Photo Courtesy of Barry & Cathy Beck

From the Editor: A Moment of Pause

My dad taught me to look under stones. He counseled me on the different bugs that cling to the rock’s surface, as well as those that dart from beneath the disrupted rock and drift in the stream’s cloudy current. He informed my observation, pointing out the delicate mayflies that landed on my hat brim or the eerie shells of a stonefly hatch petrified against a river’s edge.

These lessons mostly took place on the Gallatin and Madison rivers, a short drive from our Bozeman, Montana home. The idea was to develop a sense of awareness, to fine-tune my understanding of the world in order to better connect with a trout — quite literally, actually, since the goal of our outings was always to catch a treasured fish. These little details, my dad explained, accumulate to create the world around us. Knowing these details helps us make informed decisions. What color and size of caddis fly is likely to attract a trout? How and where will a fly land on the water, and where are the big fish already sipping bugs?

The lesson in these outings still resonates: The resplendent beauty of our world is just waiting to be observed. Whether it’s through the uncommon luminescence of a particular bug, the intricate construction of a caddisfly larva’s fortress, or the very gleam of the sun reflecting across a river’s shimmering surface, a moment outdoors can provide immense inspiration, joy, and wonder. Recognizing those moments gives us a foundation upon which to exist. Acknowledging those little joys and, in turn, taking stock of where we are, presents a clear path, not only defining where we’ve been, but where we’re going. 

As a knowledge-seeker, I enjoy observing and learning about the world around me, so curating this issue came with great delight. The stories capture moments of beauty outdoors — those captivating occasions that keep us casting on a particularly slow day or keep us coming back to nature. They highlight people who have taken stock of their surroundings and are choosing to live, work, and, of course, fish in ways that honor the natural world. Western Design columnist Chase Reynolds Ewald reveals homeowner Michael Cooperman’s desire to construct a fishing retreat that complements the beauty of the land that he loves, while author Carter Walker showcases boat builder and river guide Jason Cajune’s passion for sharing the beauty of Montana with others. Likewise, Halina Loft describes watercolor artist Melissa DiNino’s inspiration: experiencing the rural West first-hand, which caused a change in how the artist relates to the world.

Thumb through the magazine and you’ll also notice how authors have gained insight from their own personal experiences: catching Montana’s lesser known fish like grayling or char; witnessing opening day of the angling season in Yellowstone; or indulging in a day of truancy to fly fish in the fall.

Poet Gabriel Furshong gets to the heart of this in his poem “Still Point,” published on this magazine’s last page. A moment of pause, a moment of reflection, a moment to observe what’s around you, can go a very long way, indeed.

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