Standing on a dock jutting out into the black of a North Carolina night serenaded by the two banjo frogs competing (in the way of frogs) for a little love, I watch a man and a boy fishing from the dock side by side, their soft voices a quiet counterpoint sliding past the steady raucousness of the frogs.
They stand side by side, leaning slightly in to each other, as if this posture, this way of looking out to the world, is the weave out of which they were made – a single cloth cut in half yearning back to its former glory of oneness.
They are stealthy in their quiet, in the way of all fishermen, laconically flicking their poles into the dark water before them, not hopeful, not despairing, merely there because there is where fish are to be found.
After a time, the younger one begins to chat – still fishing, but longing for an accompanying voice to the bigness of all this quiet.
What does it mean that you’re color blind, Dad?
Well . . . you know black and dark blue? I can’t really tell the difference.
Like a spider?
Like a camouflage spider?
You mean how he blends in and no one can see him?
Sort of like that, yes, it is.
The silence resumes, interrupted by the distant splashes of surfacing fish – just out of reach of the bait of bugs stolen from spider webs the man and boy have made, the fish move on unhooked, alive to the possibilities of another day.
The single light pole on the dock casts about for the pair as they move down the dock as they too head out of reach and the stillness of a summer night on a lake somewhere in North Carolina goes on.