He looked at the sky and saw the white cumulus built like friendly piles of ice cream and high above were the thin feathers of the cirrus against the high September sky.
"Light brisa," he said. "Better weather for me than for you, fish."
I remember cloud watching when I was a kid. Finding polar bears and Darth Vader and Linda Blair from The Exorcist. (Yes, I was an odd child.) Everyone sees what they want to see in clouds. Santiago sees good weather for himself, bad weather for the fish. My son would probably see some Pokemon thing. Cloud watching is like a natural Rorschach test. If you're happy, you see hummingbirds and angels. If you're sad or anxious, you see Dracula and Donald Trump.
It was a long day of work. I got to my office a little before 8 a.m. and got home around 9 p.m. I'm going on vacation later this week, so I'm trying to get ahead with reports and programs and funding requests. It's the tedious but necessary part of my job at the library. I didn't have a whole lot of time for cloud watching, that's for sure.
The final thing I did this evening was host an event by an author. I wasn't sure how many people were going to show up. I told myself that, if I had an audience of ten, I would mark it down as a success. Over 30 individuals showed up. Basically, I sold out Madison Square Garden. (Of course, the program was about John Voelker and his book Anatomy of a Murder, so it had a built-in audience. Many people who attended were old family friends of Voelker and had stories of when Otto Preminger and Jimmy Stewart came to town to make the film adaptation.)
I didn't do any cloud watching on the way home tonight, either. I was too tired to engage in dreaming like that. In fact, I find myself devoid of any kind of creative energy. I loved listening to tonight's author speak of John Voelker's writing habits, which were influenced greatly by fishing seasons. If the fish were biting, Voelker was casting flies, not scribbling at his desk.
I suppose that fishing was a form of cloud watching for Voelker, prodding his imagination. As I write this post, I'm seeing John Voelker in the clouds of my mind. And Jimmy Stewart. George C. Scott. Duke Ellington. Lee Remick.
That's Saint Marty's blessing tonight.
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