Mysterious Trout

“Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.” Cormac McCarthy, The Road

To put the quote into context, McCarthy’s optimistic words are ironically the conclusion to The Road, a tale of a nameless father and son traversing a post-apocalyptic world shrouded in darkness and evil. The beautiful yet vague image the quote invokes is up to the interpretation of the reader. To me, McCarthy is making a statement about the beauty of the world which we not only take for granted but carelessly corrupt. The whole vibe of the trout seems otherworldly, but this is just what the world is supposed to be like - magical. And how could it not be when it is of divine creation?

The lack of proper punctuation in the quote, by the way, is not grammatical ignorance but rather a symbolic stylistic choice of McCarthy’s. If you’re looking for more quotes like this, read McCarthy’s The Road. It is full of them!