The driver’s window is gone. Inside the cab: a once perfectly good sleeping bag, half unrolled. Look away. If this is where someone sleeps, I should have thought to knock before I started taking photos.
Between the Irish oatmeal and bags of rolled oats in the Good Earth Market, a fresh sheet of notebook paper. Before I could think to look away, I read someone’s misplaced grocery list. Forgive me, but now I am curious: who among us is shopping for trayed corn.
We have a map drawn by the friend of a friend. Fisherman to fisherman tales: the best place nearby to catch catfish. Nighttime fishing requires getting there by dusk. And before dusk, we find the Gritty Stone, a back channel on the Yellowstone. We rig our poles, hold our noses as we set smelly, bloody bait on double hooks. Downstream from our spot, a family with two
boys teenagers has a picnic going on. The boys are swimming in the warm water. Mitchell wants to punch Patrick one more time.
But, Mitch, you already hit me once!
But Patrick, that’s because you told Trevor I screwed Tanya!
Ha, we smile to each other. Now, even the whooping crane standing in the quiet water fishing for the evening’s meal has heard the news. Same with the beaver surfacing upstream from where we plan to cast. And the lambs baa-ing in the pasture south of us. If we can hear the baa’s, the lambs can hear Mitch and Patrick. And so can Mom and Dad.
We get busy and make a little noise; set up chairs, strap our headlamps on, dig mittens from under the front seat. It’s going to be a cold night sitting along the river bank, waiting for catfish to bite.
Car doors slam at the Mitchell and Patrick camp. Incredibly, silence immediately sets in. To our left the half moon is rising, and the full sun is minutes from setting. The whooping crane wings slow, strong beats across the water. Behind us we hear the quiet motor of a mini-van approach, tires on dusty gravel. The van comes to a stop, a window rolls down; a mother’s voice clears and calls out to us: Sorry about all that.