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away from the road 39
stones on the sandy bottom. He watched the pair
hover, and then cruise, with an easy fl ick
of fi n shifting direction, assured and
unhurried among the shifting pillars of
the shadows of fl oating alder leaves.
He no longer fi shed. His tackle stayed in its cabinet.
One day soon he'd divide it among his sons.
They could cut cards to settle any disputes. Now
he was content with just coming up here.
It was one of those places that has
a radiance of its own. You could see it
when your state of attention was right.
The whole pool was lying in one cold shadow.
He replaced the empty thermos and box
in the pack, worked the binoculars back
into their case, and passing the strap over
his head, hung it over his right shoulder so that
the binoculars rested on his left hip. He hoisted
the pack and shrugged into it, buckling
the waist-belt, tightening the shoulder-straps.
The pack had some weight to it. He always carried
what he would need if for any reason
he should have to spend the night up here.
He secured the binoculars to the waist-belt
with a thong, buckled the chest-strap, turned
away from the pool and its waterfall, fought
his way back up to the trail, and once again
headed back down into what lay outspread below.
December 19, 1994
Note: The title of Ford's book is Great Trade Route.