Friday, August 14, 2009

Old Men and the Sea

Today is a rainy, cold day here in the Pacific Northwest. It's just the kind of day I love. The kind of day that makes me turn inward as much as it makes me turn indoors. I have a pot o' coffee standing by, a fire going in the woodstove, scenting the house with the luscious flavor of burning cedar. I've spent much of the day playing with my inks and stamps, and writing. For me, it doesn't get much better than that.

Last night I stood by and listened to a couple of old fishermen (Steve and his neighbor) swapping stories. Stories that were well peppered with sarcasm and epithets. Steve kept surreptitiously checking my face for reaction, and I guarantee he found a grin there every time he did so. Later, when we were alone, he asked, "What's with the grin?!" I explained that listening to the two of them took me back to some of my dad's old yarns and idioms. To say that my dad was irreverent is a vast understatement.

So, between last night and the texture of today, Dad's been heavy on my mind. I wonder who he would have become if he had been able to spend some time in my woods, ply his artistry the ways he really dreamed of, and fished whenever the mood struck.

And, oh... how I wish I could sit back and watch him smoke cigarettes with my man, the sleeves of his flannel-lined canvas jacket rolled up to the elbows (it's how I usually wear my jackets too... funny), swap stories, and listen to his fantastic laugh. He had a laugh that drew people in, a laugh like a deep, rich cup of coffee. How I wish I could sit on a rock and watch him cast a line into the river. How I wish I could watch the pinkie finger of his right hand splay out against the paper as he sketches my favorite tree. I can almost hear him as he hands over his mug for a refill, "Purdy little place you got here, Barboo."

And I would smile through tears... just as I am now.

Oh. How I miss him. I miss him, I miss him, I miss him...

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