Last night I had a dream.
I dreamed that a three-day rain transformed a famous river into a raging torrent,
and when the river finally receded my friend Mike took me fishing.
I dreamed that we didn’t catch a fish the first morning,
and while we ate lunch along the bank of the river
I said that it didn’t matter; just being there was enough.
I dreamed that we caught several fish in the afternoon,
and one time I caught three fish on three casts,
and two times we caught a double,
and three times I told Mike I had lied about not needing to catch fish.
I dreamed we drank beer and ate sandwiches in a bar
where a bluegrass band sang about heartbreak and perseverance,
and then, with a full stomach and a warm blanket, I slept like a stone.
I dreamed that the next morning we went back to the river
and encountered a man named Jesse who built bamboo fly rods
and knew the river so well that he had worn footholds into the river’s ageless boulders.
I dreamed that Jesse showed me an eddy that always held fish,
and he showed me where to stand and where to cast,
but I couldn’t catch the fish so I handed him my rod and he caught it.
I dreamed that Jesse took us to a seemingly unremarkable run
where I hooked and lost a fish that almost broke my rod,
and then he took us to a deep clear pool where we watched a gigantic fish
detach Mike’s streamer from his line with a nearly indiscernible shake of its head.
I dreamed that we followed a small trail out of the hollow,
thanked our new friend for his unselfish acts of kindness,
and passed the time during our long drive home
by sharing stories about fishing and life and children and careers.
Then I woke up and realized that it hadn’t been a dream at all.