Dec 25 2009

the fisherman

The man stands in the empty lot,
practicing his casting.
He looks like the dictionary
definition of fisherman—
old trucker’s cap, heavy
flannel shirt, muddy jeans
work boots, though, not waders,
planted on the earth.

His fly fishing pole gleams,
it’s the shiniest thing about him.
His arm draws back, his wrist snaps
forward, his shoulders roll and his torso
twists fluid and smooth, over and over,
like dancing with your feet braced.

The line arches out, floats over the dirt
comes gently down and pulls
back a breadth before it can land;
the pole bends, whips, draws infinity
symbols in the air above his head.

Behind his back, traffic mutters
ignored and ignoring.

In front of his feet, the dead
winter grass doesn’t stir.

Before his eyes, river water
rushes, sun bright on its racing,
tumbling surface and fish hide
unseen in the calmer eddies
behind the rocks.

Dec 5 2009

trapped in airports

Okay, this doesn’t really qualify as a “room full of books.”  It’s more of a “what books are in the room?” post. But I just spent approximately 24 of the last 48 hours on airplanes and in airports (note to self, Vegas is too far away to be a “day trip”). Naturally, I found myself peering at all the books people were reading. With somewhat surprising results:

Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen.   Really, since this was the very first book I noticed someone reading, I thought it was a good omen.

Killer Angels by Jeff Shaara

Santa Fe Rules by Stuart Woods

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.   I have a private theory that in any given group of people reading books, one of them will be reading this one.

Three Cups of Tea

Olive Kitteredge

Great Expectations (Penguin Classics edition) Which begs the question, why, o why would anyone want to read a Dickens novel sitting in a center seat near the engines on a four hour flight that was over-booked?

Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes. That would be me. The guy two rows up may have been trying to escape the crowded conditions by reading Dickens. But I, on the other hand, was reading about Joseph Banks in Tahiti. He was having a really good time.

I didn’t see a single Kindle or other eReader, and I was looking. Even the folks with iPhones seemed to be mostly playing games and watching videos. I’m not sure what it means that the books I saw people reading on a plane trip to Vegas included Dickens and Tim O’Brien, but I found it oddly comforting.