Norman Maclean quotes

  • At sunrise everything is luminous but not clear.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Sunrise #Clear

  • Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Running #Rivers

  • As I get considerably beyond the biblical allotment of three score years and ten, I feel with increasing intensity that I can express my gratitude for still being around on the oxygen-side of the earth's crust only by not standing pat on what I have hitherto known and loved. While oxygen lasts, there are still new things to love, especially if compassion is a form of love.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Gratitude #Biblical #Compassion

  • In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing. We lived at the junction of great trout rivers in western Montana, and our father was a Presbyterian minister and a fly fisherman who tied his own flies and taught others. He told us about Christ's disciples being fishermen, and we were left to assume, as my brother and I did, that all first-class fishermen on the Sea of Galilee were fly fishermen and that John, the favorite, was a dry-fly fisherman.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Brother #Father #Sea

  • So it is that we can seldom help anybody. Either we don't know what part to give or maybe we don't like to give any part of ourselves. Then, more often than not, the part that is needed is not wanted. And even more often, we do not have the part that is needed.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Giving #Helping #Needed

  • Yet even in the loneliness of the canyon I knew there were others like me who had brothers they did not understand but wanted to help. We are probably those referred to as "our brother's keepers," possessed of one of the oldest and possible one of the most futile and certainly one of the most haunting instincts. It will not let us go.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Brother #Loneliness #Haunting

  • Many of us would probably be better fishermen if we did not spend so much time watching and waiting for the world to become perfect
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Perfect #Waiting #World

  • In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Fishing #Lines #Our Family

  • One great thing about fly fishing is that after a while nothing exists of the world but thoughts about fly fishing
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Fishing #World #Fly Fishing

  • At sunrise everything is luminous but not clear. It is those we live with and love and should know who elude us. You can love completely without complete understanding.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Love #Understanding #Sunrise

  • Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Running #Time #Rain

  • Poets talk about "spots of time", but it is really the fishermen who experience eternity compressed into a moment. No one can tell what a spot of time is until suddenly the whole world is a fish and the fish is gone.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Fishing #Gone #World

  • It is those we live with and love and should know who elude us.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Elude #And Love #Should

  • Of course, now I am too old to be much of a fisherman, and now of course I usually fish the big waters alone, although some friends think I shouldn't. Like many fly fishermen in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Summer #Memories #Thinking

  • One of life's quiet excitements is to stand somewhat apart from yourself and watch yourself softly becoming the author of something beautiful even if it is only a floating ash.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Beautiful #Ashes #Becoming

  • Each one of us here today will at one time in our lives look upon a loved one who is in need and ask the same question: We are willing to help, Lord, but what, if anything, is needed? For it is true we can seldom help those closest to us. Either we don't know what part of ourselves to give or, more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. And so it is those we live with and should know who elude us. But we can still love them - we can love completely without complete understanding.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Love #Giving #Understanding

  • A river, though, has so many things to say that it is hard to know what it says to each of us.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Rivers #Water

  • We sat on the bank and the river went by. As always, it was making sounds to itself, and now it made sounds to us. It would be hard to find three men sitting side by side who knew better what a river was saying.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Men #Rivers #Three

  • We can love completely what we cannot completely understand.
    -- Norman Maclean

  • The nearest anyone can come to finding himself at any given age is to find a story that somehow tells him about himself.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Age #Stories #Given

  • A mystery of the universe is how it has managed to survive with so much volunteer help.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Volunteer #Helping #Mystery

  • I had as yet no notion that life every now and then becomes literature—not for long, of course, but long enough to be what we best remember, and often enough so that what we eventually come to mean by life are those moments when life, instead of going sideways, backwards, forward, or nowhere at all, lines out straight, tense and inevitable, with a complication, climax, and, given some luck, a purgation, as if life had been made and not happened.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Mean #Long #Luck

  • Probably most catastrophes end this way without an ending, the dead not even knowing how they died...,those who loved them forever questioning "this unnecessary death," and the rest of us tiring of this inconsolable catastrophe and turning to the next one.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Knowing #Forever #Way

  • Unless we are willing to escape into sentimentality or fantasy, often the best we can do with catastrophes, even our own, is to find out exactly what happened and restore some of the missing parts.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Missing #Fantasy #Catastrophe

  • If our father had had his way, nobody who did not know how to fish would be allowed to disgrace a fish by catching him.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Father #Sea #Fishing

  • My father was very 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.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Art #Father #Grace

  • Ahead and to the west was our ranger station - and the mountains of Idaho, poems of geology stretching beyond any boundaries and seemingly even beyond the world.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Idaho #Mountain #World

  • The hardest thing usually to leave behind, as was the case now, can loosely be called the conscience.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Cases #Hardest #Behinds

  • The world is full of bastards, the number increasing rapidly the further one gets from Missoula, Montana.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Numbers #Montana #World

  • When I was young, a teacher had forbidden me to say "more perfect" because she said if a thing is perfect it can't be more so. But by now I had seen enough of life to have regained my confidence in it.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Teacher #Perfect #Enough

  • Slowly we became silent, and silence itself if an enemy to friendship.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Silence #Enemy #Silent

  • ...life every now and then becomes literature...as if life had been made and not happened.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Literature #Now And Then #Made

  • It is very important to a lot of people to make unmistakably clear to themselves and to the universe that they love the universe but are not intimidated by it and will not be shaken by it, no matter what it has in store. Moreover, they demand something from themselves early in life that can be taken ever after as a demonstration of this abiding feeling.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Taken #People #Feelings

  • I knew that, when needed, mountains would move for me.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Moving #Mountain #Needed

  • As for my father, I never knew whether he believed God was a mathematician but he certainly believed God could count and that only by picking up God's rhythms were we able to regain power and beauty. Unlike many Presbyterians, he often used the word "beautiful.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Beautiful #Father #Able

  • I sat there and forgot and forgot, until what remained was the river that went by and I who watched. On the river the heat mirages danced with each other and then they danced through each other and then they joined hands and danced around each other. Eventually the water joined the river, and there was only one of us. I believe it was the river.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Believe #Hands #Rivers

  • He told us about Christ's disciples being fisherman, and we were left to assume...that all great fishermen on the Sea of Galilee were fly fisherman and that John, the favorite, was a dry-fly fisherman.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Sea #Fishing #Dry

  • How can a question be answered that asks a lifetime of questions.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Lifetime

  • All good things come by grace, and grace comes by art, and art does not come easy.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Art #Grace #Doe

  • I am haunted by waters.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Water

  • Help is giving part of yourself to somebody who comes to accept it willingly and needs it badly.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Giving #Needs #Helping

  • At the time I did not know that stories of life are often more like rivers than books.
    -- Norman Maclean

    #Book #Rivers #Stories