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Graced by Waters

Personal Essays on Fly Fishing and the Transformative Power of Nature

Foreword by Paul VanDevelder
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John Dietsch—fly fishing coordinator and stuntman for Brad Pitt on the timeless film A River Runs Through It—explores our connection to the outdoors through the prism of fly fishing and investigates its transformative and healing power in the face of loss.

In this inspirational and humorous collection of essays, author John Dietsch sees his addiction to and passion for fishing as a parable that can help us shift from compulsive thinking to mindfulness and a closer connection to God. From creating fishing scenes on the set of A River Runs Through It in Montana, to directing fly fishing shows in New Zealand and from exploring deep canyons in California to guiding in Colorado, John shares his experiences and asks the question: what are we really fishing for? Through John’s  journeys across the globe, we discover that the same pursuit in fishing—of what is elusive but attainable—can be applied to our own spiritual journey. In the end, Dietsch uncovers his own truth under the rocks of a childhood river, recognizing the loss of both his brothers as the path of acceptance and faith that is graced by waters.

“John Dietsch brings us this unique collection of stories overflowing with wisdom about grief, healing, and recovery all entwined with his intimate relationship with the river.”

– Robert F. ("Bobby") Kennedy Jr.

“Dietsch manages to spring free the dusty wonder of our lives on the edge of such mystical waters and holy places—for one more precious glimpse at an evening rise—before the noche obscura of our forgetting shuts that door forever.”

– Paul VanDevelder, Author of "Coyote Warrior"– nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and American Book Award

“A stunningly honest and soulful work, Graced by Waters cuts to the conscience of angling. Many of us turn to the river for solitude, yet at the same time, concede that we never really feel alone on the water. John’s writing helps to understand why that is.”

– Kirk Deeter, editor-in-chief Trout Media/editor-at-large, Field & Stream

Graced by Waters is a powerful reverie on Nature as both a teacher and a guide, an inseparable aspect of our humanity, and, if we allow it to be, our salvation. Dietsch’s prose flows with the same clarity and grace as the rivers he describes, inviting us to reflect on our timeless and transcendent connection with water and to absorb the wisdom it provides.”

– Chris Kresser, M.S., New York Times bestselling author, The Paleo Cure

“Sometimes when the house seems cluttered and cold, it’s time to head to the river. Time to peel back layers, to strip the veneer of worldliness, and return to some more primitive, if more demanding, state of grace. John Dietsch has created a tribute to moving water that flows like Chopin’s nocturnes: timeless, transcendent, curative, universal. By turns humorous and harrowing, this luminous work is a compelling meditation on what draws us to the pulse of clear, trout-brimmed streams, and what we might learn between the banks with our own bent and dappled reflections.”

– Richard Bangs, author of “The Lost River” and “Rivergods”

“Dietsch’s book, Graced by Waters, showcases Mother Nature’s wonderful ability to heal her children, making them whole again. I know well...I am one of them!”

– Andy Mill, Olympian, five-time Gold Cup Tarpon Champion, and author, A Passion for Tarpon

" John Dietsch brilliantly brings to his readers the magic and healing power of nature: the process of fly fishing as a transformational healing force that is often dismissed as a 'hobby'... The power of water in eastern philosophy is healing and the West has lost this perspective. John reminds all of us that healing is always within our reach if we stop long enough to enjoy our river of life."

– Dr. Stephan B. Poulter, Ph.D, clinical psychologist and author, The Shame Factor—Heal Your Deepest Fears and Set Yourself Free

“As Norman Maclean wrote in his novella, A River Runs Through It, 'Eventually all things merge into one and a river runs through it.' John, who supervised those memorable scenes in the film version of the story, reminds us that all paths converge only if and when we are willing to become open to the possibility that there is something greater than ourselves at work below the surface. Thank you, John, for reminding us that grief is the price of love, and that the freedom that comes from exploration of the soul is endless: a river-course full of forgiveness, acceptance, and faith. I still laugh and cry out loud when I read these stories! Bravo!”

– Nicole Darland, Founding Principal, Master Nymph/NymphMaster and host of Fly Fisherman TV

“As Norman Maclean wrote in his novella A River Runs Through It, 'Eventually all things merge into one and a river runs through it.' John, who supervised those memorable scenes in the film version of the story, reminds us that all paths converge only if and when we are willing to become open to the possibility that there is something greater than ourselves at work below the surface. Thank you John for reminding us that grief is the price of love, and that the freedom that comes from exploration of the soul is endless: a river-course full of forgiveness, acceptance, and faith. I still laugh and cry out loud when I read these stories! Bravo!”

– Nicole Darland, founding principal, Master Nymph/Nymph Master and host of Fly Fisherman TV

“John Dietsch writes an inspiring and often stunning book which grabs hold of the reader tightly at ever bend in the river of life. Filled with hope, Graced by Waters delights the imagination through nature’s beauty in this intensely human odyssey. An expertly-crafted book about catching fish and reeling in life, a wonderful glimpse into a world of hope.”

– Devin Galaudet, author, 10,000 Miles with My Dead Father’s Ashes

“John Dietsch has written a profound book of short stories, beautifully held together with a thread of spiritual wisdom. Not only are the tales vastly entertaining, but gently moving as well. I found myself eager to begin the next chapter but wanted to allow the perfume of the current story to settle in me before moving on. I also very much liked that I learned a great deal about fly fishing, something I knew almost nothing about. Entertaining, instructive, and wise. What more could I want in an easy to read book? Highly recommended.”

– Bok, Author of "Words Out of Silence"

Graced by Waters flows and glints with the honest insight and humor of a grown up Huck Finn. Dietsch’s life-long venture to understand and share his passion for fly fishing becomes a journey of unexpected crystalline moments where his river of discovery becomes our own."

 

– Mark Krenzien, IMAX filmmaker and writer/director of Journey to Space

 John’s Graced by Waters passionately reminds us that to get real with our souls, our families, our friends, our colleagues, strangers, and ourselves, NATURE is the foundation. I am more appreciative of the power of letting my heart out on to the page, to free my mind and be still and breathe in the calming sights and sounds thatare all around us.....”

– Denyse Jones, Director of Production, TEDx San Francisco

“Captivating and contemplative. John’s new book captures the breathtaking connection between spirituality and the sport of fly fishing. Who knew that fly fishing and yoga were so much alike in their ability to cultivate mindfulness? A must read for anyone thirsting for spiritual wisdom. Thank you, John!”

– Susan Foxley, Life Coach/Yoga Master, Author of "Mixed Up to Fixed Up"

“Author John Dietsch's authentic display of vulnerability connected with me on an extremely emotional level. His collection of stories reveals the courage of a soul who was truly washed clean by a lifetime of being graced by waters.”

– Randolph J. Rogers, Author of "The Key of Life; A Metaphysical Investigation"

“John Dietsch shares his incredible experiences of fly fishing in a way that brings a new soulful, almost mystical insight to what lures so many of us back to the water. His stories touch something within that is usually reserved for that inspiring piece of music, a beautiful painting, or a child's precious wonder.”

– Victor Kepler, Executive Director EKE Pictures LLC

“Want to go fishing?....How about catching some spiritual wisdom about being in a respectful relationship with nature and the transformational powers of water? John Dietsch’s new book weaves all of this together in an entertaining and informative read and is a reminder to do what you can to protect the health and beauty of Mother Earth and her wondrous creations.”

– Dr. Tom Pinkson, Author of "Flowers of Wiricuta"