During my birthday this year, I was able to fish my home water. I had enough time alone to get to my favorite hole, which requires some hiking and stream crossings. Needless to say, this hole is my favorite because I have made some of my most memorable catches there. Sure enough, I caught a huge cutthroat there once again during this recent visit. It occurred to me that I have now been fishing this spot for decades. Such a realization is sobering, for a guy who feels relatively young, but it also brings a sense of gratitude and pride.

Back at the cabin, over the ridge, I had been reading the new book Home Waters: A Chronicle of Family and a River by John N. Maclean. The author, while very accomplished in his own right, is the son of Norman Maclean. Norman, of course, wrote A River Runs Through It. I have previously mentioned that my cabin is in the Big Blackfoot River drainage, that my father was a Presbyterian minister, and that my family is rooted in Missoula and Helena. Readers of A River will therefore understand why the book resonates with me. As John Maclean’s new book focuses upon his family and his time in this same area, it resonates with me as well. Home Waters is well-written and the younger Maclean paints an accurate and familiar picture of Western Montana. In the text, he reflects upon his father, his uncle Paul, their relationship, and his own place in the Maclean family.

As I often do, I also found myself reflecting upon my father, my uncle–both very troubled in their own ways, and the rest of my family after I set the book down and went fishing. It’s easy to focus upon the negative aspects of family history or less-than-pleasant events in my own life. But, as indicated earlier, I simply felt gratitude during this outing–gratitude that my father, despite his faults and failures, introduced this place to me, my mom, my sisters and, by extension, our spouses and children. We often hear about how many phenomena in families are cyclical. In such discussions, we tend to focus on negative phenomena. But the good stuff can by cyclical too. Like the return to a favorite spot.

Admittedly, the quality of this return depends upon the health of the stream, which has seen growing fishing pressure during the years I have fished it, but we’ll deal with that topic another time.

Home Waters, by John N. Maclean (Harper Collins, 2001), with Jack Boehme “Balsa Bug” and Norman Means (Paul Bunyan) “Bunyan Bug.” Boehm and Means were famous fly tiers from nearby Missoula. Means’ Bunyan Bug is featured in A River.

2 Responses to “Cycles”

  1. AJ Morris Says:

    Very nice. Lisa is quite taken with the mobile warning device…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kenov Says:

      Excellent! He can be yours for free!

      Honestly, he’s settling down a lot now, and he does great in the mountains. Affectionate as hell, too.

      Will give you a shout in the next couple days.

      Liked by 1 person

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