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Fishing

I found the older man sitting at his usual spot at the end of the long, long pier.

“Gramma says dinner will be ready at 7 … and could you bring home some milk?”

He slowly shifted his pipe in his mouth. “Hello, Buzzard. I love you. Wait for a minute and walk with me.” He began to reel in his line from the sea. Slowly, without concern. The sea shone diamonds and rolled thickly.

“Did you catch anything?”

“No … not today.” As these words were spoken, the line cleared the water and … I saw that there was no hook. Just the tackle. He turned a bemused face to me.

“Grandpa … where’s the hook?”

“See … here’s the thing: I’m fishing. Not trying to catch fish, just fishing. Being very still and quiet and looking at the ocean. Letting my mind be patient with doing nothing. The pole gives me an excuse. As long as i’m holding it, people leave me alone. If i just sat here staring, they want to talk. Ask what i’m up to, am I okay?

People don’t like to see you just sitting still and letting your thoughts travel. It makes them uncomfortable. But we need it, sometimes. We need to get still and listen … to the sea, to our thoughts, to our hearts … to each other, even.

It’s holy and healthy to sometimes just … be.

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Fishing

Someone earlier asked my about my ‘happy place’, my ‘peaceful, thoughtful spot’.
I’m young … just starting to have questions about the world around me. My parents were still happy with each other. Grandpa Jack is still alive.

We’re sitting in his usual, favorite spot. Three quarters of the way down Scotch Bonnet Pier. It’s a hot summer day, but the breeze coming off the ocean is cool. I can feel the power of the sea, moving the pier and tugging gently on my fishing line.

Moving water. Distant sound of the surf.

I can smell the sea salt, the fresh fish we just caught, now chilling in ice.

I can tilt my face up and feel warm sunshine. I try to imagine how high the sky is …

Lately I’ve forced myself to be alone. A lot. I think about You. A lot.

The ocean is still there, the sky is still there. Everything else has faded into time. The horizon … is no closer.

There is peace in these memories. Hope.

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