"I knew, just as surely and clearly, that life is not a work of art,
and that the moment could not last.”
Five in stride we walked; four holding rods and one a pencil. Water and paper, our waiting canvases. An old jeep road singly filed us, divided by Western wallflowers and ordered by brome grass.
Rounding a bend in the road we came to the pond, and to a man and his son just packing up their rods. “Only a couple ‘a bumps,” the father said, “let’s see what you guys’ve got.” “Oh, I’ve got game,” Jay said walking determinedly past, like a baseball player up to bat, already swinging, already pulling out line. First cast….bump. Second cast….hooked-up! This painted him The Fisherman. John, Eve, and I spread out --assault style. Soon, more fish. We’ve got game too. And soon, the Two Bumps erased themselves from the picture….
…from this scene, where my world felt whole, centered upon this ground and comforted by uncounted time. I had been writing, drafting, and imagining this day for months now. I didn’t know how the story would be told or what the picture would look like. I didn’t know the ending. Yet I knew that whatever might be, there would be a story. I knew there would be a work of art. And, I knew it would be beautiful…..from the beginning sketch.
I sat down and ate an apple, grazing as I gazed at four people -- a family, a moment, a work of art.....
…….into which I was now painted.
Black leeches stripped through the water, getting cheap glances and brown bites. Periods of wind mensurated casts, and fish began to rise in the off-beats. John was having the most luck. “What are they bitin’ on?” Jay whispered, the water carrying the question like an invisible tin can with a string. The end of my line. “Dries! Your Clown Shoe!” the tin can and string answered back. And soon, four pink shoes could be seen floating, walking us into late afternoon.
Risers pocked the pond like raindrops and shadows silently began their stalk of evening….
…..as we rounded another bend in the road.
Jay looked at me, his eyes like mirrors of the waters he loves…."This, is one of those days, Erin....this is one of those days.” A third time echoed off a smile’s cornering lines as he looked across the pond. We must remember this, for this moment won't last. “We'll never have this day again….
...but, we will have better.”
While it’s true that life isn’t a work of art, every now and again there is a moment that is – transforming us into works of art -- beautiful lives covered with scrapes and dirt, and sunburns and ant bites. And those moments…..