A Rodmaker's Ambition

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you may not be dependent on anybody.” - 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

I’ve thought a lot about that verse over the last few months. The longer I contemplate those words, the more I resonate with them. I’ve tried to reflect on what a “quiet life” might look like for me.

Quiet (n.) - “freedom from disturbance or conflict; calm, stillness,” from Old French quiete “rest, repose, tranquility.” (Source)

I know not everyone appreciates that idea, and that’s okay. But there are those of us who desire (dare I say crave) a life lived in a lower gear. When I think about making a quiet life my “ambition,” I have to admit that it sounds like a worthwhile goal to me.

I’ve turned a corner on a few things in my life recently, and the 1 Thessalonians verse above has served as my North Star. Part of this transition has included an exploration into the fascinating world of building bamboo fly rods. What started off as a simple curiosity has now ignited and evolved into a deep passion of mine.

However, I’m still a beginner. As of this writing, I am closing in on finishing my first handful of rods. But, the process of taking a 12' culm of grass and transforming it into a tool that can be used for generations has captivated my attention in ways I never expected. The more I learn, the more I have come to appreciate the depth of tradition in this craft.

I guess one might ask, why build rods with bamboo when you can use more modern materials such as graphite? Well, the answer to that, for me, can be summed up in one word - intention.

Allow me to explain…

Too often our day is interrupted by notifications, emails, text messages, and all sorts of other distractions that pull for our attention from all directions. At least that has been true in my life. And one thing I’ve learned over the years is that if you don’t set boundaries, no one will set them for you.

Removing distractions and intentionally slowing down has a way of helping bring peace to one’s life. Building bamboo fly rods has been a way for me to do that. It’s a craft that requires slow, intentional effort. It demands that the builder let go of anything pulling for their attention and focus on the task in front of them.

And the lessons learned while at the workbench have a way of crossing over into other areas of your life. Attention to detail, pride in your work, and overcoming obstacles are all lessons that serve you no matter what the endeavor.

Over the last few months, I’ve slowly learned to embrace and appreciate the quiet path of a rodmaker.

And now that I have built a few rods for myself, I am starting the next phase where I am beginning to build rods for others.

So, that’s where this site comes in…

I suppose it will function as a digital scrapbook of sorts. I don’t know what all that looks like just yet, and things will probably change as I build the road ahead of me. But be sure to visit often for updates on new rods I’m building and new ramblings from the workbench. No set posting schedule. No specific list of topics. Just the record of bamboo rodmaker’s progress, thoughts and observations as he tries to make the quiet life his ambition.