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A River Runs Through It and Other Stories

Maclean, Norman, with a foreward by Annie Proulx | University of Chicago, 1976


pp. 2-4

Norman’s father, a Presbyterian minister, “was not a great fly caster, but he was accurate and stylish and wore a glove on his casting hand.  As he buttoned his glove in preparation to giving us a lesson, he would say, ‘It is an art that is performed on a four-count rhythm between ten and two o’clock.’”  Two o’clock, but on the twelve side of two o’clock, because “until man is redeemed he will always take a fly rod too far back, just as natural man always over-swings with an ax or golf club and loses all his power somewhere in the air; only with a rod it’s worse, because the fly often comes so far back it gets caught behind in a bush or rock.”  Natural man likes power more than grace.  “My father was sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe.  To him, all good things—trout as well as eternal salvation—come by grace and grace comes by art and art does not come easy.  So my brother and I learned to cast Presbyterian style, on a metronome.”