Vol. 12, No. 2,856W - The American Reporter - March 18, 2006


by Cindy Hasz
American Reporter Correspondent
San Diego, Calif.

SAN DIEGO -- Breakfast at the lake. Hot coffee and wind on the water. We came up early Sunday morning just to get out of time - town, I mean.

The same bikers that passed us three times were all there, all or 30 of them wolfing down eggs, etc. The place was full of men in leathers, scarves and implements of faux rebellion. But it was enough to make them feel like captains of their souls.

We speculated how many were divorced or single and how many simply left the women at home.

There were deer heads and pheasants mounted on the walls along with large-sized nutcrackers, lots of country kitsch and plastic flowers - a hunter-gatherer ambiance with a twist of O'Keefe.

Our waitress had a deeply lined face and bad teeth. I was no doubt haggard myself and took no little pleasure in that. My friend, haggard in a very manly sort of way, was clearly enjoying himself. We quietly watched the boats and talked about fishing.

He used to fish with his son and missed it. I fished with my ex and did not. The idea itself, like a good number of ideas, is appealing in the abstract but loses a great deal in the execution. The abstract is clearly more enjoyable not involving freezing, pre-dawn in old VW vans.

Besides, I don't see the point. The only thing I ever remember eating from those fishing expeditions was a nasty old carp that probably saved up all his antediluvian toxins for two unsuspecting fisher-people.

For the first time, I asked him about his ex-wife and ex-career. He told me he hadn't wanted to retire but felt forced to; not working had left, in his words, "a pretty big hole."

I treasured the gift he shared with me. We walked down by the lake after breakfast. The air was delicious. Vagrant crows bounced and cavorted in the turbulence above our heads. Two ducks dropped suddenly in from flying somewhere in tight formation on an urgent mission to the inexplicable.

We watched the men climb on their racing machines and zoom off down the road. They obviously still count; they have jobs. What will they do when they can no longer work? My friend is still vital and healthy and able to contribute to the community. Instead, he feels on the outside of his own life.

But there is great solace in the outdoors. There is great healing for the spirit of a man shrunken and shriveled by the reigning myths of time.

We adventured, wandering down unknown country roads. Ancient trees, hills, cabins became the deeply textured collage of a more unprocessed life.

As we rode home in complete silence, watching the wind move in great undulating rivers of grass along the valleys and up along the oak-crowded hills, I realized the deep emptiness in both of us had been strangely comforted and filled.

Copyright 2006 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.

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