Tuesday, December 27, 2005

fishing alone

I am in court first thing this morning. A foggy day, a wet kind of day. On the bench, my favorite judge. Memories of past trials before her, remembering her compassion, her wisdom.

We’re wrapping things up now, we gather our papers. The opposing counsel comes up, we shake hands. As she turns to leave, she tosses this over her shoulder: you are a great writer – she tells me. I am putting on my coat. I stop. Writer? My last published law review piece was on the impact of the court system on indigent mothers who neglect their children. Surely she is not referring to that. I can barely remember what I wrote there. I have so little patience for most law review articles.

And your photos – outstanding! – she continues. Oh! Ocean! You are referring to my blog! The judge looks up. Blog? Tell me, how can I find it?

Suddenly I remember that my last blog post was about a sheep shed. My favorite judge is about to read a post about sheep shed. And ├ęclairs. And French chefs with cute derriers. My mind races over recent posts. I remember, with relief, editing out an expletive at the last minute. “Hell” is tame. The previously inserted word was not.

We walk out the court building, my ex and I. We talk about the attorneys, about their reading of Ocean. He drops me off at the lake. I want to walk among the fishermen who are out there in great numbers.

Are you cold? I ask one. No, not at all. We have enclosures.

They sit and wait. Mostly, they sit with their own thoughts.

Christmas 05 181
fishing, alone

A few days ago, one fell through the ice. Within minutes they pulled him out. He went out too far.
Oh, so there are others, always there are others.

How many do you catch?
On a good day, 200.
You eat them all?
The limit is 25, we can only keep 25. The fishing is good here, I travel all the way from Fort Atkinson just to fish here.

A long drive to sit alone.

A big grin covers his face. It’s worth it. But then, ice fishermen are an interesting lot. Sit with me and you can watch.

I’m not dressed for it so I walk back to the loft. But I have been drawn to the sight of these people every day now, for weeks. I’ll look for you next time -- I tell him. He sets up his post and throws down a line and waits.

Christmas 05 185
pulling your own lot