Archive for April, 2008


Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , on April 27, 2008 by rodzink

 I baited their hooks…..  Belle watched attentively while I pierced the tiny cricket.  Softly, she apologized as she dropped them over the side of the boat into certain doom…. Death by Fish.  The same scenario was repeated over and over… until she became accustomed to the routine.  Baker didn’t mind touching the crickets, but insisted on casting artificial bait.  He sat silently on the bow… alone… casting… reeling….

The clouds were dark grey.. low…  bringing a stiff breeze across the river.  We sputtered and bounced across the choppy water, feeling the occasional spray from the front as the pontoons smacked the waves. Belle and Baker sat in the front.. legs propped along the railing, taking in the scenery… passing boats…  ducks…. A green airborne film settled on everything. The boat.  The water.  Dropping anchor in a shallow cove out of the main channel, the kids’ impatience took over. Fishing is a “patient” sport.  I remembered my childhood fishing experiences.  We walked.  Waded creeks…. crawled beneath barbed fences….  watched for the bull.  Climbed the ridge to finally reach the bank of the Tennessee River.  Mocassin Bend in full view.  The current was swift, but we always boasted of being able to swim across.  None of us ever attempted it. 


Today, I just wanted to watch my children fish.  Sit on the boat…  Watch them hug their cousin, Tyler.  Listen to them laugh.  Baker focused on the fishing.  He said very little while we fished, but frequently looked over his shoulder at me and grinned.  Methodically, he found a pattern….  a system…  a comfortable rythm. I wondered what was going through his mind… Or… if he were simply fishing.. focusing.  He is much like me when I was a young boy. Cautious… overthinking… content to be quiet.. loner.  Belle couldn’t sit still.  She often broke into a hip-hop move, which I’m certain impeded her fishing abilities.  I dodged hooks.

….. at some point…  piercing the crickets became commonplace.  No more apologies… no remorse.  I asked God to separate me from the crickets.  Not to allow my kids to become comfortable with our  ocassional separation… brief distances… nights when I cannot tuck them in…  touch their faces as they lie in bed.  Life is always changing… days come and go… pass us by.  We grow and become acclimated to our surroundings.. learn to weather the storms….  to stop fighting that which is unwanted… give up, perhaps.  I promise my children that I’ll never pass on an opportunity to be with them… hug them…. let them know that no one can ever come before them.. between us….

The grey clouds began to open and bright sunlight finally reached us. Pink cheeks and sleepy eyes signaled that they were tired. Within a couple of miles, they were both asleep.   Heads leaned against the backseat, swaying with each curve.  Woke them up for dinner with friends… watched them interact. Looking across the table… Clouds have begun to part.. sunlight is apparent…. for them… for me. 


Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , , , on April 20, 2008 by rodzink

Tender ferns unfurled from the dark earth.  Fragile…. Struggling..  The new green canopy of oaks, hickories, and sweetgum serve the ground below.  Protecting…..  responsible….

Baker stood at the edge of Shoal Creek and watched the water rush past him.  I could see his eagerness to cross, when he suddenly lept to a boulder in the middle of the creek, then slide off the moss into the water.  Cold, wet to his knees, he quickly climbed out and turned to see my reaction.  I laughed at him while Belle climbed on my shoulders and held tight as I forged the creek. He hid the frustration and the fact that he was now cold.  Climbing quickly, he scrambled up the boulders to an overhanging point, where he finally sat.  Water ran from his pants and his red toes revealed the fact that his Chacos weren’t providing any warmth. Belle sat close to me.  Hovering… leaning against me.  Reaching into her pocket, she held up a pocket knife and asked if she could carve on a stick. 

My children…  climbing boulders…forging creeks… knives…. Just yesterday, they were toddlers.  Both had been carried in a backpack on such outings.  Both had slowly graduated…outgrown… Today, we took a break from homework, school projects….. our last day together for the week.  We climbed the rocks to get away from everything….to hear each other talk… to watch each other play…. to feel each other’s warmth… to hold my children’s hands.. touch their faces… hold their little bodies in my arms….tell them that nothing in the world is more important to me. Without them, I have no purpose… am nothing…  serve no one. 

Biking on the River

Tender… unfurling from the spring earth…. fragile…. my gentle ferns…  “fiddleheads.”  They see a world around them that is less than perfect.  Attempting to remain in the shade of the responsible and protective canopy…. they recoil as they are touched by that which harms them.  I’ve seen it in their faces…. stared into their eyes… heard it in their prayers……  I sit by and watch them fall asleep at night..until they’re far from this world and their dreams take them to another.