The river of his youth had been diverted and poured out broadly across the land to seep through dirt to the roots of crops instead of running in its bed. The river was no longer a river, and the desert was no longer a desert. Nothing was as it had been. He knew what had happened to the sagelands. He himself had helped burn them. Then men like his father had seized the river without a trace of evil in their hearts, sure of themselves but ignorant, and children of their time entirely, with no other bearings to rely on. Irrigators and fruit-tree growers, they believed the river to be theirs. His own life spanned that time and this, and so he believed in the old fast river as much as he believed in apple orchards, and yet he saw that the two were at odds, the river defeated that apples might grow as far as Royal Slope. It made no more sense to love the river and at the same time kill it growing apples than it made sense to love small birds on the wing and shoot them over pointing dogs. But he'd come into the world in another time, a time immune to these contradictions and in the end he couldn't shake old ways any more than he could shake his name.