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BTW: The photo art and prose included in any given post are separate creations having nothing to do with each other. Duality and such …
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Arc Of The Sting
He could look at the arc of the fishing line a couple ways.
The first way was that if he did it right his dad wouldn’t yell at him or slap him. Cursing would happen anyway because that’s what his dad did, but if he cast the line correctly, if the lure, sinker and float splashed perfectly into the water just right over there, near the half-submerged stump on the mossy bank of their little pond back in the timber, if it went down straight, then the big catfish known to lurk there in the depths might rise up, and might strike, and might finally be caught, and then, oh, his daddy would be so happy! He’d still be pissed he hadn’t caught it himself, but happy his dumb ass son finally did something right. Oh, that would feel so good! Oh, for his daddy to praise him, just once! They could carry it back to their tiny house with the leaky roof and the siding falling off, and mama would smile weakly, the big dark circles under her eyes brightening just a bit, and she would clean it and throw the guts out back for the scraggly scavengers and fry it up with some onions while his little brothers looked on and everybody would get a taste. Dad would get half of it, but he’d let everybody have a bite. And so he did it just like his dad showed him. He shifted his weight to his front foot as he flicked the light rod forward, stopping the rod at a perfect 45 degrees at a speed that would launch the lure, fishing line clicking smoothly off the casting reel until he stopped it at the perfect moment, and it would arc accurately to that spot where the catfish may rise. His dad said, “That big bastard is right there, god damn it!” as a cigarette hung between his lips and his can of beer hung between his fingers. “Not so hard, damn it!” he barked. “You lose another lure, I swear to god I’ll slap you even harder this time!” So he would tell his dad, “Yes, daddy, I’ll do my very best,” and his dad would say, “Shit, kid, try to do better than that.” So, he would try. Every time, he would try. That was the first way to look at it.
The second way to look at it was to fuck his dad, which he could do, now, in retrospect, and in that case the arc of the line was not about his dad not hitting him, it was about the art, the beauty, the grace of the perfect cast. The harmony of ball-bearings in the spinning wheel clicking as the line pulled free, with the melody of singing birds and the light wind moving through the tall oaks that shaded the pond. Sunlight waltzing with tree branches and green leaves as it sparkled on the water. A gentle splash as the lure landed, concentric circles drifting from it across the pond. Then the slow reel-in, the ball-bearings clicking with more leisure, as he brought the lure back, lifted it from the greenish water, then reset himself, braced and cocked his arm and angled the rod and let fly once more, an artist perfecting his brush strokes, a morning painting a masterpiece. That way, the second way, was how he chose to look at it. But the first way never quite stopped stinging his cheek.
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.