Cherryman

Cherryman

A few years back I was camping along the banks of the White River just north of here near Hesperia with my then young son Noah and our dog Wonton. On this particular evening, after a  long hot day of bicycling and hiking and fly fishing, we built a huge bonfire and cooked a gourmet dinner followed by a couple of rounds of hot chocolate, after which Noah fell asleep stretched out on the nice comfortable couch that someone had left there. It was a very warm night and the full moon was so bright that it made crisp shadows that danced with pine trees in the shifting breezes. I was lured by the moonlight to the middle of the river where I stood watching the glow of the water over the coloured rocks beneth me. I found a larger rock and stretched out in the water with my head into the current and my feet against the rock, which kept me from being swept downstream. Taking deep breaths I submerged and watched the underwater nightlife with the shifting and bending of the watercolours and steady flow of small debris from up stream. I held my breath as long as I could and then came up for a sip of air before lowering myself back into the water world. Suddenly I was aware of a large moon shadow on the river bottom right next to me and turning my head just a bit I saw an enormous brown trout seemingly fixed right at my side. Even in the considerable river current he was nearly motionless and in the bright moonlight there was a surreal iridescent glow to him. I held my breath watching as long as I could before rising and taking another sip of summer air and descending again into the underwater world. My movements didn't seem to alarm the big brown as he effortlessly moved up and down along the length of my body following the disturbances I was creating in the flow of the river. Suddenly our shadows on the river bottom were joined by another from a smaller brown trout. My companion didn't put up with this intrusion for even a moment and he abruptly chased the smaller fish upriver and then quickly returned to my side.

By the time I stood and climbed out of the river I was feeling quite a different connection to the world than I had when I had entered the river. Wonton the dog was sitting on the river bank patiently watching me and I sensed that she knew I had experienced something unusual. I got Noah from the couch to the tent and then Wonton and I lay down on the couch and watched the moon travel across the summer night.

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