So, How did I get Here? – Rusty Ring

It starts out innocently enough.

I go over to Outdoor Blogger Network, look at the list of Newest Blogs and if I see a name that sounds intriguing, I click on it.

Same goes for the Community News.

I guess that’s a hint to other bloggers.

If I like what I see, I bookmark it. I’ll go back to it periodically and if I continue to like it, I add it to my blogroll. It can take weeks to get to that point.

While I’m on other blogs I’ll scan down their blogroll. If I see something that sounds interesting (there’s that hint to bloggers again) I’ll click on it and follow the same routine. Eventually I forget where I saw things the first time. Luckily I bookmarked it because I would probably never remember it or find it again.

That’s how I came across Rusty Ring – Reflections of an old-timey hermit.

I was liking that already.

Then, at the very top left corner, Robin had his About Me:

I devoted my life to Zen practise many years ago. Unfortunately the “Work” menu here does not include “Monk,” and I’ve learned to distrust the word “Religion,” so this will have to do.

I knew at this point that this blog was something I wanted to follow.

The other day a new post went up: Hermitcraft: Fudos, Part 1

In the post, he explains it:

What is a fudo?

The small-f fudo is a sanctuary object. It reminds us that we are not alone, that others are also looking for the way out, and that together we will find it. Fudos create mindful space. When one is hung on a tree, fence, or other structure, it alerts seekers that one of their own has passed that way, and the spot becomes a sanctuary, a place of rest and encouragement. Think of it as Kilroy for hermits.

I loved the whole idea behind this.

Since I started fishing, even though I touch upon the mechanics of fishing, I’m about being out there, the experience. For those that followed along with me for the past 15 years, they know that when I give away some of my spots, they’ll not only have a good fishing spot, but I’m also showing them a sanctuary, a place of rest and encouragement. There’s also a good chance it’s one of the most beautiful looking spots in that stretch of a river or creek.

I ran this past my friend Bob Long, Jr. He has developed a very Zen approach to his life in the last few years. His response:

Hanging fudos out along the Fox River in those various places would be wonderful. Most wouldn’t get it, but they don’t have to for the Zen invoked to be effective. And for the spirit of the fudo and the hanger to be in force. 

I have drawers full of washers in my tool box. I’ll have to keep an eye out while wandering to find the one’s Robin describes:

The more abused the ring, the stronger it is. I collect mine from junkyards, roadsides, and beaches, to ensure that everyone I give one to gets a full arsenal of arse-kicking contempt for their particular hell.

I know where lots of abandoned farms and farm equipment is just laying around out in the woods. I should be able to get quite a few of these abused rings.

It looks like the cords by which they are hung play an important part in this. I kind of get what Robin is talking about in this post, but it seems like the knot also plays an important role. Then there’s the strands that hang down. I’m hoping and assuming these will get covered in Part 2.

I’m looking forward to doing this in the coming year. I’m already being referred to by some people as a ghost on the river. I fish alone 99 percent of the time and it’s rare that I run into anyone. I already know where I’ll be putting quite a few of these. I already know who has the possibility of finding one.

When they do, I hope they take the time to look around. There’s going to be a very good reason for their location.

13 thoughts on “So, How did I get Here? – Rusty Ring

  1. bob

    you write the equal of anyone writing in this field (whatever field that may be). Fame does not validate an artist’s work. Neither does payment which is why the guy in this knows he’s still gotta’ work, but still hangs the stuff.

    The Fox River has been in good hands and spirit with your ghost wandering about its watery nooks and crannies; pulling fish out of here, noticing something over there, taking a picture over here, leaving no traces anywhere. Ghosts eventually pack it up and leave, just as we do as humans.

    But the fudos…my…they have a way of becoming part of the landscape in which they are hung. That is why I know most people won’t even notice. Part of the spirit of the place, part of a connection from one being to another passing through; sorta’, kinda’ Native American in concept (as well as Zen).

