I have a memory from when I was very small. I stood at the side of a small lake with patches of green Lilly pads. Surrounding the outer-edge of the pads were thin blankets of small leaves, which grouped together like tiny green sequins. The sky was slightly gray but the winds were very warm.
I stood between a clearing of tall, marsh-like grass. I was holding a fishing rod in my right hand while turning the fishing reel with my left. Flipping the bail on my fishing reel over and set to cast, I held the fishing line against the rod with my right hand, and with my left at the bottom of the rod, I swung the fishing rod forward.
A small golden spinning lure sailed midway across the pond and plunged in the water to break the silence. After the fishing lure sunk beneath the surface, I began to reel it back with hopes to gain the attention of a large-mouth bass, or maybe even a perch.
Standing behind me, arms folded, watching with approval as I tossed the line out and retrieved it back again, The Old Man guided me on better ways to cast my fishing rod. It didn’t matter that none of the fish in the pond would chase my fishing lure. It didn’t matter that I went home without a fish lending as much as a bite to tease me. All that mattered is that I was exposed to a natural beauty of the word, which was uninterrupted by clutter and the congestion of man.
I am not sure how old my father was at the time. I know The Old Man was somewhere around the 50-year mark. I was somewhere near the age my daughter is now, which is 12.
I wonder if I appeared similarly to The Old Man. I wonder if The Old Man saw me similarly to the way I see my daughter.
I wonder what he saw; I wonder what The Old Man recognized—or if he recognized anything at all. I assume he must have seen similarities in me and my young age as they compared to the Old Man in his young age.
When The Old Man looked at me; I wonder if understood or noticed behaviors of mine that were similar to his. And while he saw this; I wonder of The Old Man felt the same emotions I feel when I see my daughter. I wonder if he felt the same kind of love, which is beautiful, but also painful
She is still so very young now. My daughter is at the age that when asked a mathematical question, she figures the numbers by fingering the air as if to write on an invisible tablet or sheet of paper to come to the sum of her answer.
I took her fishing the other day. My little girl and I took a nice walk to the nearby pond. Aside from the birds whose wings allowed them to hover above the nearby mountain, there was nothing to disturb or blemish the clear blue openness of a warm, springtime sky.
My little girl stood next to me with a red fishing rod in hand. I watched her standing with the sun on her face. She is approaching the age of unsure awkwardness. She has yet to reach her teenage years, but she is in the world of school, and social status.
I relate to this.
Sometimes, my little girl seems unsure what to say to me as well. I can relate to this too. At her age, I was unsure what questions at ask The Old Man. I was unsure if he was happy with me or if the matters at hand made it so The Old Man could never be happy.
There were no fish for my little girl and me this weekend. We almost caught a few. We saw some of the fish swimming in the water. I almost reeled one but I lost it right before I was about to pull the fish from the water.
My little girl is so beautiful. And sometimes, I am overwhelmed by her beauty. This is not saying that she is commercially or socially beautiful. Beauty like this is subject to opinion. The beauty that I see, which is the same beauty that overwhelms me is the beauty of my creation. I am stunned by the fact that I created something so similar to myself.
She looks like me . . .
I am overwhelmed that I created something so perfectly imperfect. And it hurts sometimes. It hurts because I’ll never know if The Old Man sees me the same way I see my child. It hurts because there are still so many things I have to say to my father. I need more memories with him. I guess I’ll have to make new memories and include The Old Man in a different way.
Next week, I’m teaching my little girl how to cast. Maybe we’ll catch something next time. But even if we don’t catch anything—it doesn’t really matter. It just feels good to be outside beneath a clear blue sky without the clutter of life or the congestion of man.