1/26/13 – Early afternoon, green armchair


An old man sits on the dock, fishing. He is lost in the enchanting mystery that is the sea.

When he was young, he would follow his father to the docks, watching him load crates on to the big ships from America.

What would it be like to be on the ship?

What would it be like to be the ship?

He had heard tales from the great fisherman that pass through, recounting epics full of glory and triumph.

That didn’t interest him.

He couldn’t help but wonder, what would it be like to be the fish? To reside in a vast expanse, free from anything to hold him down. Free to dart this way or that. Free to live anywhere and nowhere. Free to grow physically and mentally in any way he pleased.

“Sort of like a ginger root,” he thought.

Now, though, he is an old man, his rough exterior shaped from exposure to life.

And death.

His leather skin rough and course, impenetrable, dyed brown from the sun. He looked as if he had seen everything worth seeing. Heard everything worth hearing. That he knew the answer to your question.

But he didn’t.

Beneath his crusty, old, withering exterior lay a source of pure, inexhaustible wonder.

Any time he would look at the sea, it would bubble and churn inside of him.

He had lost count of the years too many years ago to count. All that he knew had either gone or had changed so much it was now unrecognizable.

Except one thing.

His oldest friend.

The sea.

She we would be there, she had been there, she is there. Gentle, supple, and calming, while holding unknowable power at her finger-tips.

An old fisherman will tell you that he knows the sea. That he can predict her, tell you what she will do. The old man laughed to himself whenever he heard this.

“Fools.”

They knew her exterior. They could guess at what she would do based on experience. But they didn’t know her.

Her limitless depths.

Not the warm, blue shoals nor the icy, black deep.

What is she like?

What would it be like to know her? To speak to her? Those were the questions that the old man, in his seemingly bottomless wisdom, could not answer.

He stands up, and pulls his rod out of the water.

The hook clatters on the wooden dock.

There was nothing on it.

The old man never put anything on it.

He never wanted to catch anything.

He just wanted an excuse to be close to her without the others calling him insane.

He closed his eyes. He stepped forward, arms outstretched, smiling. The deck got wet from the splash.

Tomorrow morning, they found a fishing rod on a dock, out by the ocean, with no bait on the hook.

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