When in our darkest hour, standing at the windowsill, looking towards the heavens, for an answer. When by the bubbling creek and debris, old cement slabs and rusted steel wrapped around a solid cement barrel, trees fallen some still sprouting green, broken glass and mouthy detergent bottles, everyone waiting in line.
I got to the bend first, after hearing the shout-out, a war yelp as he would always cry, no matter how small the find. Found him there, hunched over a log down in the creek diverting water and losing its bottom layer of thick criss-crossing park. What’s he see? What’s over there? His coon skin cap is on the bank, carefully set high and dry on a stone five feet from water’s edge: taking no chances! I wade over, creek is cold only early springtime now. “What? What is it?” He doesn’t look up, but flaps me over with the near hand. I push through the moving water, avoiding slippery stones, sliding my feet over them to solid sandy ground.
A group of minnows–little silver almost translucent wriggling darts, like what we see all over the place–are stopped up in a triangle made by a smoothed shale stone and the slanting fallen tree. Why don’t they reverse themselves? Do they want to be there? Hard to believe the current’s too strong. Just a regular creeky winding skip-along flow. Is this interesting? Is this worth noting? Worth sharing?
“They’re probably just afraid of you: you’re blocking their exit!”
“No: I found ‘em like that.”
“Clear out, so they can leave.”
“I’m not hurting ‘em”
Who cares? Why are down here wading in the creek? Why wear a coonskin hat when it is too warm to need any kind of hat at all? And his giant bowie knife with the serrated backside and the silver steel granulated handle, inside the black leather scabbord with the safety loop snapped shut over the top of the flashy crossguard and the square sharpening stone carefully snapped into the front pocket? Why?