I understood that in the time it took to tie one mayfly I could open the fridge and remove the rainbow he caught the week before, fire up the grill, cook the fish, and eat it alone on our deck, with thyme and butter.
That when the fly was finished, uncannily real, freakishly swattable, another needed tying because the concentration it took was so lovely (and the mayflies themselves so elegant) the task demanded repeating.
I understood that his silhouette bent over light was precious, and the resolve he needed to wade the current, flick the wrist, flick it again until I dreamt of him up to his thighs in river, was formidable and ripe with faith.
And I understood that the man I loved thrived deep inside the fisher man in the swirling cold, the tidal stream, and for one moment away from the world and its demons, I could almost touch him.
Still, I left the quiet of his dying, where he glowed bright with purpose, and drove madly alone down the Hudson before he had a chance to bait his hook with mayflies, tree frogs, bloodsuckers.about the author