Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Montana and Stuff

RAFFI: Before entering Montana, I began this novel called A River Runs Through It by Normal Maclean. It’s actually more of a novella—an autobiographical novella—in which the author describes, in incredibly nostalgic fashion, his experiences fly fishing with his brother and father in 1930s western Montana. I didn’t actually know that much about the book except that it would work as a companion piece to our travels through Montana. And it worked well; actually, there were times while reading when an event would be depicted in an obscure Montana town just as we were driving through that obscure Montana town. But the real reason I’m bringing this book up is because never before have I read something that so perfectly illustrates the feeling that so many individuals, especially those traveling to places like Glacier National Park or Yellowstone, strive for: that feeling of one-ness between man and nature. There are momentary instances of natural beauty that I think we—Horea, Duncan, and I—felt and are still feeling based on the immense power of the natural wonders we have thus far bared witness  to; however, I’m incapable of accurately translating those feelings into words, so I’d like to let the masterful Norman Maclean do it for me. In this passage, he describes his brother’s physical motions while fly fishing on the Blackfoot River in Montana:

"Below him was the multitudinous river, and, where the rock has parted it around him, big-grained vapor rose. The mini-molecules of water left in the wake of his line made momentary lapses of gossamer, disappearing so rapidly in the rising big-grained vapor that they had to be retained in memory to be visualized as loops. The spray emanating from him was a finger-grained still and enclosed him in a halo of himself. The halo of himself was always there and always disappearing, as if he were a candlelight flickering about three inches from himself. The images of himself and his line kept disappearing into the rising vapors of the river, which continually circled to the tops of the cliffs where, after becoming a wreath in the wind, they became rays of the sun."

Damn. You probably wanna go fly fishing, which is wildly popular in Montana, right about now. By this time, I have finished A River Runs Through It, which contains, in addition to the above, some of the most beautiful and moving passages I have ever read. Ironically, am now reading Anthony Kiedis’s autobiographical Scar Tissue, which, set in the dirty metropolis that is L.A., details the singer’s disgustingly selfish descent into heroin addiction. Still, Kiedis may be the most likeable scumbag there ever was.

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