Inspiration is delivered to us daily in all sort of forms, sometimes the inspiration is obvious and others times it comes in the most mundane form that only those whom are tuned in to the universe deem worthy of inspiration. For my sisters and I, and the story of Damsel Fly Fishing, that inspiration can be broken down into two parts: The story of our dear Mother and her fight against breast cancer (obvious) and her love for plain, black canvas travel bags (not so obvious).
Our mother’s fight with cancer came to an end in September 2014 but before she left this world for a better one, she learned how to fly fish. Before her cancer came back she attended a Women’s Fly Casting workshop. I was teaching the course for The Fly Shop in Redding Ca., Still to this day, my favorite weekend of teaching, as mom and I made lasting memories. The same mother that helped my sisters and I dig up worms and helped us bait our hooks was now learning to tie on her own parachute adam, casting beautiful loops, and fighting fish like a boss. Being able to return the mentorship was a priceless gift. In 2013, our mother received an invite to attend a Casting For Recovery retreat held in Glacier National Park. I remember her calling me up to tell me that she was nervous, scared to go, and didn’t think she should attend the retreat. I told her that those feelings were totally normal feelings, and returned to her, her own advice to be adventurous and courageous. To not let the fear keep her from experience something truly amazing. All the encouragement she gave to us girls in all our times of angst, I tried to give back. She made it to the retreat, and when she returned, she shared with us (my sisters and I) tales of fish, laughs and tears.
After our mother passed away, she left behind an overwhelming void, a conglomerate of simple black canvas travel bags and the feeling that life is too short! That if you want to pursue a dream, you can’t let fear keep you from that dream. Over time, my sisters and I each adopted one of mom’s simple black totes. It wasn’t that the bags were gorgeous, it was that they had the perfect carrying capacity. Not to big, not to small, they held just right amount of accessories, but were horribly drab. We took the dimensions of her tote’s, stole ideas for pocket placement added our own ideas of using waxed canvas and brass to make something women would want to pack to and from their daily lives of picking up kids, to girls fly fishing trips one the sandy flats of Belize.