    As many of my priests used to say, “you don’t have to prove God is there, for Him to be there.” I hate when I quote them, sometimes. This isn’t one of those times.

    anyway, lot’s of cultures have had marvelous ways of relating to nature prior to us, that didn’t involve digging it all up and paving it all over. We shouldn’t ignore such….wisdom. This seems quite respectful: to yourself, to your art, to us all and to Mother Earth.

  2. Ken G Post author

    Sir Bob, I write interesting paragraphs lately, when I string them all together, I’m embarrassed. A definite lack of focus. To be expected I guess, it’s been a bitch of a ride lately. It will pass, I hope.

    I used to help my sculpture instructor make massive rings out of concrete. The location of which had to be well thought out. Sight views, sun angles, all kinds of parameters.

    I watched a show recently about psychic and spiritual hot spots on the earth. There are reasons those that were here long before us put things in very specific places. Some thing drew them to that spot. I know those places exist out there. No clue what the draw is or why, you just know when you are there.

    It will be interesting to see how this goes. I thought of documenting it for myself, but at the same time, having them out there undocumented is part of the mystique behind it all. We’ll see.

    1. Ken G Post author

      Bob, you may have to wander south to at least Les Arends Forest Preserve. I don’t go north of there any more it seems. I’m going to make a trip to that area just to leave some in old favorite spots.

  3. BrookfieldAngler

    This is such a cool idea! I must admit that this reminded me of something similar that I have seen many times in real life and on TV…

    You know when you drive through the less than stellar neighborhoods and you see a pair of tennis shoes hanging from the power lines? Is that the “ghetto” version of a fudo?

  4. Robin

    Hi Ken,

    Thanks for the nod, I’m glad you liked the article. As for making fudos, I guess I’ll have to get off my meditation-fatted backside and get up a few posts on that. In the meantime, don’t feel you have to wait, for anything. It’s a washer on a braided string. Go for it; make a Ken-style fudo.

    Also, the washers in your toolbox will do fine, if you like. The found ones are the strongest, but they all get stronger out there in the world.

    Like Bob says, they become part of the environment, especially the classics with the plain white cords. I’ve hung Da-Glo pink, gold, and lime green ones, too (the only non-white colours of seine twine hardware stores usually carry), and even they fade down pretty drab within a few months. I think the Easter-egg nature of the thing is part of its charm; you don’t see it unless you’re mindful, typically when you don’t even realise that you are. It’s a discovery.

    Thanks again for the thumbs-up,


    Rusty Ring: Reflections of an Old-Timey Hermit

    1. Ken G Post author

      You’re welcome Robin.
      I think I may have started something around here. Rings may be showing up all over the place.

      Was looking at the strings in your photos. My daughters love making those things. I may put them to work. I have ones I wear all the time that they make me. Only thing I wear on my wrist.

      It hasn’t snowed around here yet, not going to for awhile. I may be able to find some of those old ones.

  5. Bob France

    two things: 1) gym shoes on power lines means drug sales within a one block area, at least thats what I heard…
    2) heading south requires more time away from what Im supposed to be doing… but for a fudo or a chance to meet the ghost it would be worth the trip…

    1. Ken G Post author

      1. I think that depends on whether you live in Chicago or its burbs. But I’m getting old, it used to just be a prank.

      2. You’re supposed to be fishing further south, what else is there?

      A couple of years ago a group of us met up on the river. We’ll have to arrange that again this year.

      1. bob france

        a group of Ken G followers meeting on the river, Ill bring the coffee! (i own/run a coffee shop in a train station)
        what else is there besides fishing further South? there is a group of fisherman around Elgin that put up with the urban drawbacks and enjoy some good fishing and companionship we follow a guy name Dave, who seems to really know the river from South Elgin to I90. Ive learned a lot from him…

        1. Ken G Post author

          “what else is there besides fishing further South?”

          I get miles of the river all to myself. Went 2 years without seeing another soul on the river.

          I am curious about the stretch from South Elgin to St. Charles. Did about a half mile from SE down, but never went further. Looks interesting, but a cruise for me.

          Don’t burn the coffee. Don’t forget the cream and sugar.

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