To follow the drops sliding from a lifted oar,
Head up, while the rower breathes, and the small boat drifts quietly shoreward;
To know that light falls and fills, often without our knowing.
-Theodore Roethke, The Shape of the Fire
You woke to the sound of geese preparing for a mass hatch and molt. The rings on the water’s surface betrayed the fish below. You prepared your raft with freezing hands and a pounding heart. It was a long winter, but you slept under stars last night as the teals whistled you to sleep.
The raft carried you downriver over clear water, whitefish, and otters. Past moose, spruce, and caribou. Above were sandhill cranes, trumpeter swans, goldeneyes, buffleheads, and canada geese. And somewhere ahead were the grayling you dreamed about all winter.
Then she brought you here:
And you brought her here:
What name do you give her? It has to mean something. It has to track as well as she does. It needs confidence. You’ve had a long winter to decide.
In the end, you christened her with a name as perfect as your first day fishing: