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Memory Swims

ful parabola from tree to tree. After a while I think I grew bored with fishing. I was only nine or ten at the time and, if there were any German brown in that lake, they were uninterested in what we had to offer. Still, characteristically, my father fished doggedly, contentedly on. I don’t remember what games I played that day to entertain myself, though war would certainly have figured among them. We were all children of war then, it being not long after the conclusion of World War II. Doubtless that beaver dam became in turn a mine-strewn beach, some famous gun emplacement, the crest of Mount Suribachi – indeed it may well have been my cries of victory that kept the fish away, skunking us so completely. Anyway, whatever game I played, after a while I remember noticing that our guide had stopped fishing. He wasn’t looking at me; he was looking at my father. Dad, in my memory, was drying out his fly, his line form-

he remains entirely silent. And it was then, I think, that a portion of the admiration I felt for my father was transferred to the man sitting beside him, the guide hunched forward over his steering wheel, looking down at the valley as if seeing it for the first time. We didn’t catch any trout that day, didn’t catch anything as I remember it. We were completely skunked, but, still, it was a fine day. We fished from the top of the dam, the lake spreading out dark and mysterious before us, the air full of the sound and smell of water moving fast, escaping here and there through the carefully constructed latticework beneath our feet. A family of red-headed woodpeckers must have lived among the drowned trees protruding from the lake’s surface, for I seem to remember the flash of a head, the blue-black of a body, as one of the adults moved in grace-

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Tidewater Times September 2011  

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September 2011 Tidewater Times