Happy Father's Day! So what made your dad your dad? My dad used to be a hunter and a general out-doors man. We grew up hearing about all kinds of hunting adventures he had. He was tri-state area champion in target shooting and there were always guns around our house, although usually locked up. I went skeet-shooting a few times with him and enjoyed shooting guns. My dad was also an excellent fisherman and my favorite memories are being out on the boat with him and my mom and sisters fighting the stripped bass. Those are fun fish because when they hit the bait they go deep and you really have to work at getting them on the boat. Anyway, L. L. Bean would ask him to take certain clients out on his boat to show them where the best fishing was on the Kennebec. Many of our summer vacations as young kids involved going to the Battenkill River in Vermont watching my dad catch trout with his Orvis fly rods. We would always have to visit that store, or at least drive by. I also learned to bird-watch from him and now that he can't get out as much, we chat about what interesting birds are around. Here's a poem of mine about all of this sort of thing:
I don’t know what to cast toward today
to catch whatever’s swimming
inside my tide-turning mind.
The diving terns and skimming seagulls
have no need for rod and reel.
The Battenkill River holding my
childhood in its swirls and eddies:
Little girl listening to lectures on
nymphs and pupa chasing spotted
salamanders and her father’s attention
in shallow ponds.
Listen: the mayflies are hatching even now
their curved backs like elegant commas
and my father hunched over in his blue
leather chair all alone in what was once his
fairy tale house of forty five years.
If I strain, could I hear the practiced
back and forth swish of my father’s fishing rod flying
in our backyard? Only the small incandescent insects
dance in this late afternoon light.