Friend, Harry Mason, says it is the light down there
below Reynolds that gives the
place its ethereal quality.
Maybe it's the mountains, maybe it's the sage and
the dark of the pines and cedars,
maybe it's the deep blue of the water, maybe it's the glow of
the setting sun, or
the clean white sheen of the rising moon.
Whatever it is, the place has a soul and a spirit
that are in the blood. I have often
described the place as having bits and pieces of me everywhere.
I found them again
last evening. The foot paths with their treacherous gopher holes,
and round, tripping
river rocks sticking up. The spring seeps in the sides of the
benches, with their deep
green grasses. The beach ball size river rocks that refuse to
let you stand on them.
But most of all, the depth and clarity of the blue waters of the
lure me to the place.
The adult geese have long since hatched their goslings
this early spring.
The little fellows have grown to nearly gander sized, brown, fuzzy
balls that strut and
swim nearly as well as their parents. Only the lack of wing and
tail feathers keeps them
from flying low along the edges of the benches and gliding low
over the surface of the
Madison as they will do every evening before the end of the summer.
Friendly solitude was everywhere this evening. It
was one of those rare ones that reserved
the whole place just for me.
It is too early season for the fly fishing multitudes to descend
on the too publicized
waters of the upper Madison. The coming of July will bring them
I sat for a while and let the spirit welcome me again.
It was all about. It marked the
place where I will die some day. I come to Montana because my
beginnings are here.
They are in the smooth soft grasses that pad the edges of the
rocks I like to sit on while
I rest and absorb the place. They are in the dark depths of the
pools and eddies and riffles
that hold my friends who give me moments of pleasure. They are
in the golden mountains
that rise from the fertile waters of the Madison for good and
As the sun dipped behind the hills to the West, the
glow of the Madison range turned
to a warm orange and deep gold before gradually sinking to a deep
The change is slow and subtle, but it captures your
sensitivities and diverts your attention
from the rising fishes and dipping caddis and honking ganders
and their mates and children.
I find myself looking to the hills beyond, knowing that when I
die here my spirit will be
there too. It will be everywhere, because it is big and all encompassing,
much bigger than
I am. Simpleness is big. Simple people, like me, with the emotion
to understand the depths
of their beginnings have no trouble finding themselves here.
It is right to come home to the upper Madison Valley.
I knew I would come. I always do.
The fish that rewarded my sincerity this evening seemed to fade
in my memory as I drove
across the Reynolds Pass Bridge. The place is much too big for
me to focus on a single thing.
It is good to be home.