Bonnie and Clyde and I approached the river on a torpid summer morning and rousted a bald eagle. She took flight toward the clearcut. Moments later, two blue herons flew overhead in their unmistakable prehistoric manner. I’d never two fly together before. It was almost unsettling. They have always seemed to me like such creatures of incalculable solitude, out there on the mud flats alone. Perhaps that’s why I’ve always identified with them.
I sat down on the bank, fed the crew some treats, and looked around. Three hummingbirds flitted in the alders. Alder leaves detached and floated into the river. The leaves floated past me. Detach me with them, please.
Bonnie made a little foray into the river, searching for something. She stopped in the middle of the channel, sniffed, drank and splashed around. I honestly believe this dog communes with spirits in nature. I’ve never seen anything like it in a dog…or for that matter, a human being.
Clyde remained by my side and occasionally whimpered his treat whimper. I’ve spoiled this old veteran and it brings me some of the little joy I have in my current life.
I watched the river and craved rain, a ripping rain, the resulting freshet, and perhaps the miracle of watching wild salmonids make their run up into the watersheds to spawn. I’ve seen that sight twice in 20 years and want to see it again. This might be the place. But you can never plan for the magic. It just appears when the water is right and the fish get the scent. Rain is the key. Rain is always the key.
Fall is coming. Two summers of my life evaporated by the staggering heat of disapproval and isolation. The water from this river has helped keep my soul hydrated. These old dogs, too. They know how to put the lick on my face.
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