May 14, 2010

So today I went with my friend Jay to visit his friend Chantelle, who works as a "rod wrapper" or "winder" for this man Jim who makes world class fly fishing rods by hand in Coburn, Pennsylvania, which is this totally charming little town right on Penn's Creek, one of these famous famous fishing spots around these parts, about 40 minutes from State College. It is also the town in which yours truly had the misfortune to work as an artist's model for one afternoon last year, in an art studio in a converted church, thinking I could read or otherwise occupy myself but then realizing with growing horror that I in fact had to sit completely still for 50000 hours -- and nearly died in the process. Anyway, so today was just the loveliest day, warm and breezy and verging on storm, and we sat leisurely around Jim's sweeping, bamboo-fishing-rods-in-various-states-of-creation-all-around, cluttered, old-timey workshop talking with him and Chantelle about their craft and fly fishing generally while Chantelle's dog Tater lounged shamelessly at our feet. It was totally lovely. I have only been fishing a handful of times, as a kid with my grandfather in Florida, and I've never been fly fishing, but man, the people who love it are so passionate about it. It's so cool to slip into another way of life, just for a few hours... Jim's workshop is right behind this store, The Feathered Hook, which is also this cool B&B where you can come and stay and learn about fly fishing and be taken around to all the best spots, etc etc. You can also come and take rod making workshops with Jim at his workshop, and spend like a week making a rod of your own. Anyway, I thought it was super cool and I sorta want to build my own rod now (I wonder if Jim would approve of some... glitter?) and stay at The Feathered Hook and step into some highly fashionable waders and pick out some sparkly lures and go catch me and release me some FISH.

Anyway, here's the shop sign:

And inside were a million lures (and some other things I SUPPOSE) laid out like jewels:

And pretty nets!

And then you step out of the shop and Jim's workshop is in back, across a parking lot and in front of a big farm upon where some nosy horses were hanging out and eying us suspiciously, to the left of what you see here. Horses! But how awesome is this building? Complete with a finger pointing you to the rod shop.

Here is the workshop:

And there were cool things everywhere!

I love tiny boxes jam-packed with colorful things, like in those zipper and button stores in NYC's Garment District and apparently like in fly fishing rod making workshops:

I would post more but that might be EXCESSIVE.

Check out my new best friend Tater tho (not to mention my fashionable footwear, obviously up in front):

AND THEN, afterward, Jay, Chantelle and I walked down to Penn's Creek, and as we gazed reflectively into its waters some young lads obligingly came along and began to fly fish in a most Tom Sawyerly manner:

AND THEN Jay and I drove along the creek a little bit, out to this old train trestle stretching over the water, where the train used to run over it:

We even walked over it tho we could have DIED:

AND THEN we saw, in the distance, a portal into other worlds:

And we got very close to it... getting right up to the entrance, picking across the wet rocks...

... but we knew that if we went inside we would never, ever come back.

So we turned around and went to the Whistle Stop Cafe in Centre Hall and had crab cakes and truffle peanut butter pie instead, dreaming of what might have been, trying to fill the great void in our hearts.