Friday Classic | Punctuation

The river is a master storyteller. It gives cold weight to the tug at your calves, voice to the broad, gentle riffle, tang to the shower freshened air, and mystery to the sliding greens and blues of the long, glassy channel. Before the subject of its narrative is introduced – a tiny yellow puff of feather and pointed steel – the water has gripped your senses, and through your senses your imagination, and you are nearly satisfied with that alone. You know this is special. It should be enough.

It would be enough. But like the imperfect sentence that almost conveys an elusive bit of truth, this particular run can’t be left alone. Something rare and universal is lingering there, just beyond the periphery, so you turn to it again, and again, and again, finding it just gone each time… maddening. That you understand what words cannot catch or carry is no consolation. But in the river there is a chance.

Because sometimes, just when the tension between beauty and longing seems unbearable, a shape will resolve itself from indistinct colors, describe a graceful arc to the surface, and with one final kick  – pop – provide the perfect punctuation, and complete the tale.

I fish because the river can tell it when nothing else can.

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