Heaven on Earth – book reiew

The days are getting longer and I’m thinking of spring. Spring, of course, leads to other things, especially flyfishing. Those fishing days last October now seem like ancient history and the fly rods down in the basement are sending telepathic messages that they want to be brought back out into the light of day and to flex their fibers over moving water.

Of course, I’ve been getting other messages, as well, especially after spending some pleasurable evenings reading a new book, Heaven on Earth – Stories of Fly Fishing, Fun & Faith, by Andrew Marshall Wayment.

Andy Wayment is a lawyer in Idaho Falls, Idaho, but after reading his book, along with following his blog at http://theuplandequation.blogspot.com, it’s obvious that the outdoors, including flyfishing and upland bird hunting, are at the center of his passions. Of course, he and his wife, Kristin, have six children, so family is also important and will keep his nose to the law firm’s grindstone for years to come.

Still, the outdoors, and reading and writing about the outdoors, is an integral part of life for the author, and that integration of family, religious faith, profession, and the outdoors is totally seamless, and that integration is the true theme to his book.

Wayment grew up fishing, though he didn’t learn flyfishing until he got married, when his father-in-law got him hooked on the sport. He then passed that new passion back to his own father. With these family connections it’s only natural that many of the fishing outings he describes have family connections.

In one of those family outings his brother-in-law, Paul, came back to camp with a huge rainbow trout and a great story, one that made Andy jealous for years, until the truth came out on another outing. Andy writes, “With the truth came the realization that, although Paul was no master angler, he was a master fish-story teller and a master of deceit.”

I started laughing when I read that, thinking, Isn’t that redundant?

A significant part of the book tells of his years at law school at the University of Idaho. He quickly decided that rather than getting involved with the intense competition of the law school environment, he needed to get away from it, so he rented a house in the countryside and where he had ready access to hunting and fishing after school. The buzz among his classmates was that he was going to wash out in his first year.

Instead of flunking out, he excelled and graduated near the head of his class and on the school’s law review. He credits his academic success to hard work, prayer, and “finding reprieve from the pressure in the outdoors.”

He relates that now, as a practicing attorney, he normally wears a suit and tie at work, though he notes that if you look closely, you’ll see the tie probably has pheasants, and his belt buckle has a trout on it. He explains, “As an attorney, I sometimes feel like I am out of my element, like a fish out of water, or like an immigrant. I wear these emblems so that I never forget who I am, where I come from, how I got this far, and most importantly, where I can turn for peace. You can take me out of the wild, but you cannot take the spirit of nature or its creator out of me. It is an integral part of me.”

His stories aren’t always serious, especially when he tells of hauling a horse trailer to a mountain lake, to both indulge his love of fishing along with a daughter’s love of horses. It’s an outing where Murphy’s Law reigns supreme.

Still, he leaves the reader with the feeling that he is a man at peace with who he is and with his relationship with a loving creator. In short, his is the story of a lucky man, a person you’d probably like to know.

The book is available from the author online at www.heavenonearthbook.com.

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