I went for walk tonight along the river that runs behind the school. The sun was setting
over the hills, making me think of a piece I wrote four years ago during my freshman year. At the time, I didn’t know anyone, so I would sit by the river often, writing and reading Aldo Leopold, Khrishnamurti, and Thoreau.
The silence and solitude of the path still moves me. I think the piece captures that well:
I take my notebook, slide up on a weathered log, and look. The sunlight rising and falling on the river resonates, and a fisherman inches into the water. Running his fingertips along the bill of a stained, weather-beaten baseball cap, he adjusts it. I watch him hold his line above the water with the natural, unconscious care of a mother, peering into the river.
He juggles the line, grips the pole, and catapults the lure out like a lasso, letting it sail skyward and plop in the stream. As it flashes in the sun, being tugged and buoyed by the current, the fisherman reels it in, gathering it up and casting again.
As the quaking aspens shiver in the cold wind and golden air, the sun continues to set. Hills guard the horizon, motionless blinds to the sun’s retreat. The clouds slow their silent shuffling. Nature stills. I cross my legs and wait, resting on the log.
Hearing the husky rhapsody of geese, I look up. A flock rolls over against the clouds and flies toward the silhouetted hills, over the fisherman’s head.
The sun sinks lower and lower, and I shiver like the aspens. The heat evaporates in a warm poem of lush reds and oranges. The tongues on the river cease to sway with the current; the glints against the water cease to blind. The geese’s calls become eclipsed by distance, and the squirrels nestle into their nooks for the night. Reeling in the bobber, the hook, and the spider-thread line, the fisherman holds the rod a bit and sighs.
Winking over the mountains, the sun vanishes, leaving the residue of its brilliance lingering like a faded photograph. Its fiery hues subside into shades of purple and of blue.
The fisherman comes to life and takes a final cast. He reels it in, wades out onto the rocky riverbank, and leaves without his catch. Closing my notebook in the sinking twilight, I leave with mine.