Ever since there was at least a two-hour window between a clean diaper and the next unclean diaper, both of my boys have known of fishing. This summer, the youngest turned 7 years old and the oldest 10. So with a combined 17 years of angling experience, they are quite proficient with hook and bait.
It has been the summer to be cleansed. The rain has washed us, encouraged growth, swollen creeks, muddied paths and made rivers rage. As an angler and someone who gains spirit and purpose from my steps outdoors, the weather serves as a catalyst to how purpose and spirit evolve.
There are 176 miles from where I sit to the 41036 sea buoy, out in the lonesome, sometimes desolate and occasionally stoic, western Atlantic. On my phone, my thumb and index finger navigate me to the application that provides real-time information about this particular buoy. I check the wind — sometimes I frown, a few times I smile and I always wonder. I check the wave height — sometimes I doubt, a few times I anticipate but I always wonder.
The one-pound plastic bag of cold shrimp contained enough to occupy my two boys for 15 minutes. Really, they were not as interested in using the shrimp as bait as much as they were using the fish they caught as bait.
There really is no end of the day. This is how he sees life through blue eyes that are hidden behind dark sunglasses. He is old but not too old. He is young but old enough. He is alone but not lonely. He is healthy but not immune.
Pursey drives a dump truck, instead of a boat. He is from a small community that has no mayor or city council or stoplight or late-night menu or neon sign, and he is from where some call, way out there. He is a man’s man.
“There is a mystery in the search for who you are,” reads the hand carved message in the port corner of the bow inside the wooden boat.
Even though the climate of this place is harsh and relentless, though occasionally peaceful, the wood is not faded — it is familiar.
It is late in the day, the wind is still, the grass is green and there are seven lazy clouds in the sky. There are mosquitoes and flies that bite, bugs that crawl and frogs, too. He is a man of an age that is not important from a time that was very important, and there but a few things important to him now — family, his grandkids, reading by the light of the same lamp he read from as a boy. And of course, fishing is important, too.
It seems that even within the woven fabrics of an early morning, the sun always lurks.
I see artwork and stare. My eyes follow the lines, and I study the colors. My mind processes the shapes, curves, jagged edges, the shabby and the abstract.
They say we never forget our first. In this sea of life, there will be buoys of a first lost tooth, first hit in baseball, first vehicle, first kiss and the first time you camped beneath the stars.
It is not as much a walk as it is a shuffle, and this is how he moves down the bank. He is not as old as the trees around him, and he doesn’t hear the birds above him as he once did.
It used to be that camouflage was something worn to be hidden. The concept is simple enough, and ever since man learned of the need to hide to hunt, he has used the concept of blending in with colors.
If I could describe the witnessing of darkness becoming light, it would be a careful unwrapping of a surprise gift.