Our feet danced in an inch of water, and the wooden benches beneath us were worn from use and age. Anchored in the middle of the lake, my grandpa and I sat in the rowboat that had first belonged to my great-grandfather prior to his death. The boat’s blue paint was chipped and its hull seeped with water. The night was breezy, causing the water to ripple against the sides of the boat. With each deepening shade of the purple sky, our faces became more distorted and twisted in the fading light. My grandpa’s white hair clouded and my dark hair blended into the grey sky. We sat in silence, the water lapping against the sides of the boat.
The fish were not biting, and my rod would not cast. Every time I flung my line high above my head, it would catch in the soft breeze, dropping it into the water only a few feet in front of me. And so, I watched.
With a flick of his wrist, my grandpa cast his rod high into the air. The whoosh, whoosh, whoosh of his line entranced me as his fly plunked into the water. After a minute with no movement on his line, his wrist would flick up and the monotonous click of the reel would escape once again into the night air. With each cast, the fly at the end of his line shot a streak of neon color into the darkening night.
As I sat watching my grandpa rhythmically cast and recast his line, I began to wonder what drew my great-grandfather to purchase this lakeside land. At first, I was not sure, but as I sat listening to the rippling of the water and saw the darkening sky reflect off of the lake, its serenity struck me. Beneath the crumbling hull and chipping paint of the boat, I imagined my mom, her siblings, my grandma, and my great-grandma all sitting in the same rowboat I was sitting in now. It was this simplistic beauty that drew my great-grandfather here, and it is what calls everyone back year after year.
With a flick of his wrist, my grandpa cast his rod high into the air. The whoosh, whoosh, whoosh of his line brought me back as his fly plunked into the water. I looked at the time-warped rowboat and the placid lake around me. I looked deep into my grandfather’s face and found my own. In the deception of the night, the rowboat looked new and youthful, but I could feel its scrapes. In the crevices of the wood, I could feel hundreds of memories and in those memories, I felt love. As my grandpa and I sat side by side, I took in the beauty of the silence and the moment.