The inverse ritual of passing through what is lewd to get to what is innocent, through inverse to get to verse. —Telex From Cuba.
In the days we are gone, disconnected from internet and cell reception, news articles hit the press regarding the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Later when I return home, my daughter and I will discuss DSM-5, a tool she uses as a Life Skills teacher. Links from friends to their favorite article. Some will say biology apparently never read the book, others will say the spiritual realm shows up missing. Some take comfort in definitions, others argue diagnoses and treatment remain undetermined.
in·verse (n-vûrs, nvûrs), adj. In mathematics, an inverse function is a function that undoes another function.
When we fish, we explore back roads, stopping often. Maybe he wants to fly fish a small stream, maybe I want to climb a broken bridge to collect a brick under the last cross beam. In this way, we find ourselves on a narrow road squeezing through a rock canyon just like you’d see in the old-time western movies. We imagine the first settlers laying claim to this land, standing on an outcropping, declaring From now on, all of this is mine.
Around the western bend comes a goat cart, handmade. Two gypsies and twelve goats, four black Scottie dogs and an old sheep wearing a copper bell. They are surprised to see us. We think we are more surprised. We’ve rounded a bend back into the 1860’s. The forest pushes in as we negotiate the narrow space between grazing goats, tender willows and the kids baa-ing against our legs.
Let’s not forget this, we say.
The bald eagle, circling overhead. Heron flying low across our path. Later, the pelican, white, landing next to our cast lines. Four Sandhill Cranes walking the freshly furrowed fields; two hawks, both on fence posts; the flock of sea gulls backing down a teenaged eagle over scraps left behind by a hasty fisherman.
Eagle, heron, pelican, hawk.
Our cabin, a hunter’s shanty from the 1940’s, comes with a bucket and a wall calendar. A propane stove and an icebox from the 1950s. Running water is a faucet on the north side of a nearby service shed.
Crane, crane, sea gull flock.
What it takes to fall asleep. A window, open. The low of a distant herd of cattle. He fashions a pillow from his backpack and begins a new litany, this time explaining how Freon® works, the logistics of iceboxes before modern-day refrigeration. From the upper bunk, his voice drifts down to me. I fall asleep while he is explaining Freon’s flash point means it will not burn. Last time we shared a fishing trip, he told me as a young boy he calmed himself by spelling words out loud. I told him I worked numbers in my head.
Twelve goats and four Scotties. One sheep and a bell.