As we near the summer solstice, and I prepare to take a little break from blogging, my mind drifts back to turning twenty in Rome. I could barely afford a bottle of Asti Spumante, but when the cork flew out past open double shutters of some cheap pension and into the soft inky night of my very own Roman Holiday I felt free.
I met that year’s solstice, a few days later, on a beach in Corfu, walking further and further out onto the rocks to watch the big red ball meet the ancient sea.
I remember a Norwegian beauty showering on the beach; she was that unobtainable anima and I was myself an eternal child.
Now I’m married to my anima and the father of two eternal children… and yet one boy has graduated high school already, closer to twenty than am I in this fluxing eternal moment as Venus has double-crossed the sun and I find myself hoping for greater love in our time.
I fished as a boy with my mother and father, once, at a sad little pond that was the universe to me at that time. My mom caught a fish through the eye and none of us could see straight.
My dad went off in pontoon planes to wild Canada to catch big fish with big teeth and bring back stories of Indians and lightning, of danger that I heard about with the taste of pike delicious in my mouth.
I fished at summer camp, and once caught the back of my own head with a Red Devil. I caught sunfish under a dock beneath which I nearly drowned—glimpsing the bright sun through murky water and slatted boards, slimy algae against my desperate fingers. Perhaps Neil Armstrong was stepping onto the moon at the very same moment.
I fished in twenty-five foot waves off the coast of Jamaica, and prayed to fall into the sea for I was so seasick. I caught a rainbow-colored fish, but my brother had to reel it in. I blessed the dock, and sat on it and was very slow to get up as the rising and falling sea still pitched and heaved in my un-tethered mind.
I fished alone in eastern mountains as a young boy, and carried one home in a canvas bag and ate a trout with almonds cooked up in a fancy hotel dining room, and I felt like Nick Adams before I knew who Nick Adams was.
I fly fished in Wyoming and cooked whitefish in a cabin owned by a big Hollywood producer who I didn’t actually know. We won a week in that cabin, for a song, at the pre-school auction. I served those pan-fried fish pulled from a fast moving river up to Andy and my boys, to my parents and my brother and his family. There was a dog there who retrieved rocks.
I fished with my boys in Yellowstone and caught a small brookie, rainbow lovely, and we let her go again into the pools that gathered upon the rocks in days of tangled lines, adventure and laughter.
I fished with my boys in lakes from New York to California, and in streams and ponds—always wondering what might be lurking under the surface.
As a boy I watched The Andy Griffith Show almost always, after school, and in reruns, and was charmed by the walk down to the fishin’ hole just outside of Mayberry. Years later I would walk along this path, in a canyon in the midst of Los Angeles, and some years later would learn that it was the very path where Mayberry was made up, somewhere on the grounds of the witchy Hotel California from which I’ve stopped trying to check out.
When I was twenty-six I had some strange heart problems and I read Moby Dick in the I.C.U., and it seemed that there was something deep about fishing that I couldn’t really understand, but at least I understood that much and found myself released.
I’m twice as old as that now, and I have no intention to catch any fish, only to enjoy the sound of the river laughing and crying and marvel at its play of sunlight.
I started blogging three years ago. At the summer solstice of 2009 I committed to post every day for a year. At the summer solstice of 2010 I committed to weekly Wednesdays, and have done that for two years. It’s time for a holiday.
If you should find yourself in need of summer reading related to parenting, perhaps this is a perfect time to read a labor of love (click at right to visit the egress).
So, while I have no plans to actually fish in the coming weeks, I’m off on whatever adventures any eternal summer promises—and I hope that you will have many lovely moments yourself.
Until then… Namaste, All Good Wishes and, most of all, Love