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2 Light cahill

He has fished this smooth spot in the northern Catskill stream for fifty years and still his pulse races. He runs a finger along the worn smoothness of the long split-bamboo rod, a gift from his father. Arnold stands in water thighdeep tohis patchedwaders.AfaintVextends downstream from where he breaks the gentle f low. Another swing and he swiftly compares the captured mayfly to hand-tied light cahills of several sizes. Arnold selects a fly of the same size and shade and carefully releases the living one to finish its brief ecstasy.

Te mayfly flutters from a hand suddenly rigid. An almost audible wave of pain overtakes Arnold and recedes, disarmed by the disciplined mind.

Arnold ties the dry fly to line as fine as spider silk. Te nearly weightless end of his tapered leader will allow the fly to alight as softly as a dying mayfly. Te old man strips a little of the waxy line from his reel and sets the fly humming through the air with short rhythmic movements of his forearm. His pulse leaps a little higher as a trout shivers the mirrored surface. Arnold relaxes, chuckling softly that it’s always the whippersnappers who do the showing off.

Te light fades another shade, enough for bats to join the swifts and swallows in their agile swoops to the water’s surface. Beyond the fields the mountains’ lower slopes darken to a deep purple, their summits still rich with the memory of summer sun.

Te old man stuffs the pipe into a pocket of his fishing vest without breaking the rhythm of his casting. He sniffs the familiar evening river odor, something

Page 4 - WS104

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