Tuesday, August 17, 2010


There's a line in Norman Maclean's "A River Runs Through It" that I enjoyed thinking about last week. It comes at the end of the scene where Norman bails his brother Paul, and Paul's girlfriend, out of jail. On their way out the desk sergeant says, "Maybe you should all go fishing."

Neither my brother nor I had to bail the other out of jail last week but there was still plenty of metaphoric resonance in that line. Like everyone, we've had our share of trials and tribulations. We've done our best to help each other through them -- with the inevitable mixed results. Which reminds me of another line from Maclean's book that stayed with me. He quoted his brother as saying, "maybe what he likes is somebody trying to help him."

Last week, Trent drove up from the valley heat and joined me on my writing retreat at the family cabin. He helped me trouble-shoot Lonely Dell, the new screenplay I'm working on. Then we ate a couple of burgers in Flagstaff and fished the evening rise on Oak Creek. Trent caught the only fish of the day on his trusty mosquito pattern.

Being the older brother, I tend to think of myself as the one who takes the other fishing. While watching Trent fish, though, I realized the dynamic changed somewhere along our lives' timelines. Now that Trent's pushing forty, and I've pushed past fifty, it's hard to tell who is taking whom fishing.