mosquito Lagoon came
around twenty-five years ago. Even though Captain Gary
doesn't professionally guide anymore, his respect of the
waters will ever be present.
Gary began fly fishing and tying mostly saltwater
patterns in the early '90's and has participated as
a demo fly tier for the Federation of Fly Fishers
on numerous occasions. He is a private fly casting
and tying instructor and stained glass artist,
creating mostly saltwater game fish in glass.