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Pilgrimage

In honor of my father who taught me faith and flyfishing.

Wending our way through supplicant evergreens,
softly brushing meditating wood sorrel and sword ferns,
we aim our pilgrim trek by eye and ear
toward lichen'd cottonwood and alder buttresses
guarding gurgling Wildcat Creek.

Like an otherwordly summons to worship,
the ethereal, lilting call of a wood thrush
echoes in Gregorian cadence through the vaulted canopy.
Honeysuckle incense wafts by in silent reverence
as we emerge from shadows to enter the sparkling sanctuary.

Glints of liquid light flit on our faces and fly rods;
moist moss carpets give ground to ancient cobblestones
on whose hunched backs we lightly dance
until, at last, hushed, we genuflect beside the cloistered pool
where lies submerged our silver-sided holy grail.

Rev. Jeff Stoopes
Member of Missouri River Flyfishers
Great Falls, Montana