The River Why

The River Why:  A Unique Experience of Philosophical Literature

with Sam Ritter

“Down at the core of every fisherman’s heart is the belief that on any day something wonderful and unlikely could be made to happen, and that if you’re quite careful and patient it could happen to you.”  

–John Gierach, Standing in the River Waving a Stick

Whether it’s the repetitive action of casting a fly rod, the feeling of being lost in the midst of nature, or a fisherman’s natural inclinations towards asking big questions, fly fishers have a reputation for a philosophical bent. In this course, participants will study and write philosophical literature through experiential learning in a fly fishing community.  By reading both well loved fly fishing classics and exploring the contributions of some lesser known (and less predictable) authors, we will ask ourselves why it is that “standing in the water waving a stick” lends itself to philosophical contemplation, and then try our hands casting about in the depths of our own existence.  In the midst of this, we will take time to enjoy some of the finest fly fishing Northern New Mexico has to offer.

We will be joined by Laura Eberhardt a local fishing guide and Santa Fe Public Schools teacher who will lend her casting expertise to beginners and experienced fishers alike. This course is for those who have felt the pull of fly fishing, either through experience or daydreams, and want to try their hand at this contemplative exercise. By the end of the week, we will enjoy an overnight at a waterfront writer’s retreat, where we will create and share our own work, inspired by our time spent fishing in the mountains. Whether you have journaled extensively while streamside or never felt the tug of a trout on your leader, this course will be an accessible experience into fishing, literature, and our own attempts to discern the connections between fly fishing and existential contemplation.

About our Guide Laura:  Laura Eberhardt is a native of Albuquerque who learned the art of fly fishing from her step-father.  Laura went to UNM and received a BME in Music Education, BA in Creative Writing, and minor in Peace Studies in December 2011.  She has taught band in Santa Fe Public Schools for five years and also plays and teaches low brass across Northern NM.  She maintains her stamina for teaching middle school through fly fishing during all of her free time.  Find her fishing videos on Youtube at Flyfishing Grrl.


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