Written by on January 26, 2014 in At the Homestead - 3 Comments
fly fishing proficiency

I have been interested in trying new things as long as I can remember. Be it A.D.D., or boredom, I just enjoy learning new functional skills and hobbies. Throughout my twenties and the start of my thirties, I felt that life was much about taking the myriad of random knowledge I picked up and arranging it into something applicable when necessary. Take a job interview, for example. Time after time I was able to get the job, wing it with teaching a seminar, or simply be able to help a friend who needed some pertinent information regarding… well, chickens.

For the past few years I have thought of a word to ponder for that year. Recently, a new and unexpected word comes to mind. Proficiency.

Proficiency is defined as “a high degree of competence or skill; expertise,” Be it age, wisdom, lack of time, or maybe just laziness, I’m no longer interested in frivolously stumbling into a new hobby. I’m interested in perfecting (by mortal standards, of course) what I do know, and only taking on what I am truly passionate about. This is a huge endeavor as we start this new homestead, which by the way, is only currently a homestead in theory.

If I had to describe the current state of Wild Sage Homestead, I would relate it to Laura Ingalls Wilder being somewhere between the Big Woods and the Prairie. In other words, we are almost settled. But the time it has taken to sell our old property and move here has been beneficial for that reason. We have had the opportunity to plan what we will do on this land. And that’s where proficiency comes in.

On our homestead I would like to set ourselves apart from the world a bit. We would like to start small with our somewhat vast knowledge of chickens and possibly a new venture or two. But this proficiency can and will encompass big things, too. The problem is, I am and always have been a dreamer…especially regarding the outdoors. I once had a teacher suggest to my parents that I should have a scrap piece of paper on my desk at all times. Every time I looked out the window and snapped back to reality I was to make a mark on the paper. After a week of this I filled several pieces of paper with little marks. Each mark represented things like forts, tadpoles, butterflies, snakes, turtles, my family’s farm, streams and all the things little girls like me thought about (however few of us existed). After that I don’t remember that anything was done about it… So I’m pretty sure they gave up and left me well enough alone (as they should have to begin with).

So proficiency enters a whole new level. Maybe it is overconfidence (which, believe it or not I have never struggled with – I have crippling self-confidence issues), or maybe it is just a fascination, but I want to learn to fish. And while I certainly don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, I have no interest in bait fishing. I want to fly fish, and I am determined to be ‘proficient’ at it. I can see the eye rolls when I ask people about it (thankfully we do have a few friends who have taken me at least somewhat seriously). Sometimes I feel a little silly about it, actually. Here is something that I have obsessed on for what has really been  just a short time, I’ve thought about it so much I dream about it, but I have never so much as picked up a rod. Like I do with most things nature, I’ve romanticized it.

a river runs through it bookAnd, as I’m sure many people have done, I have read A River Runs Through It, which, has sealed the deal as far as my mind is concerned. It has to be something I will become proficient in as much as it occupies my mind. I guess you could say that it is something very beautiful to me, as Norman’s father would have said. I’m excited that it is something Rob wants to do with me, especially as we look for new things to share together as we progress in our marriage.

So we will see what happens in the upcoming months. I guess I’ll find out if our new ventures are just a pipe dream or if they really will come to fruition. Or maybe this cabin fever is just getting to me. But that is another post for another day…

About the Author

Jes Russo is a stay-at-home mother, educator, homesteader and an avid outdoorswoman. Her love for her family, the land and all of God’s Creation suits her well and she is happy raising chickens, knitting and sipping a fresh cup of coffee.

3 Comments on "Proficiency"

  1. Blaine January 27, 2014 at 4:01 pm · Reply

    Keep good notes on this journey you are about to imbark on. Fly Rod and Reel magazine has a story contest every year. Write a story about your experience and win some money.

    • Jes Russo January 27, 2014 at 4:04 pm · Reply

      I’m not the best writer, but who knows…maybe I’ll try. :)

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