There is a place at the northern edge of the Driftless Area where magic exists. This is a place where teachers and students both come to learn. It is part cultural center and part museum. It is a sanctuary. A place devoted to those who revere the earth and all its creatures and those who would like to learn about this philosophy.  The creations that adorn the walls were crafted by students and teachers both young and old, and speak with the power of survival. All are made by hand. As it once was, with only that which mother nature could provide. The visual stimulation was unforgettable and the camaraderie was real. This was a day for fly tying and those who walked through the door were greeted with kindness and respect. The hospitality was unmatched. This was my first visit, it won’t be my last.img_1358

The highlight of my day came at the end of the affair. As we were packing up to leave, one of the young men who came to learn to tie, presented me with one of the flies he had tied that day. This was one of the first flies he had ever tied, and was a gift to his teacher as a thank you. I thanked him, and told him I would add it to my collection along side the other flies that I treasure.

I believe, in a setting like that where respect is mutual and interest levels are high among all who attend, the kids can sense the magic around them. They are eager to learn instead of misbehaving. The natives would teach this way and the youth understood that respect for their elders was important. The linkage between generations is also fostered at functions of this type and I believe the value in that interaction is something we have overlooked in our society.