How much land does a man need? Tolstoy writes of a peasant
who was offered – by the Devil himself – all the land he
could circumnavigate in a day. He had from sunup to sundown
to complete the task, the only caveat being that he had to
return to his starting point before the end of the day or
forfeit his life.
By Dave Pearson, PA
Pahom, the peasant in question, starts at a brisk pace as
the sun peeks over the horizon and fully intends to trace
a few acres with his steps to meet the needs of his family.
But as soon as he realizes this will bring him back to his
starting point well before noon, he revises the amount of
land he needs upward and widens his arc. To make a short
story even shorter, after a remarkable amount of
rationalization, Pahom finds himself miles from his starting
point as the sun begins to set. He rushes back toward his
starting point, only to drop dead short of his goal as the
suns last rays leave the horizon.
The story is Tolstoy at his best and I recommend it as a
good read. James Joyce considered it a favorite.
How much land does a man need? As much as he can circumnavigate
in a day. How much gear does a flyfisherman need? As much as
he is willing to carry on his back.
Ay, there's the rub. I like gear. I like rods, reels, line, flies,
and the jink-junk that goes with them. And boy! Is there a lot of
jink-junk! Whole catalogues full of it. Each and every item a "must have;"
every geegaw an object of desire; every "thing" a want turned into
a necessity. All these wants are needs if we actually use them –
which really means we are willing to carry them around on the
off chance we find a use for them. To justify having all the
stuff, we must be willing to schlep it around. To that end
there are vests, bags, bandoliers, chest packs, lumbar packs
and fanny packs. Wicker creels are often used for lunch and
gear instead of the catch of the day. Anything and everything
to lighten the load. To make it seem as if we weren't carrying
anything at all!
Well, I have stuff; not as much as I want, but more than I need.
I carry my flies around in a Richardson chest fly box. I carry
more flies than I will ever use in a dozen seasons strapped to
my chest. The rest of the stuff goes in a lumbar pack. I actually
strap the pack around my waist with the pack itself off to my
right side. I then loop a strap over my shoulder which distributes
the weight between my waist and shoulder. I carry all my necessities
in the pack including a pack stove and coffee press.
Coffee is a necessity. It is so because I am willing to carry
it on my back, or in this case at my side. But I've found
premade coffee in a thermos insufficient in quantity and
cumbersome to carry. So, I make it fresh. Twice a day, midday
and midafternoon. Here is how it's done:
Brewing a fresh cup of coffee is a great way to rest a pool.
By the time you are finished with your cup, the fish are rising. ~ Dave - (black gnat)
1. Fresh creek water goes in cup to boil. And boil it does...for
at least five minutes. I want all the dangerous bacteria and
other microbes dead.
2. Remove the pot from the heat and let the water cool to 195 – 200
degrees Fahrenheit. This is important and the biggest secret to
making a great cup of coffee. If the water is hotter than 200
degrees, the coffee burns; any cooler than 195 and the coffee
does not brew. How do you know when the water has reached this
magic temperature range? To be dead sure measure the temperature
with a candy thermometer. (Pack it and use it...yes, I'm serious)
Or, turn off the stove and wait four full minutes before you add
the coffee. This will put you in the ballpark but can fail if it
is windy and cold out.
3. Add the coffee; one tablespoon of coarsely ground coffee per
eight ounce cup.
4. Let the coffee brew for at least four minutes.
5. Now press the coffee and pour into a mug. If you have no
coffee press, pour the coffee through a fine tea strainer into a mug.
6. That's it! Enjoy your fresh coffee.
Dave Pearson lives in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania with his
loving wife, Gillian, and two dogs, Casey and Booboo.
His passion is small mountain streams. He teaches guitar
for a living. You may contact Dave at:
Hemlock Headwaters Archives