What a wonderful book! Jackson vividly describes a lifetime spent in the outdoors; fishing, hunting, and just wandering around. His narration is poetic; his expression of emotions I found touching. I have seldom found an author who can make me feel so much nostalgia for my own youth; the adventure, the feeling that "the world was all before us", the learning of responsibility and stewardship for the land. He genuinely touched me.
Please bare with me, as I quote a paragraph that truly stood out, reminding me of how much the world has changed. "We were just boys...boys still too young to drive, and yet boys alone with guns, governed by the admonition that we were, in no uncertain terms, accountable for how we behaved, accountable for what we did and how we did it. We understood this. We understood also that we were accountable for our own lives...not just in terms of health and safety as we hunted and fished out there on that land, but life expressed in the full extent of its meaning-beyond the realms of sportsmen, beyond the reasons of boyhood. We did not betray that trust." What a difference from those times (when I was a boy), and today! I fear that we have not instilled that understanding in our youth of today.
One more, if you will. Here the author is describing the catch of a large, predatory fish. "Something happens within the heart of a boy when he catches a fish like that. It isn't really imprinting. Rather, it seems that it helps the boy come to terms with a piece of life's framework. It helps him to recognize that there are large, strong, and potentially dangerous animals in the world that can and absolutely will fight you viciously, if necessary. It also helps the boy learn that if you fight back with determination, you just might win...might. And if the boy thinks about it much - and I did - he will grow to appreciate the fact that the things that fight back and that can hurt you also have their place in the scheme of things. Without them, the world wouldn't have the edge, the spice, the uncertainty, and the strange beauty that makes life the wonderful adventure that it is supposed to be."
A powerful little book...extremely well written. This is a book that I will return to again and again, when ever I am feeling wistful about my younger days.
Highly, highly recommend this one!