Duke will make history Saturday (12:30 p.m., WRAL TV) when it hosts Pittsburgh as a fellow Atlantic Coast Conference member for the first time. It’s not the first time the teams have made history in what is now Wallace Wade Stadium.
We had walked through the knee-high grass toward the stretching moon with darkness chasing us. Instead of leading this subtle charge up the hill, which rises from west to east, I was following. In front of me and below me was a properly fearless 7-year old whose hands I know well. His eyes are stoic and absorbing, and his lips are pursed just so.
One of these days, I’m going to follow the rainwater that falls on the hill and crawls to the stream below. I will follow this water through the tall grass and puddles of mud. The stream will become wider, I suppose, and tickle its way into a river. I’ll marvel at the scenery nearby. There will be birds in trees and game upon the banks.
It is about time. It is about wanting more time, not wasting any time and wondering how time goes by. Again, another passage of summer has occurred. Oh, what of these 13 years of writing of the passage of summer. And what of these years living the passages of summer from childhood to adulthood.
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.
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.
“Epic.” It is the word the sweaty, lip-stained, shirt-stained, knee-skinned, dirty-fingered, blue-eyed, shoelaces untied, six-year-old youngest son of mine choose to describe how we spent the day on the water.
It seems that even within the woven fabrics of an early morning, the sun always lurks.
North Carolina’s first ACC Baseball Tournament championship since 2007 certainly is one for the books.
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.