Everyone has his own favorite spot on Lewis Creek, I guess. Some of us favor the swimming hole below Miller’s old place, with its rope swing and the kids who frolic there on hot summer days. For Doc and Dud, it’s the big race below the rocks where the huge lunker trout lives. All our efforts to catch him have so far gone unrewarded, and he keeps getting bigger each year. But for me, there’s a little cove downstream from there, shaded by huge cottonwoods and flanked in by car-sized rocks the color of wet cement. I found it during a previous lifetime, I imagine. At least I can’t remember the first time I discovered this place. It is walled off from the world by the rocks, protected from the sun by the cottonwoods. There is a blackened part of one overhanging rock where I’ve built a good many small cooking and “friendly” fires over the decades. I’ve fished from there, swum from there, and … back when the fires of spring were still crackling, shared this special spot with a girl or two. But mostly it has been a private place. Everyone needs one. It’s been a place to come, alone, for special times. When my dog died, back when I was just a youngster, it was a place to shed private tears and remember the times the two of us had there. When the scholarship came, it was a place to come and sit by the small fire at night, a place where the noise of the water flowing by would drown out about 82 percent of my shouts of exaltation. Years later, when my grandson’s cancer went into remission, it became a very private personal church for giving thanks. Today, it’s a part of my very being … the home place … what Spanish-speakers would call the querencia … the place of the heart. If someday my ashes could come to rest here, I wouldn’t complain at all, but just smile at the sound of the creek chuckling by.
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