Lighter Side
June 15th, 1998
Excerpts from The River Home

by Jerry Dennis

I don't know why I need to fish so much. For the good of my soul? The question makes me skittish. I prefer to think of fishing as a restorative to some vital thing -- maybe soul, maybe heart, maybe vitality itself -- that dwindles when we spend too much time working, attending to family and fiscal emergencies, driving in traffic, and watching television. I don't know much about the soul, but I know that the twin benefits of fishing -- the combination of physical activity with cerebral engagement--serve to flush impurities from my system. When I haven't been out for a few days I suffer from a buildup of hideous poisons. My joints ache. My muscles cramp. My fingernails get brittle. If I sleep, I dream of forest fires and exploding trains. Tears stream my cheeks, leaving trails of toxic salts. I pace the floor and sigh until Gail kicks me out of the house, which is all I needed in the first place.

(From "Simplify, Simplify")

But today is cloudy! The sky glowers with dark clouds! At noon the mower is gased and poised in the garage, but I would not subject it to damaging moisture. Then it is raining, a slow steady shower that blackens the bark on the trees and bends the leaves of grass and suspends a silver drop from each, like a tear. The sky descends and the wind dies. The road sheens darkly, and suddenly the air above it is filled with mayfly spinners. Thousands of them rise and fall in a mating orgy. I bag a couple in my hat and note that they are bigger than brown drakes, smaller then Hexagenia. No doubt they are one of the lake species I know nothing about, they must have emerged last night from the bay and hidden all day in trees along shore. Now they've been tricked by the dark sky into flying and have mistaken the wet road for water. All their lives they prepared for this moment, only to spill their eggs uselessly on asphalt. The air is filled with futility. I'm witness to a lost generation.

But if mayflies are mating above the road, surely they are mating above the river. The day is young, and the lawn is too wet to mow. My rod, my vest, my waders.

See ya! ~Jerry Dennis

(From "Simplify, Simplify")

For more about The River Home check out this weeks Book Review.

Lighter Side, Part 1

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