A Fishing Book

I love my river. I can tell you that. Each year there are days when the Miramichi shows its greatness — its true greatness — once again. And each year on the river, once or twice, I will meet men and women with a fire of generosity in them, of love for others that God required old prophets to have.

That’s from a book I bought recently for $1.50 at one of those clearing-house bookstores. Lines on the Water: A Fisherman’s Life on the Miramichi, by David Adams Richards. Original retail price: $21. Nice. I wonder how much of my $1.50 goes back to the author. Probably nothing.

Rivers like the river described in this book have become scarce. I used to fish whenever I could, but now I don’t even think about. Most rivers are empty, fished-out or polluted or both.

As a child I had the idea that trout were golden, or green, in deep pools hidden away under the moss of a riverbank. And that some day I would walk in the right direction, take all the right paths to the river and find them there.

In fact, trout, I learned, were far more textured and a better colour than just golds and greens. They were the colour of nature itself — as naturally outfitted in their coat of thin slime as God could manage. They were hidden around the bends and in the deep shaded pools of my youth.

I think I’m going to read this book, and then send it to my father when I’m done with it. He grew up next to a big river. He can probably relate to it better than I can.