Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Glass Night

A man sat in a worn out rowboat, on a small pond without a name. It was midsummer, and the wind was dying in the pine trees that surrounded the pond. He had inherited the pond and fishing rod from his father, along with all the old farmer's debt.

Somewhere in the distance he could hear the rumble of a large truck, hauling away his father's tractor. The tractor would hold off the bank for a month, maybe two, but that didn't matter to the man in the boat, not right now anyway. Even the pale line on his finger, where until very recently he wore a wedding ring, didn't matter. What mattered at this moment was the subtle movement of his hands, pulling gently on his rod's line. Twenty feet in front of him a fly he'd tied himself danced magically along the water's surface. It bobbed and hopped across the still surface of the water.

Nights like this are rare. To himself, below his conscious the man in the boat knows these nights as glass nights. They are nights when the wind dies, and the air is cool. The surface of the water is like a mirror reflecting the failing twilight. Insects rise from the water, and light from the setting sun reflects off of their wings. A subtle show of lights, small crystals flashing across the surface of the still water.

The man in the boat let his hands go still. He laid his rod down in the boat. These things the fish, the rod and the boat were the excuse he used to come here on this night. Nothing mattered but the stillness of the water. The trees let their whispers fall silent. It seemed as if the birds in the trees sensed the sanctity of the moment, and they stopped their common chatter.

To the man in the boat the momentary silence stretched joyously on for hours. He sat there in the boat in a state of earthly nirvana. He did not exist, all that existed was the still and quiet of the water. There were no troubles, no money or love, only the constant quiet of the still water.

In the distance a car's horn sounded, and the world started turning again. The wind picked up, the trees brushed their limbs against one another. Birds started a chorus, and the sun moved slowly towards the earth.

The man rowed to shore, back to money and love and movement. He rowed back to all of the things that make nights like this possible, these glass nights.

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