Middle River Dispatches is a gumbo of posts about fly-fishing, conservation, politics and days afield.

Is it all real?

Originally published in The (New York) Sun, this September, 1897 editorial by Francis Church is still the best response to those who question the magic that is Christmas.

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

Dear Editor—

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon
115 West Ninety Fifth Street
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.

We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Caught my eye – 2014 week 50

Here are some things that recently caught my eye (in no particular order.) 

  1. Clarity from Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer > I wanted to share something that happened to me.
  2. John Fall talked about the therapy of fly fishing > I am now a firm believer in the therapeutic benefits of fly fishing
  3. An interesting way to make a cooking fire pit > Tip from the Book: How to Dig a Dakota Fire Hole
  4. Another good friend joined the AFFTA board > Two New Board Members Join AFFTA Board of Directors
  5. What a sailor learned > A Sailor’s Perspective on the United States Army
  6. A soldier pays tribute to the men he left behind > Story Corps: 1st Squad, 3rd Platoon
  7. A wonderful tribute to a black lab named Duke > I Died Today.
  8. Congress finally did something good for public lands (but a price..) > Sportsmen Applaud Historic Move to Conserve America’s Finest Habitat
  9. Navy Beat Army for the 13th time in a row > How Many Times Does Navy Have to Win Before it’s Renamed the Navy-Army Game?
  10. Great political satire on the immigration debate > Native American Council Offers Amnesty to 220 Million Undocumented Whites

A story in Pulp Fly V3

The latest edition of Pulp Flypulpflycoverready3-sm was released this month and I had the honor and privilege of being a contributor in this edition. I found my chapter nestled in among works by very talented writers who are gifted story tellers.

Truth be told I was pretty apprehensive about the whole enterprise. Writing a short story is not something I have done a lot of. My last experience was in an 8th grade creative writing class at Derryfield School. My offering about a freewheeling rake was considered such far fetched fantasy by one of my classmates, she wrote her own version of my story from a young woman’s point of view. Needless to say I quit the genre and took up fishing…

I do enjoy telling stories and putting one down on virtual paper to be sold to the public is a leap of faith. Not sure I will keep at it because as Robert Heinlein said “Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.”

You can get a copy for yourself at Pulp Fly.

Merry Christmas 2013

The magic of the little Lilydeer continues…

a tiny Lilydeer

a tiny Lilydeer

Friday Foto

Lily goes fishing

Lily and Tom @Ramsey's Draft

Lily and I take a break from fishing Ramseys Draft.
This was Lily’s first fishing adventure.
Date 23JUN13

Thinking outside the box…

boxed porter copyConsider the cat.
Trapped in a box,
uncertain whether Schrodinger,
the only person who knows he is there,
is alive or dead.

h/t to Chris Stewart for sharing…
Cat modeling courtesy of Porter Sadler