Passion play

Life and death on the Root River

The secret of life is that it is a passion play.”
—Holmes Rolston

At Preston, Minnesota, the South Branch of the Root River meets the highway. There I am greeted by the town’s “Welcome to Preston” sign, which the Prestonians have affixed to the base of an enormous statue of a brown trout—the Sign of the Fish, as it were. From Preston all the way to Whalan the river follows the road. I drive downstream from Preston toward Lanesboro, keeping one eye upon the river and the other upon my way. At Lanesboro I park in a blacktop lot beside the river and get out to stretch my legs and listen to the water.


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