In Still Life with Brook Trout, John Gierach demonstrates once again that fishing, when done right, is as much a philosophical pursuit as a sport.
Gierach travels from Wyoming to Maine, and to points in between, searching out new fishing adventures and savoring familiar waters with old and new friends. He ruminates on the importance of good fishing guides ("Really, the only thing a psychiatrist can do that a good guide can't is write prescriptions"); the necessity of keeping some trade secrets ("Paul kept pointedly referring to it as 'The River Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken'"); and the difficulty of fishing with dignity ("The few who I've seen try all ended up looking like pompous fools, although to their credit, many of them came to realize that and eventually would fish only with other pompous fools"); as well as more serious topics, such as the effects of the drought in the West and the politics of dam building. Gierach shows us that fishing begins with a rod and reel but encompasses so much more -- a passion shared among friends, a way of experiencing the natural world that is uncommon these days, or as Gierach puts it: "Living gracefully in any kind of natural environment takes patience and acceptance: the two qualities we Americans have pretty much bred out of ourselves."
Reflecting on a recent trip to a familiar small creek near his home, Gierach writes, "In my brightest moments, I think slowing down...has opened huge new vistas on my old home water. It's like a friendship that not only lasts, but gets better against the odds." Similarly, Still Life with Brook Trout proves that Gierach's prose, like fishing itself, only becomes deeper and richer...Continua