When I saw this 1890 postcard, I had no idea it would reignite my interest in a sport I had abandoned 30 years before. Found in the lobby of The Lodge at Lolo Hot Springs, MT, this window into the past initially appealed to my sense of history. A friend and I were on a 13 day university class, following the route of the persecuted Nez Perce Indians as they fled their reservation in 1877.

Never had I seen women of the 19th century fly fishing in long dresses and boots, while being guarded from grizzlies by their shotgun-toting men folk! “Why are they fishin’? They should be in the kitchen!” My boyfriend offered this humorous title as we discussed possibilities. He had a point though. These women weren’t home baking bread and pies, or mending and washing clothes. They were fly fishing with bamboo rods, and the full support of their husbands who vigilantly stood by, armed against four-footed poachers. It was quite an amazing photograph!

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Photo by Amy Kileen

A few years earlier I sat in my counselor’s office ending 23 years of marriage, raising two teenagers alone, and working on a new career. I was worn out, desperate, and distraught. My dear friend and advisor asked me a question, “What brings you joy, Amy?” Joy? I couldn’t give him an answer. How could I not know? I drove home that day with a homework assignment, to find my joy.