My wife asked this evening, "What is your passion?"
A wife sort of question if there ever was one.
(Man's mental response: 'Passion?')
"Other than writing," she added.
Ouch. Ummm ...
(The man is now enthused, having finally discovered his passion).
"But, you can fish here, and you never fish."
"No, no, I mean fishing. You know, like--"
[like fly casting, in a mountain lake, with the sun just rising over the eastern hilltops. swimming down the slopes like cold silver and washing across the meadow and plucking up the flower tops and naming every one and trampling through the huckleberries and splashing through the shallow canals and kicking up frogs and salamanders and polywogs and then spilling out gold onto the rocky shore and turning the mirror of deep water to the sky and the sky to the water so that the puffy clouds skim along like boats both above and below, and all of it, everything, comes to lap against your pant-legs, tingle in your fingers, kiss your brow with mist from the tip of your pole and from the line and leader in their seeking arc ...
(you know, fishing, where you skirt the mucky brook by cutting through the woods and emerge again where the rocky shelf spills down from the shore to the shallows to the green of the deep water and you wade out waist deep, lake filling your pockets and your creel and floating your fly box and turning the speckled sides of the caught fish and the creel strap pulling on your shoulder and your forgotten pack of cigarettes wet and your cap bill pulled down against the face-front breeze blowing the mosquitoes back to the grassy verge where you have set a can of beer between two rocks to cool and you see the right spot, the spot you were seeking, where the sility shelf decends and the water turns and a riffle runs along the divide like a rapid snake and a large brook trout suddenly breaks the surface, a poem of three worlds, grace defined ...
(the aromatic smoke of my father's pipe. and mosquito repellent. and trout kept fresh between fronds of grass. and the scent of beer, and wind, and shallow water, and his unshaved whiskers. and the sharp scent of cedar sweating in the sun. and smoke from a campfire somewhere. and lilypads. and the motionless pond in the windless nook. and the minnows that dart just beyond our boot-toes. and the cheese and crackers my mother had sent. and my brother's red hair. his blue eyes. and the far shore from which we had come. and the sun just touching the very top of the tallest tree on the highest hill at the western-most edge of the earth.
(fishing. fly casting. and the long way home.
"Okay. Writing. Fishing. And what? What else? What is your passion?"
What else is there?