Monday, January 10, 2022

July: North Yuba River

on the North Yuba River
after wheeling mortar
& carrying rocks all day.

wading, casting a fly--
an old tippet coachman
pattern: white goose

wings, peacock feather
body, black-and-orange
tail. rainbow fly for

rainbow trout. canyon getting
blue. your work-shirt
stinks fine, same for

trout-slimed creel. 
lungs of the canyon
draw air past pines

and oaks. the current
knocks against your
legs like a baby goat.

rush of life never never

stops. here you can pause,
know sufficient peace
and privilege in your life.

plenty of fish in the creel--
maybe breakfast tomorrow.
you stay knee-deep in the flow

for the cool, for the quiet
before the day's door 
closes. now in shadow,

bugs hatch and swarm
biblically. trout leap
in jubilee. reel it in.

stick the fly in cork.
listen. riverside, open
and clean the fish, leave

guts for raccoons. climb
up and out, slipping on shale,
grunting. finally up, winded,

standing next to Highway
49's warm asphalt. no cars
now. tourists in the campground,

town people home or at 
the bar. walk in soaked
jeans and boots up to

the old battered car. 
creel in the trunk. grunt
getting in. start her up.

home in less than a mile.
July mountain air sweet
after heat of day. thanks. 

hans ostrom 2022

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