There was a play (and later a movie) by Bernard Slade called “Same Time, Next Year” about a love affair that happens only on one weekend out of the year for twenty-five years. This book is like that movie, except that instead of an extramarital tryst, this read is a love-affair with fly-fishing, the outdoors and the camaraderie of old friends. One weekend out of the year is reserved for these seven graduates from Dartmouth College, who fly fish in the pristine New Hampshire woods of the Dartmouth Grant. At times very funny, sad, and deadly serious, the book is a tribute to their secret identities as outdoorsman and renaissance men. It is a wonderful blend of tall stories, personal growth, poetry, music, some surprisingly good painting and their secrets of fly fishing brook trout.
Although the chapters are written by different members of the group, they are edited well and woven together into a consistent narrative. They invite you to join them on their journies, leaving behind their homes and families to drive into the remote woods of New Hampshire, shedding their alter egos as they head north. Once among the “luxuries” of the Grant, they crack open a beer (or three) and renew their friendships and love for wading thigh deep in rippling water. It’s a joy to be taken with them.
Here is a short excerpt:
“We heard the problem before we saw it. It was the roar of water – lots of it – falling fast. As the canoe rounded a bend, the river narrowed before us into a gauntlet of drops over ledges, alternating with huge standing waves. It was the kind of chute you would never ride down on purpose, but we both realized with a sinking feeling that it was too late to reach the banks. We were already committed. Guy shouted, “Down the middle!” and that seemed like the best and only idea. There was no room to maneuver, and if we turned sideways things would get ugly fast.
“So we plunged into the raging chute, both of us paddling madly to keep the canoe headed straight. I braced a knee under the bow, which was a good move because the first drop almost threw me out. Time slowed down the way it does in moments of crisis and it seemed for a while that all would be well. We were keeping the canoe aimed ahead, and it fell straight across a series of steep drops. I caught alternating glimpses of standing waves and of the sky as we bucked up and down, but we were keeping the canoe upright. As we emerged into a pool at the bottom of the falls a few seconds later I felt relieved and proud.
“But those sentiments were premature.”
You can buy your copy of The Confluence at: http://www.amazon.com/Confluence-Fly-fishing-Friendship-Dartmouth-College/dp/1942155123/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1461884787&sr=1-1&keywords=the+confluence