Sunday, June 5, 2011

Why do I fish...

“Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.”

the final paragraph from The Road
by Cormac McCarthy

This paragraph was where "In Search of Wild Trout" began for me. Reading these few lines on a blistering summer day in 2007. With every page still fresh on the mind, I found myself returning to certain, dog-eared leaves of The Road, marveling over entire breaths of passages, mesmerized by the author’s cadence, awestruck with the book’s stark nature of words, belittled by an irreverent, yet somehow, poetic genius, and feeling tortured by the story’s parallel to my own liferoad. Its plot seemed to haunt the inescapable cyclical nature of my own plot -- loss, rehabilitate, success... lose more, rehabilitate more, success again. 

Here, I’d just completed one of the most satisfying books of my life, when suddenly the notion occurs to me, "I did not find this book. This book has somehow found me" -- and it crushes me, grinding my bones to dust. I believe you will see why when you, too, read the book and reflect upon the great many things you have lost in this world.

I hope every man who has had the pleasure of fishing or hunting or outdoorsing it with his son will read The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. It is a masterpiece of literary genius, a story of absolution, of perfect love, easy to read, yet simultaneously, brutally difficult to finish. But I honestly believe that any man who reads it will immediately understand what is important, and what is trivial. It is not a book about fishing. It is a book about survival -- the survival of love, the survival of human kind, of the Earth, and the survival of all things good and clean within that world. Cormac just brings it all home with a final metaphor about the survival of wild brook trout in cold mountain stream -- the most perfect final paragraph of a book in the history of the world.  

Good reading!

About Mac

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I am W. Chad McPhail. I'm an outdoor/travel writer, book author, former English teacher, and Amarillo native. 

I spend my spare time traipsing around the mountains and streams of the southwest in search of wild trout with my family, friends, various freeloaders, and other flotsam and jetsan. I used to teach English & Creative Writing. These days I am a Right of Way field agent with Coates Field Service, representing Sharyland Utilities during the construction of a 345 megawatt transmission line from Hereford to Panhandle, Texas. I love exploring the outdoors, fly fishing, backpacking, camping, hiking, kayaking, and yes, writing outdoor and travel books and pieces. I am a field writer of flyfishing, backpacking, camping, and kayaking articles for I have written many articles for magazines such as Southwest Fly Fishing, Texas Fish & Game, Rocky Mountain Game & Fish,, and more. I have co-penned three books with fishing buddy Mark D. Williams; Colorado Flyfishing: Where to Eat Sleep Fish, 49 Trout Streams of Southern Colorado, and An Introduction to Fly Fishing for Trout.