Saturday, December 04, 2004

The Desert Island Book Question.....

If I were to be stranded on a destert island, alone, thirsty, bored, and sunburn, and I could bring one book it, would be Norman McLean's A River Runs Through It. This novel would not only offer a wonderful story, and images of the big blackfoot river rushing through the Missoula valley, yet would also bring a story of love, family, and Montana- a refreshing opposite from that of a hot desert island. I am not sure why I love this book so much, it must be the wonderful and beautiful descriptions of my hometown, Missoula , Montana. I spent every summer on the big Blackfoot river swimming and diving with my friends and sisters, and it is where my grandfather taught me the art of flyfishing at the age of six. "Poets talk about "spots of time", yet it is really fishermen who experience eternity compressed into a moment. No one can tell what a spot of time is until suddenly the whole world is a fish and the fish is gone. I shall remember that son of a bitch forever."

I am by no means a great fisherwoman, in fact I have not fished in many summers, yet it this book and McLeans words which seem to capture the immense and grand beauty of Western Montana. I spent a summer working in Glacier National Park, and my family has a cabin which my grandfather built with his own hands, on Lindbergh Lake in the heart of the Swan Valley nestled in between the Swan and Mission Mountian ranges. Needless to say, I am in love with Montana. Surely when I finish my degree, I will head off to see the world and hopefully encounter many adventures, new rivers, and new mountians. Yet is my youth spent in the mountians and waters of this beautiful state which will forever be apart of my heart, and in this novel which puts the beauty and sincerity of nature into words. My grandfather too is old and rarley fishes anymore, he has this passage from the novel above his fly rod mounted in his living room;

"Now nearly all those I loved and did not understand when I was young are dead, but I still reach out to them. Of course, now I am too old to be much of a fishermen, and now of course I usually fish the big waters alone, although some friends think I shouldn't. Like many fly fishermen in western Montana where the summer days are almost Artic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Artic-half light of the canyon, all existence seems to fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise. Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters."


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