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"The Earth Is Enough : Growing Up in a World of Fly Fishing, Trout, & Old Men", av Harry Middleton, 1989
Dette er en ordentlig skjønnlitterær bok i den forstand at hele boken er èn fortelling, og ikke i sedvanlig anekdoteform. Boka handler om Harry Middletons oppvekst, hvor han ble sendt til noen rare slektninger i grisgrendte strøk. Fluefiske etter ørret sto øverst på dagsordenen her hos onkelen, bestefaren og den ikke-helt-normale indianernaboen Elias Wonder.
Boka kommer litt treigt i gang, og det kunne nok med fordel ha vært kuttet litt i startfasen. Men så fort Middleton er på plass hos gamlingene, får boka en opptur som varer til man plutselig når permen.. Dette er ikke en bok om elver og ørret, dette er en bok om menneskene (som riktignok har et lidenskapelig forhold til både elv og ørret). Det er en fin fortelling, og det skal nok godt gjøres ikke å bli litt betatt av disse enkle, men innsiktsfulle menneskene. Foruten startfasen er språkføringen i boken enkel, men likevel elegant.
Her er et (drøyt) avsnitt fra da state agricultural agent Wayne Durham var på et av sine mange besøk hos gamlingene for å forkynne det effektive landbrukets budskap:
In between bites of tomato and gulps of tea, Durham informed Emerson and Albert that their thousand acres were "an agricultural disgrace." Totally worthless, an eyesore and embarrassment to Oglala County. "You don't even own a tractor, for chrissakes," he said. He went on, greatly troubled, genuinely concerned. Why hadn't the place been logged, he demanded to know, or planted in the something profitable? Why weren't there beef cattle gazing everywhere? How come the stream hadn't been dammed? Where was their sense of pride, amibition, profit?Dette er en virkelig bra bok.
Albert smiled broadly, as did Emerson. They had expected good news but nothing this good, so greatly uplifting. They had spent years and years trying to circumvent the tenets of modern techonological farming and had often wondered at the degree of their success. When Wayne Durham told them he had never seen a less modern, less successful, more deploarble neglect of land that was dying to be cleared and plowed from highway to highway, they beamed with incalculable pride. In those days, making and keeping a small farm an unprofitable venture took skill and determination end intelligence. Both were happy to see that their hard work and sacrifice had paid off. Having the state of Arkansas proclaim them an agricultural failure only boosted their courage and resolve. Evidently they were doing something right.
Albert poured Durham another glass of tea. "Don't sugar it down, son," he said, grinning. "We're old men. We were brought up on bad news."
Albert's sarcasm rolled off Durham like rain down a windowpane. Durham pushed the plate of tomatoes aside. [...]
"Here they (naboene) are trying to get with it and join the twentieth century, working day and night to subdue these rotten hills, drain the last ounce of productivity from this substandard soil, and you two have the unpatriotic nerve to sit here and not even clear-cut your timber! Some of these trees gotta be close to a hundred years old. Jesus Christ, What are you saving them for! Think about what you're doing, gentlemen, I urge you." (Durhaim said).
Albert did think about what he had said.
"They belong here," he said at last.
"What does?" asked Durham through a mouthful of tomato slices.
"The trees. They shade the creek, keep the trout cool. Hawks use them, too. And owls. And turkeys. Nearly every creature on the place, really. Why would we want to cut them down?"
Durham had a wide smile on his face. "Why, to make a killing on the lumber, old man, that's why. Then you could plant pines, which grow like magic into telephone poles, and are worth even more."
Emerson spoke, almost musing to himself, "So it's trees and trout and Starlight Creek and turkeys and deer and quail -- or telephone poles. Certainly the world isn't experiencing a shortage of telephone poles. Forget the trees, Mr. Durham, and the endless acres of beans and heards of cattle, and tell us how to better preserve our trout. You know trout are finicky creatures. Civilization upsets them. They'd rather die than have any part of it."
Wayne Durham got angrier, and the angrier he got the redder he got so that he quickly took on the aspect of some experimental strawberry gotten out of hand. He shoved another bite of tomato in his cheeks.
"Goddamn old hippie communists," he gumbled. "Men your age, too. You ought to be ashamed. What's wrong with modernization and advancement? It's the American way, and it's coming whether you old farts like it or not. You'd better get on the winning team while you can, fellas, and get this place in shape. Chop, burn, disc, plow. That's today's agricultural formula for reaping big bucks."
Albert leaned over the table, close to Durham's plump cherry-red face, and said, "Care to go fishing? I know a good spot [...]"
September, 1999. Christian Figenschou