Friday, July 8, 2016

July 8: Monstrous Carp, Storm Coming, Things Broken

It scatters and gathers; it comes and goes.  I might see a monstrous carp heave out of the water and disappear in a smack of foam.  I might see a trout emerge in a riffle under my dangling hand, or I might see only a flash of back parts fleeing.  It is the same all summer long, all year long, no matter what I seek.  Lately I have given myself over almost entirely to stalking muskrats--eye food.  I found out the hard way that waiting is better than pursuing; now I usually sit on a narrow pedestrian bridge at a spot where the creek is shallow and wide.  I sit alone and alert, but stilled in a special way, waiting and watching for a change in the water, for the tremulous ripples rising in intensity that signal the appearance of a living muskrat from the underwater entrance to its den.  Muskrats are cautious.  Many, many evenings I wait without seeing one.  But sometimes it turns out that the focus of my waiting is misdirected, as if Buddha had been expecting the fall of an apple.  For when the muskrats don't show, something else does.

It's all about patience for Dillard.  Sitting on a bridge, waiting for something miraculous or surprising to appear.  She goes out looking for fish or muskrats.  Sometimes, she's rewarded with a leaping carp or emerging muskrat.  The altar of Tinker Creek offers up little sacrifices of scaly or hairy wonder, and Dillard knows that God is at work.  As she says, something always shows up.

I think that I'm a patient guy, can wait with the best of them.  Of course, I'm also a planner, like Dillard.  She sets out to see a muskrat.  That's her goal.  She plans it out, stations herself by where she knows a muskrat den exists.  She hedges her bets.  However, she also knows that nothing is certain.  Just because she is in muskrat country does not mean Mr. Muskrat will appear.  But her patience will pay off.

There is a storm brewing outside right now.  Rain has been flirting all day long with my little corner of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  The tamarack outside is flickering with wind, and the sky has turned into steel.  I'm waiting for this weather party to get started.  Keep glancing out the window for fat drops of water or laces of lightning.  Nothing yet.

On my way home from the office tonight, I stopped by to see my wife, who's working tonight.  She looked at me and said, "I'm about to tell you something that may upset you.  Take a deep breath."  I took a deep breath.  "Are you ready?" she said.  "Okay," I said, expecting almost anything, from an unexpected pregnancy to a house fire.  However, it wasn't anything that catastrophic.

Turns out that my son dropped my iPad this morning.  The screen splintered like winter ice.

Now, I'm not going to lie.  I got a little angry.  I always do when things get broken.  But there was a part of me that was also relieved.  I had been expecting a big, fat, hairy muskrat, and instead I got a little field mouse.  (Both things gross me out, but one is a little less terrifying than the other.)

Saint Marty now has an iPad to repair to the tune of around $75.  This Buddha wasn't expecting the Apple to fall today.

I'm a little disenchanted myself tonight

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