He thought about how beautiful the river was with the sun coming overhead and shining on the water. It struck the light grey rocks on the side as well and the combination of the light on the rocks and on the water turned this part of the river into a dream-like sequence of slow-motion nature, with their figures and the dragonflies blending together into a moment of peace; the river symphonizing the scene with music fit for the coming of Christ.
These moments, whether they knew it or not, were why they came. It was not so much for the fish. They didn’t need to catch fish for food and, though catching fish was something you could tell your friends about, the honor of being a sportsman was far outweighed by this communion with God and with one another. Being men, big and small, these things were not easily put into words. But these moments came, and though they might not seem to be done justice with words, there was a quiet knowing that the communion had been achieved. Some might say that this going fishing was like attending church, but this could only be part of the story. In going to church we’re guaranteed to find the word of God, provided our priest, pastor or preacher is speaking it. In going fishing, we take the chance that God Might find us. And He almost invariably does and we return home to mothers and sisters who can see that we’ve been with him, whether we caught fish or not. Neither experience of God is better or worse, it just might be that the one to one, experienced beside a river is perhaps clearer. And perhaps that is because there are no words to interpret, just what is felt in one’s heart. Jesus gave us that.
“Above the rapids and the fast water there’s a waterfall with a nice deep pool. That’s probably where your brother is. Why don’t we head up that way?”
The kid had drifted off again, watching the little pool in front of him. In it were crawdads, freshwater clams, and snail-like things that retracted into their shells when poked at with a stick. The leaves at the bottom were dusted with mud and the kid wondered why they hadn’t dissolved. Along the shore there was poson ivy and “sticker bushes” and wild berry bushes. You had to be careful fishing here and the kid watched as his father cast his line time and again and avoided getting snagged.
“Not really catching anything down here?”
“Naw… I had a few bites but your brother has a better sense for these things and I’m sure he’s pulling’em in left and right.”
The father reeled in his line and started up the path. The boy fought with the sticker bushes to get the net free then turned and ran to catch his father. As they walked northward along the river thay began to hear the sound of the waterfall. While a waterfall might seem just an interruption the the level flowing of water, when one is close to it, there is there a sense of power. The river is that much more alive there and one is inclined to stand in front of it and watch as sheet upon sheet and molecule upon molecule flows over and down and spits and splashes. And all the spitting and splashing combines together into a roar that, from a distance, is as soothing as the sound of the waves in the sea.
The brother was pulling in a big one as they approached and the smaller brother ran to make the assist. He had what appeared to be a fifteen inch Brown and it was putting up a considerable fight. Big brother pulled away from the water and the kid ran in with the net forgetting and not caring about getting wet. He scooped the fish into net and turned in the direction of his brother, smiling wide-eyed and seeing the same expression on the face of his brother.
“Right on bro,” said the big brother.
“Look at that!” said the father.
“Got two more just like it in here,” said big brother, patting his creel.
“Yer like an indian,” said the little brother.
“He definitely has a sixth sense,” said the father.
The boy looked to his brother with admiration. He’d taken all that their father had taught him and reached great heights. He was an accomplished athlete, good in school and an ace fisherman. He thought about how he was not like his brother. He hadn’t begun to play sports and didn’t even know yet how to swim. He was pretty good in school and spent most most of his time riding bikes with his friends or just goofing off. He’d taken an interest in books and spent a lot of time alone reading. He didn’t feel he was quite the “All-American” that his brother was but he was becoming who he was and slowly but surely he was seeing that he didn’t have to be a great baseball player like his brother to be recognized as an accomplished person. He liked baseball and sports and would one day be a pretty good soccer player and even learn to swim, but for now, he was mostly a quiet observer and this, he would find later, would be one of his greatest strengths when it came to writing stories.
“You guys ready to eat?” his brother asked.
“I’m hungry, how about you dad?”
“I could eat, yeah… let’s climb to the top of the waterfall and eat there.”
There was a flat rock with water flowing underneath at the top and they set down all their gear. The father pulled the sandwiches from his knapsack and poured a cup of tea into the top of the thermos and then looked to big brother and asked if he had the other cups.
They ate heartily, like farmers who’d risen early and had already managed to plant the entire field.
“Did mom make the sandwiches?” asked big brother.
“Yes… yes she did,” replied the father.
“There’s something about ham and cheese made by mom,” said big brother.
“Your sister made the cookies,” said the father.
“What a feast,” said the little brother and they all laughed at how corny and, at the same time, how right on his statement was.
“The river is really amazing from up here,” said big brother.
“It is,” said the father.
“It’s already been quite a day,” said the brother, turning toward his little brother, “maybe sometime you could write one of your stories about this.”
The sun shined into his face as he spoke and in his hazel eyes the little brother saw a certain green light that he would never forget.