The wind came gently through the low, dry branches and the dogs were light and liquid. The water suggested swift currents and deep eddies, soft entreaties. Jack, tired and lopsided, spit into the water and smiled - the air smelled of fish like he knew it would. The dogs knew. The wind and the trees and the beckoning evening. It was all right, and it was within Jack - he breathed it and his heart beat with it; he could feel the blood throb on the old cork handle. He smiled again, spit once, and cast into the loamy froth that he had seen in dreams, now revealed as he knew it would be.
The line slipped through his fingers as Jack worked the ideas and riffles and logs right through his mind, unconscious. Jack was part of the river and the river knew it. The river, which took only what you were willing to give it, but gave so much back. Jack gave himself to the water, let it carry him, there in spirit only as he became silk, flowing night.
Smells on the wind. Smoke from a fire. Good smoke, clean and fresh - Jack felt the warmth of the stranger's fire and nodded his head, matted grey hair stuffed under a red, woman's hat. Spit in the water and smell of the good night, Jack. Smell and breathe and you are the river, Jack. See what the river can give you.
And hours passed in tepid lifetimes and fish were caught, released, killed and eaten. Jack turned into stories and legends and ways to fool yourself into thinking things used to be better than they were. Jack doesn't care, nor does the river. Drought or flood, the river adapts, and it will outlast us all. Even when it disappears. Because rivers cannot die. And neither can anglers and storytellers.