Wednesday, December 1, 2010


It was another fishing dream.  My fishing partner and I, poles in hand, shoved off from the dock in our aluminum rowboat, she rowing out into the lake, I scouting for the Spot.  There's always a Spot where the fish will be and where you'll get a good number of bites, it's just a matter of knowing what a fish likes at certain times of the day.
Now, the matter of my fishing partner is a bit more confusing.  I don't know her, I've never met her, but she's extremely familiar and strikes in me the kind of love that comes after many years of friendship.  It's the kind of thing where you know just exactly how their wrists look or how someone always crosses their right leg over their left when they sit down.  It was how I knew the shape of her eyebrows, the slant of her nose, the quirk that might have been a smile upon her mouth but really signified that she was upset.  It was how I knew that if I were to ask her about it during our tour past the willows on the bank, searching for a Spot, that she would not tell me - only when we returned to the dock and the boat was anchored would we sit side-by-side at the edge, staring into the water, that she would unload her concern unto me.
I, unsettled by all this familiarity for the first time, Spotted poorly.  She trusted my judgement, however, and steered our little craft into a shallow cove that, if it were before sunrise, would be swarming with crappies and bass, but, being the middle of the day, we would have to cast out into deeper waters if we hoped to catch anything bigger than minnows.
We spent the early and fishless afternoon there, reeling in our lures during lunch, tossing them back out afterwards adorned with corn and live bait.  We waited in silence, absorbing the surrounding environment with all our senses, practicing the zen of fishing.  Not a word was passed between us since entering the boat, but there didn't need to be - our understanding of the other's need and want for silence was impeccable.
When the sun had passed it's zenith and was on it's way to the western horizon, we pulled in our lines once again, I hoisted the anchor, she took up the oars, and we made our way back around the lake to the cove whose entrance was draped over by trailing willow tendrils, where our dock lay.  The anchor was planted, ropes were tied, lunchbox, tacklebox, poles and bait-tubs were removed one by one and returned to their proper places in the cabin set back from the lake some way into the trees, and, just as I expected, a silhouetted figure waited for me at the end of the dock, laying on her stomach, trailing her fingers in the shallow water, her brown hair no longer ponytailed and hanging in a glossy curtain over her face.
I sat down next to her and her story began, words tumbling from her and undoing and coloring the silence between us.
She told a tale of two musicians whose music had been unimaginably beautiful together.  Eventually, they split, for reasons unknown, and one of them, Bill, had turned up in her home, allowed to stay by her parents.  No-one knew where the other was.  She, for some reason, thought that I could get these musicians back together if I tried, so I agreed to look into it.
That night, I went to visit Bill.  He was in a spare room in the basement of my fishing partner's cabin, lounging on his bed, strumming a mournful tune on a beautiful, character-saturated acoustic/electric guitar.  He had a British face, if you know what I mean, with thick eyebrows and long, sandy-blonde hair, stubble on his jawline, bad teeth, a crooked nose, overlarge ears and blue-gray eyes.  He was beautiful nonetheless.
I can't quite recall with transpired between us, but eventually we were on the road in a beat-up sky-blue Datsun, guitars in the backseat, him navigating to a hippie-camp somewhere in Colorado (where he guessed his bandmate might be) and me along for the ride, unsure of how I was facilitating anything at all.
After a few hours on the road, we arrived.  The place was an old parking garage, out in the middle of nowhere, tents taking up the parking spaces where cars would usually sit.  We found the bandmate almost immediately, sitting with a large circle of people who were singing along with his strumming.  Bill stood there with tears in his eyes, humming he tune and tapping a foot in 3/4 time.  The bandmate looked up (his name, I later learned, was Charlie), saw Bill standing there crying, and that was all it took.  The strumming and the singing stopped, the guitar was suddenly slung around his shoulder by it's strap and we were walking back to the Datsun, heading back to the cabin at the lakeside.
Bill and Charlie took up residence by the lake as well.  Now when my partner and I go out in our rowboat early in the day, we can expect to see another craft on the water as well, it's two passengers smiling in the silence.  And at night, when bonfires twinkle around the lake and my partner and I hold starlit conferences on the dock, the sound of their sweet music wafts on the wind and mingles with the midnight orchestra.

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