background image
away from the road 37
One soft
spring day many years back, he was on
the trail along the main fork, nearing
a stretch of the stream he considered his.
You reached it by a hard-to-make-out
way through the scrub. He told no one
about it, he'd never seen anyone else
on it. The stream was beautiful, and it had
many trout in it.
Out of view in his pack
was his new pack-rod, and his other tackle,
all of it fi rst rate. It had taken him years
to get it all together, one item
at a time, mostly. The day before,
a dozen trout-fl ies had been delivered
Air Mail, Special Delivery, just
in time. They rested now in the clear box
they came in, next to his reel, in the pack
(he kept all his tackle out of sight
until he got down to the stream)
and his mind was on them. They had come
from Livingston, Montana. They were tied
by local women, mostly middle-aged,
sitting at long benches. One year
there had been a photograph of them
in the catalog. The fl ies were packed
and shipped (by another such woman,
maybe) upon the arrival of his order,
check enclosed. The money it was
that brought them. His dozen
Royal Wulff s had come bobbing down
from Dan Bailey's on a rivulet
of money -- liquidity, that was
the lingo; cash fl ow, that his job had
turned into; job he was, well, spending
his life in. He saw the whole