Monday, September 10, 2007


"...perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake."
( Wallace Stevens Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction)

With apologies to Wallace Stevens, I believe he got it wrong. I believe the truth depends on walking around a lake with your dog.

The first fish that leapt, loud and large, leaving an ever growing ripple around the place it had been. The Mexican man and his son, their poles cast not far away. "Did you see the big one over there?" I asked, pointing at the edge of the narrow peninsula. Nervous, and in broken English, the father nodded, grinning wildly, his eyes telling me he hopes his young son catches it. "Yes, he is big."

"Yes he is," I told them.

The small white flowers that grow along the trail, winding their way in and out of the willows and Russian Olives, which will break my nose on their fragrance next June. Now that I know they are there, I can not wait. They will haunt me all winter.

The sad man ahead of us who never removed the cell phone from his ear, never listened to the fish slapping against the water, never stopped and looked at the opposite shore, so close yet strangely far away, like heat ripples on the road. Never stopped swatting at the bugs. He did not like the lake. He did not like Duncan. He has never read Wallace Stevens, who wrote in Sunday Morning, the most beautiful line of poetry I know:

And, in the isolation of the sky,
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
Ambiguous undulations as they sink
Downward into darkness, on extended wings.

There is nothing more honest than walking the lake with your dog.

It looks like we are both doing our business, but it's not true. I promise.

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