Just between you and I, this type written word does little justice to ones that initially spilled onto paper and landed in ink. It doesn’t show the second thoughts scribbled in the margin, or the one’s too personal crossed out -or my undisiplined hand writing. You can’t see the linen like quality of it all either, that I’ve crumpled up this note a half dozen times and shot for three to the waste basket, only to pull it out and keep writing you. And now you can hardly make out the sentences toward the bottom of the page, that the blue ink is running under sky and an alpine heaven’s tears.
And then some words just fell out too quick and rolled off the table and I can’t find them.
So I’ve got an almost sacred spot I return to fish each mid-summer. Usually by early July the water level is down enough that I can wade to a small cascade that falls to a pool no bigger than a bathtub, it tails out into a run maybe a dozen feet long. The entirely rock geology of the hole is such that it’s always there, summer after summer.
This is the irony.
The first time I cast in it years back was Independence Day and I hooked into a fish I can’t yet release. I’m not sure if I saw the fish rise first or felt the take. My memory is of greens and reds, a bright cutthroat rolling at the surface and I see the elkhair in its mouth and my line is tight and I can feel the pull in my forearm. The fish was bigger than I believed the Middlefork held. And then for an instant, in the moment, time rose up into circles.
Then just like that the circles fell and the fish was off. I never landed it. I really didn’t even play it.
And I have no idea why I keep going back to that hole with the thought of hooking into her again. It makes no sense. With probably thirty miles of river to move through, that you would remain in the same hole year after year, is ridiculous.
The thought is also wonderful, and I guess nostalgia is a lifesaver like that. It does something for me to stand by that pool and think about you, as much as I know you’re gone. And I guess hope is like that too, standing to spite hopelessness, believing in an impossibility.
I always end the night by your pool with a stones’ throw into it as a wish but not a wish to catch you again -I’ll always wish you into every pool, under every cascade, cool inside every run, leaping at dusk and falling in a splash under circles of time.
What I wish most is that I become the water and that you always land in my arms
and that the stones hold us both, and that the circles never fall.