Robert W. Flournoy

RIVERS

In the middle of a deep clinical depression many years ago, when I would go for nights on end without good sleep, I dreamed of a deep azure blue stream bending around a log cabin in green woods with tall snow capped peaks in the background. The water was so blue, and clear, the air so pure, and there was a delicious humming in my heart as I slept. I felt it. I felt the gold glowing in my body, like an intense opiate high. I knew I was asleep, and dreaming, but I was there, in that scene, and I was achingly happy. It occurred to me as I slept that I had died, and here was heaven. It was the warmest feeling that I have ever experienced, and the dream has stayed with me for decades.

Many years later I dreamed of Vietnam again, after years of nothing. I remarked that next morning, to my wife as we sipped coffee on the deck watching the sun rise, that my nightmare had been a field of charred bodies, burning in the jet fuel fire of a Chinook helicopter crash that I had witnessed so long ago. She was silent for a full minute before she asked if we should invite the neighbors over for dinner that night. I said that would be fine. I don’t remember what we did the rest of that day.

I like to read fiction that is prose of the finest art. And I like to fly fish in clear green rivers. I like to share both of these things with my closest friends. Little else interests me these days, other than the safety of my family. I find that prose occasionally, but seldom have the opportunity, or inclination anymore to share it. It is my friend. I have not fished since leaving Colorado and moving to Tennessee ten years ago. The water is not the same here, and it is not about the fish. Besides, Fort Carson is close by, and there always seem to be helicopters overhead.