Reading the Water
BY MARK HUME GREYSTONE
My father and I don’t see eye-to-eye on most things, but as far back as I can remember, many of our best anecdotes and happiest memories (or at least most memorable) were those spent with a fishing pole by or on the water. Canadian journalist Mark Hume may not have had the same paternal introduction to fly fishing, but after accidentally discovering and falling in love with the outdoors at a young age, he made sure to bond with his own daughters over the ‘meditative sport’. While much more patient than my own father, there are moments of new and shared experiences and traditions, along with the girls’ growing confidence with the sport and in nature that felt nostalgic and sweet. Not only does Hume have trust in himself to read and relay the wonders of the natural world, but he also trusts his girls to understand what lessons he is trying to instill and uncover some of them on their own.
As a Canadian who lived on the west coast, I also felt a kinship and instant recognition with him as he trudged through Vancouver Island, skin prickling with the potential of bears and cougars (the big toothy kind) eyeing his flank. However, you don’t have to be familiar with the areas he angles in to feel a sense of connection to his stories and writing. There are many moments that Hume shares, both on his own and with his children, knee-deep in a flowing river or walking through a quiet forest, that will resonate with readers with like experiences no matter their location in the world.
It’s unclear whether or not this is something that most fly fishers develop, or a gift attributed to his personality, but Hume reads the water almost like a religious scholar might interpret a sacred text, finding meaning and taking lessons along the way. This is more than a book about fishing – Hume has written a beautiful memoir, full of his own charming anecdotes fishing with his daughters and written with touching philosophy that lingers with you long afterwards.
Hume reads the water almost like a religious scholar might interpret a sacred text