He slips quietly into the water and gazes upstream. His shoulders slump with a grave weariness that resonates in the wispy mist that clings to the water's surface, the numbing hush of distant whitewater, the dark edges of this secluded sanctuary. It’s been hard times.
He stands motionless, his soft stare remaining upward. He looks not for the dimples of rising trout or for the emergence of this morning’s hatch or for the locations of prime feeding lies. His focus, if there is focus at all, is much farther away. Beyond the cascade. Beyond the distant bend. Beyond his understanding, though he tries his hardest.
He looks for an answer. He looks for why.
After what seems an eternity he lowers his eyes and surveys the water close at hand. This trip was to be an escape from that which cannot be escaped, from the weight of it; an unconvincing capitulation to the harsh truth that the stream continues to flow despite his heart’s deepest certainty that all things should have stopped. He did.
But ingrained muscle memory eventually overcomes bone-deep inertia and he gently strips line onto the moving water, a mossy green strand that drifts away behind him like sweet memories departing on the currents of time. With a quiet ease he retrieves those memories and sends them airborne, his subdued cadence imparting a graceful fluidity to his cast, a quality seldom experienced, before.
Remembrance swirls hypnotically around him in long, lazy loops. He surrenders to the rhythm, puts the weight aside, and lets his mind ride the soaring silk. He thinks of nothing more than the movement of arm and rod and line, the tumble of water, and the silent drift of a dainty wad of deer hair. He loses himself in the minutia. He forgets everything else …
… but for only a moment.
It’s a start.