In Bruce Masterman’s recently published book One Last Cast: Reflections of an Outdoor Life, there is a line that reads “After helping set up his 5-year-old partner on the riverbank overlooking a deep hole full of promise, he started casting his own line a few yards away.”
For those of us who don’t fly fish, the phrase “overlooking a deep hole full of promise” might seem a contradiction. Some might ask, “How can a deep hole possibly hold promise? How can a deep hole be anything but dark, dangerous and threatening?”
You would be forgiven if you thought One Last Cast (Bruce’s third published book) was written for outdoor enthusiasts only. As much as this book joyfully describes a life spent outdoors with family and friends, hiking, camping, hunting and fishing, it remains a testament to the enduring power of hope.
In the chapter, Into the Light Bruce writes that he “self medicates” to manage his symptoms of depression. “I prescribe for myself generous regular doses of the outdoors whenever I’m feeling down. Being in nature helps level out my emotional peaks and valleys … Whether it’s for an hour or a day, I always go home feeling better, more energized, more hopeful.”
The words hope, healing, hopeful and blessed are generously sprinkled throughout the pages of One Last Cast like the wildflowers growing in the mountain meadows of Bruce’s “Not-So-Secret Place.” For me the magic found within these pages is the message that hope can be found (and cultivated) anywhere.
When I asked Bruce if he might consider participating in Home of the Brave, he seemed genuinely puzzled. I had found him in one of his classrooms during the last week of the winter semester. His students were exuberant and chatty as their first year of studying Journalism at SAIT was quickly drawing to a close.
“Yes, but why me? I just want to know – why me?” Bruce had replied in response to my invitation.
“Because you would be perfect! I said with a conviction that surprised us both.
We agreed to continue our discussion later, over a coffee, but I remember leaving Bruce’s classroom thinking …
“Man, I sure hope his answer is yes.”
Silver gelatin print
Hasselblad 80mm f2.8 lens
Ilford HP5, ISO 400