Over the years I have, on occasion, written a variety of pieces on a variety of topics. The following is one such example.
When Angels Sing
Only something beautiful, with perfect expression of shape, drawing deeply upon what is eternal and unique within the human spirit can elevate the soul. A violin by Stradivarius and a bamboo fly rod by Al Medved are such things of beauty. In the hands of a master, they transcend the ordinary and let mortals hear the angels sing.
All well made bamboo fly rods are highly prized but a Medved is a treasure. A treasure created by more than 100 hours of meticulous, precise effort that transform a mere twelve strips of Arundinaria Amabilis into the distinctive hexagonal shape of a finished rod. A rod that stimulates the senses in ways sublime. Just the rod’s finish, clear and silky smooth, tingles the fingertips and soothes the eyes with its subtle highlighting of the bamboo’s natural blond color and deep grain.
The custom made cork grip, sanded to a solid texture, fills the hand with a sense of wonder as even the most subtle flex or twitch of the tip is instantly transmitted along the rod’s entire length.
In the light of a bright fall day the rod appears to shine with a luster from an inner glow. Like a beautiful woman taken out of the shadows, the rod reveals more of its allure in the sunlight. The finish is warmer to the touch, the grain of the bamboo seems more alive, and the minute details of the rod builder’s genius reveal themselves.
Guides are hand polished and mounted on the rod with wraps of thread burnished to a uniform sheen. Sitting flush against the bamboo, the guide feet, have been hand shaped to create a smooth, imperceptible transition of thread wraps from metal to wood with no unsightly ridges so typical of lesser rods. Six coats of lacquer, so smooth and clear they appear to be made of air, cover the threads.
The ferrules join the rod halves. These interlocking metal sleeves of polished nickel-silver, are aligned exactly, making the distinctive soft ‘pock’ sound of perfection when pulled apart. When joined together they slide into each other with sensual certainty.
Slowly at first the caster begins to move the rod back and forth in an imitation of a steam locomotive’s ‘push-pull’ motion, making the rod arc repetitively in a cast. Each bamboo rod has a subtle and unique rhythm of its own. Discovery of this particular rod’s unique rhythm is a revelation of rightness forever imprinted on the heart.
Moving the rod more forcefully extends causes more line to extend from the tip. The rod seems incapable of handling forty feet of fly line. But class is grace under pressure and this rod is a class act. As the casting stroke’s force increases, the rod responds with civility and style. Tracking true and straight, with no sudden flexes, no loss of power, no sudden snaps, the rod reveals its secrets by establishing an almost mystical link between the fly, forty feet away, and the caster’s inner being. The mind doesn’t analyze when using a rod like this. No plebeian “Just a little to the right” thoughts sully this process. Instead, a mental image, where the fly should land, forms in the caster’s mind and this rod, precisely and delicately, places it there, exactly there. Thought, action, thought, action, that the two are joined as one is the genius of this rod.
Unlike an ordinary rod, which interacts with only a caster’s hand, the power of this rod starts to fill the caster’s arm as more and more line is played out. With seventy feet of fly line in the air the connection of mind and fly, soul and rod, remains precise with every subtle nuance felt by the caster. The rod seems not to notice the extra distance now being cast. There is no unexpected collapse on the back cast, no variation in the rod’s path. A path tracked so unerringly as to feel pre-ordained. Swishing back and forth, back and forth, Al Medved’s creation sings to the caster a song of smooth and effortless power and precision. The harmony of beauty, power, and control are the rod’s song. A song only heard by mortals when angels sing.