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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 8, Number 4, December 2014

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Lew Watts
Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA


A River Called Årdal

It is the first week of June and once again I am trembling as I thread the fly line through the rings of my rod. This river is my spiritual home and it is here that my ashes will be scattered. Over the last 30 years, I have memorized every rock, each secret path—I could even tell the height of water from the river's distant roar. Nothing has ever stopped me from being here each summer.

dark clouds—
hidden in my fly box
her biopsy result

This year has seen a record snow-pack and an unusually late and sudden thaw—the flood had lasted five days. Gone now are my beloved pools, the glassy patches within the rapids where a salmon would rest, the low hanging juniper that shaded Krok Hol throughout the longest day. It is quite simply not the river I knew.

Still, I am trembling. Soon I will make a path through a debris field that was once a wood. There I will meet a new pool, a long peaceful glide where, one year ago, the waters tumbled and crashed—what name shall I give it? What shall I call this river? Will it know me?

after his stroke
my younger brother
calls me Dad

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