Rocking by the water

Jun. 24, 2013 @ 05:41 PM

Even though the climate of this place is harsh and relentless, though occasionally peaceful, the wood is not faded — it is familiar.
His feet know these 140 boards from the wood-framed stand where the leaking faucet drips. It is here that fish always have been cleaned.
There have been flounder, bluefish and spots by the thousands. Cobia, dolphin fish, wahoo, toadfish and pompano also have been cleaned here, providing sustenance, love and friendship.
He walks these planks, noticing notices the cleaning place, the drip of the water and he smells the remnants of the past. There was a time when he was carried as a child, and there were times that he toddled. Much to the chagrin of his parents, he walked faster, more unsteady and fearless.
This became a place to sit, stare, wonder, fish and also to rock. From these planks, he stepped into boats. When the tide is high, the marsh grass is sunken, the water is warm and the sun is hot, he has leapt from these planks to splash, play and for a moment or longer, find relief.
He has rocked here, as well.
A man named Curtis from Rocky Mount, who made rocking chairs on Sunday afternoons, made this chair for the man’s family. At the end of the dock where the planks are faded, the rocking chair waits.
He has spent the night here. He has written to a girl here. He has contributed to the rising tide here with tears. And with the disguise of fishing poles cast and hooks empty, he has appeared to fish.
From this rocking chair, he has watched the tip of a rod bend, twitch and stand painfully still. He has watched the sun rise over a rod tip and falling stars seemingly just out of reach of the tip of this rod.
While fishing, he might gently rock. The sounds of the chair and planks are rhythmic, and the quietness of bait cast and the whisper splash are familiar.
Rocking here is how he passes the time and how his body and mind have aged. He has seen line become taunt and line become slack. Yet he also has seen life become tight and life become slack.
He has thought of why the fish do not bite, and he has been thankful the fish have not bitten. It is when the breeze is just enough, the sun is bashful and the rise or fall of the tide does not concern him that he would rather rock than set a hook.
He finds peace, harmony and a place in this world from this rocking chair. Sometimes he just wants to rock and be left alone, becoming one with this place and realizing that catching a fish is not as important as remaining in this rhythm.
Rocking in this chair is something savored and also shared. There have been times in this rocking chair when the delicate hand of a girl has touched his, and he has baited hooks and removed fish and two straws have provided nourishment.
There have been times when a child has asked and asked, then giggled when a pinfish has nibbled every fiber from a shrimp before biting the hook.
There have been times in this rocking chair when a sit became a spell. There have been times when his knees have healed, when a nap has lasted longer than he recalls or times when he has been wide awake, absorbing and contributing to the ambience here.
Still, through the rain and the sun, this chair has remained. He has come here to fish. He has come here to wonder.
And sometimes he has come here to bait a hook, see the rod tip bounce and instead of lifting the rod to set a hook, he has chosen to lift his toes, lean back and rock by the water.
Enjoy your time outdoors.

You may contact Jason Hawkins at hawkinsoutdoors@msn.com.