Tuesday, July 3, 2012
I wait for the full moon to get high overhead and light up the pond like a Wal-Mart parking lot.
It doesn’t cooperate.
Midnight. One-o’clock. Two. I wait. But it plays it cagey, hugs the tree line, spotlighting occasionally through gaps between the massive oaks, poplars, and hickories that ring this watery basin. Mostly, it lies low, completely hidden behind the dense summer canopy, poorly lighting my way only obliquely, reflecting off the thin clouds that drift dreamily across this deep hole in the forest. I might have known that it wouldn’t rise to a zenith, but, in my defense, it’s not every night I’m up at three to see, let alone observe it from a wet float tube seat, mid-pond.
John Gierach recently wrote, “The line between having a little adventure and making a mistake can be a thin one." But heat often makes fishermen do odd things and a string of triple-digit days can blur that adventure/mistake distinction like the shimmer of summer heat obscures the horizon of oncoming asphalt. Floating my local bass pond is nothing new. Doing it on the skinny side of midnight, perhaps a little adventurous. Doing it alone…
The quote teases from the back of my brain for a bit but then recedes, taking with it all thoughts of things existing beyond the meager reach of my aging night vision. I methodically kick my way around the dark edge of the eight-acre pond. Casting visibility approaches nil, so I strip thirty feet of fly line and attempt to maintain a similar buffer from the shore. I don’t always see where it lands, but if I keep my distances right, it’s in the zone. I’m moderately successful, having only to retrieve my popper from shoreline entanglements a handful of times. A few bass notice.
The silence is deafening - silence, that is, when silence is defined as the absence of the ragged din of man. Peepers of every pitch voice their joy, bullfrogs glug happily, and barred owls query insistently, demanding to know who has trespassed into their dark realm. No light is visible beyond that provided by the finicky moon, except for the occasional flash of fireflies at water’s edge – fanciful lighting that does little for the eyes but illuminates the soul magnificently.
The human world huddles inside, sleeps, awaiting the daylight to emerge again. My fellow man lies deep in the trough of his daily cycle. I am disconnected, alone, out of phase. Out of phase, that is, with man, but in perfect harmony with this place, in locked-step-synch with this lunar cycle, riding the peaked sine wave of this time.
It’s three in the morning and I am alive.
I am in phase.