Waking naturally before light pierces through bedroom curtains does not happen often. On mornings when a full day of work awaits, the alarm clock has a hard time pulling me from the netherworld. When at last I do recognize the persistent buzzing and chirping, after I distinguish the sound from that which is emanating from some found object in my dream, my first physical reaction is to pull the covers up over my head, and pretend I don't hear it, pretend I am still dreaming. That feeling you get on Sundays, when by mistake you forget and set your alarm the night before, and when you finally do answer the alarm clock's call, you realize it's Sunday, and you can sleep in-- I always hope it's one of those mornings. But more times than not, it isn't. They're are some mornings, though, when I somehow gain consciousness, like I've been given a shot in the arm. On those mornings, I throw back the covers and get to my feet, put on a pot of coffee, and gather my things. It's on these mornings, when the fish are rising in some far off stream or lake, or a trail leading beyond the reach of phone signal beckons to me, that I rise and perform this sacred morning ritual.
In my search for information on the history and tradition of fly fishing for trout in the mountains of South Carolina, I was extremely fortunate to have made the acquaintance of a true all-around outdoorsman and native son of the Appalachians, Dr. Thomas Cloer. Our correspondence so far has been by telephone only, but I hope that once this current health crisis dies down, we can get together in person. When I first contacted Mr. Cloer, I didn't know what to expect. Why would he be interested in anything I had to say? But I was pleasantly surprised when he returned my call. Within the first moments of our conversation, I felt as if I had known him forever. Maybe it was the kinship felt between two fly fishermen, or perhaps it was his kind voice, warm and familiar, a voice steeped in the tradition and language of the Southern Appalachians. "Joshua, I would be more than happy to talk to you about fly fishing." Dr. Thomas Cloer is Professor Emeritus of Furman Univers