We were fishing. I wasn’t aware of the fishermen on the far shore to my left, nor of the train tracks 20 stone throws behind us. I was tuned to feeling what I could feel beneath the surface of the choppy water. First you learn what the current feels like, and how the wind tosses your rod and line. And then you learn to tell the difference between seaweed and a trout bumping the bait on your line. And then you learn to wait while you feel a fish nibbling the worm on your hook, 3 feet beneath the surface. Wait, wait…be ready. When you feel the tug, you try to hook the fish. In mid-hook, I noticed a flash in the sky directly above my hook: a hawk in a furious nosedive!
Did I try to reel in? Did I try to hook my fish? I dunno. I was stunned. S t u n n e d. The dive, the splash, the silence. The momentary pulse of time. And then- the hawk resurfaced, wings power stroking up and away from me. With my fish caught between his claws. One split second between us. My fishing buddy came over to me afterwards: You know if you had caught that fish, you know, right?, that you would have lost your pole. The notion of which filled my lungs with the sort of breath I haven’t inhaled in years.
Afterwards we came across an old park with outbuildings built from river rock. Whatever purpose they once served they are no longer serving now. But still. But still, the notion of what might have once happened inside the river-rocked cottage stays with me, just like what almost happened with that hawk.