Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Golden Hour

There is that perfect time of day to fish. Just when the golden rays of the sun hit the tops of the pine trees and the water bugs start skirting across the surface in the pond, is when the bass start hunting. Pond fishing has a peace and excitement all it’s own. Staring at an orange bobber against the bright blue reflection is natural meditative pop art. Listening for and hearing when the bullfrogs start their deep throaty chorus just has you feel as settled with the day as a piece of warm apple pie. And when that fish bits and the fight is on and the rod bends with the weight of a fresh water fish and you pull your prize into the boat, there ain’t nothing better or more fun.

The Golden Hour is when the work is done enough, when the beer, if you are drinking, is cooled just right, and the dinner is slow cooking up in the house while the Misses sits on the shore with a lemonade. The Golden Hour is the time for sitting and talking about nothing and everything. Sometimes, in the talking, you laugh at life so loud you think you might turn the boat…or at least scare the fish a mile away. But that’s what fishing at the Golden Hour is about. ..nothing and everything and being with your bud. Catching the Granddaddy of all time or at least catching a few good ones and getting a glimpse of the Granddaddy that makes people guffaw when you describe his girth. The fish stories from Golden Hour could feed a storyteller for a week even if the fish don't. It’s that time of day when, with every other cast, someone is getting a bite or reeling one in with a hoot and a holler that could rattle the cattle.

It’s prime scratching your head at the foolishness of the neighbors time, telling one on the school teacher down the road, or even on yourself, time. The Golden Hour is when silent promises are made in between grunts to acknowledge the listening. You just know...whatever your bud is saying, you get each other. And when you don’t you still agree to laugh and cast instead.

My bud was my son tonight. And instead of his Dad, as the voice of my writing implies, I am his Mom settin' in for his Dad, because sometimes a Mom gets to do the Dad things, because your boy is still a boy no matter whether you want to gut a fish or not. So I fished with my nine year old bud and we talked idly of the day’s doings and we caught enough fish to have leftovers for a cat if we had one. There was peace and pride in living. He knew when Golden Hour was over, when the trees were just graying and his pants were wet enough. As I gutted the fish by the waterfall to the “eeewws” and the “uuughs” of my three boys, and had him cut a tail off, he had a good enough dose of being a hunter to walk with men.

I realized that, sometimes what it means to be a good woman and a good Mom is to step in as a man. Not to be a better man, but to allow access for our boys to express their almost man-ness. Get dirty, get sweaty, gut a fish and get covered in slime and scales. Just like we expect the Dads now, to step in and do the dishes and pick up the tutu for the dance recital, it’s just as important for us women to “man up” and do the gross, dirty, heavy lifting things when our man is not available. You might even find it’s funner than a tea party.

I know it’s an hour my son and I will never forget. I am inspired by my son and my husband, who usually does all the fishing with him. It takes patience and fortitude to connect with nature and then kill something and prepare it for eating. It takes a hunter. I have had the privilege of hunting and gutting fish with my son.
As the bats dart through the darkening sky and we swat mosquito’s on our way into the house to fry up the fish my son caught, the smile on my hunter boy's face is worth all the gold in the world to me.

Zen Honeycutt

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