15. The Sailor Washes up on Shore


When the neural pathways are shaken or shattered, it can go either way.

In the case of Howie Usher, he was laid up in a hospital for a better part of too long.  And then rehab in some place in Phoenix. This is where you learn to inch your arm into a sweatshirt and shuffle with a one legged walk.  You regain your manual dexterity by counting pennies.  And you kindle whatever is in you to fend off the darkness.

Which all is what Howie has done. He’s making it, for sure, whether he feels it or not.  He’s home.  He’s walking.  Last month his confederates took him down the placid part of the Colorado from the dam to Lee’s Ferry.  And inside, that thing that can only be described as Howie Usher, is supposedly alive, and wry and strong and well.

Which is all to say, heck to the naysayers.  Leave it to a higher power to judge whether a boat or a boatman is ever done and gone.

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