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Reel Time: Finding the silver lining?

There are a couple of old adages about finding a silver lining under a crisis. Right now, that might seem to be a bit Pollyannaish given the severity of the problem and the uncertain nature of the future. Still, I think it’s fair to say that most people are making the best of a bad situation, however that might be framed.

It was obvious on the curbs of my neighborhood on Monday, the day we have our trash and recyclables picked up. Piles of trash and overflowing recycling bins made it obvious that I wasn’t the only one taking the opportunity of cleaning, reorganizing and rethinking a number of personal options that being at home occasioned. Here are a couple of “epiphanies’” I had over the past two weeks.

I spend a lot of time at my desk both productively as in writing and editing images and video, and unproductively, i.e. scrolling through news stories, blogs and often questionable posts. Before the pandemic changed life as we had known it, I had planned an office remodel to free up space and make my working area more comfortable and functional. When COVID-19 changed everything, I was forced to rethink my space and my plans. The result was amazing; after cleaning, reorganizing and spending some time rethinking my options I found I had created a more functional and comfortable space with a lot less work and money. I started by replacing the handles on all the drawers and cabinets in my office, moving my mouse from the right side to the left side of my keyboard and purchasing a portable standing/sitting desk unit. The “desk” sits on my existing countertop, increased my effective space and allowed me to easily work standing up or sitting down. Another purchase was intended to keep my feet comfortable and warm. When I went online looking for a rug I found an ergonomic footrest that accomplished the intended task but also corrected my posture and made sitting for long periods of time less stressful. The bottom line was that my knee-jerk reaction to remove and replace had been replaced with a rethink and reuse paradigm.

That solution proved workable while social distancing at home but being an avid angler, I was also presented with the opportunity to rethink my need to get on the water. That led to outfitting my bike with a rod holder and exploring easily accessible options that only required a short bike ride. Suddenly I was bypassing closed boat ramps and finding action on local piers, bridges and beaches that didn’t require launching a boat, buying gas and all the other minutia a fishing trip often entails. Instead of committing most of a day to fishing I was getting out when the tide was right for fishing the pass and making short forays to local docks and piers. The new “lifestyle” also presented me with opportunities to organize and maintain my tackle, tie flies and practice my fly casting.

This new paradigm also made me rethink how to approach fly casting instruction in a time when one on one interaction is not advisable. It led me to the realization that I could encourage neophyte fly casters and experienced fly anglers who want to improve their craft to practice regularly while I provide teaching tips through www.rustychinnis.com/fly online videos.

As anglers we’re blessed that social distancing, a vital component of addressing this pandemic, doesn’t preclude us from getting out in the outdoors and pursuing our passion. I choose to fish alone. You’ll have to make that choice but I would encourage others to do the same except in the case of family members who we spend time with anyway. We certainly can’t frame this experience as positive and should consider helping others who aren’t as fortunate as us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t look to find some “silver linings” among the chaos.

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