THE Ladies Home Journal once offered this explanation for...

Salmagundi

June 09, 1995

THE Ladies Home Journal once offered this explanation for the allure of fishing:

"The curious thing about fishing is you never want to go home. If you catch anything, you can't stop. If you don't catch anything, you hate to leave in case something might bite."

* * *

WRITTEN nearly a half-century ago, Aldo Leopold's classic observations on conservation and ethics in "A Sand County Almanac" retain a sense of freshness and urgency for new generations of readers.

An expert ecologist and naturalist, Leopold was the consummate communicator and philosopher in discovering and relating the spiritual links between man and the environment.

From the "June" section of his almanac, he draws on the similarities of fish and fisherman.

"How like fish we are: ready, nay eager, to seize upon whatever new thing some wind of circumstance shakes down upon the river of time. And how we rue our haste, finding the gilded morsel to contain a hook.

"Even so, I think there is some virtue in eagerness, whether its object prove true or false. How utterly dull would be a wholly prudent man, or trout, or world! . . . The only prudence in fishermen is that designed to set the stage of taking another, and perhaps a longer, chance."

Leopold caught three fish in Wisconsin's Alder Fork stream that spring day. "I shall now confess to you that none of those three trout had to be beheaded, or folded double, to fit their casket. What was big was not the trout, but the chance. What was full was not my creel, but my memory."

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