TFA: On Paradise
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On Paradise

"Speaking of evacuations, your missive, while complete in other regards, skirted the subject, though you did deal briefly with rural micturition procedure. I consider this a gross oversight on your part, as I'm certain you're well aware of my unending fascination with camp-out crapping. Please rush details in your next effort. Slit-trench, pith helmet, slingshot, biffy and if so number of holes and proximity of keester to vermin and deposits of prior users."

- From a Letter by a Friend

Sheep. Everything smelled of sheep on Paradise Creek, but there were no sheep in sight. I fished down from the ranger station where there was a huge monument to the Civilian Conservation Corps.

It was a twelve-foot high marble statue of a young man walking out on a cold morning to a crapper that had the classic half-moon cut above the door.

The 1930s will never come again, but his shoes were wet with dew. They'll stay that way in marble.

I went off into the marsh. There the creek was soft and spread out in the grass like a beer belly. The fishing was difficult. Summer ducks were jumping up into flight. They were big mallards with their Rainier Ale-like offspring.

I believe I saw a woodcock. He had a long bill like putting a fire hydrant into a pencil sharpener, then pasting it onto a bird and letting the bird fly away in front of me with this thing on its face for no other purpose than to amaze me.

I worked my way slowly out of the marsh until the creek again became a muscular thing, the strongest Paradise Creek in the world. I was then close enough to see the sheep.

There were hundreds of them.

Everything smelled of sheep. The dandelions were suddenly more sheep than flower, each petal reflecting wool and the sound of a bell ringing off the yellow. But the thing that smelled the most like sheep, was the very sun itself. When the sun went behind a cloud, the smell of the sheep decreased like standing on some old guy's hearing aid, and when the sun came back again, the smell of the sheep was loud, like a clap of thunder inside a cup of coffee.

That afternoon the sheep crossed the creek in front of my hook. They were so close that their shadows fell across my bait. I practically caught trout up their assholes.

Richard Brautigan
Trout Fishing in America