I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.
Being tired, but not so as to yet be inclined to turn out the light, I sought the mind-numbing refuge of the television. This is always a sure-fire mechanism, serving to remind me that indeed sleep is always preferable to the half-conscious, slow-burning stupor induced by staring at that which I find less than palatable for even the briefest amount of time. A good book is the best way to coaxe oneself to the precipice, but, being in between the last and the next, and not quite sure as to what would be the next, I grabbed the remote, got comfortable, and settled in to a channel-by-channel march through the morass.
"... I'm the slime oozing out of your tv set..."
Frank Zappa, Overnight Sensation
I didn't get far, but found, much to my delight, bobbing perilously in the sea of biliousness, hidden away on the city's community-access channel (of all places), substance. Real, unabashed get-down-to-it-say-it-like-it-is substance!
I had happened on an impassioned speech, a plea, really, delivered by a well-educated, eloquent, driven gentleman to a group of arts-conscious individuals gathered in Seattle. He was not only a motivator, but a sentinel, and visionary. His intense desire, compelling observations, and message were captivating. His audience embraced every word, and I could not help but be moved by his conviction... and then smiled to myself as I turned out the light, knowing full well, somehow, that no matter how much sanity may still exist in the minds of those willing to sacrifice everything, and how righteous their agenda, it was as inevitable as midnight...
For how long I had heard it, I do not know, but now I stood there, just listening. It was almost as though it had always been there, but I was hearing it for the first time, the oddest sound, somewhat muffled, yet quite distinct. There was a stillness about me, not even the rustling of the dry grasses, as though even the unseen animals and birds, usually busy in the underbrush, had frozen so that I might understand what it was.
Soft. A pulsing whoosh, barely audible...
My fly line line bows slowly. The current is steady, its imperfect roils barely visible in the shadow of the rocky outcropping of hills. The sound perplexes me. I cease my retrieve and turn my head, first this way, then that, listening...
I think out loud sometimes. I know this is occurring when I hear my own voice. It is as though suddenly I've been granted audience to a dialogue inside my head and I become a third person, commenting on, or responding to that which I have just overheard.
It is just this that is occurring when a sharp tug jerks me back into the present. My thought hangs, breathless. I raise my rod and feel resistance for a split second before it is gone.
As I stand there, realizing what has happened, the sound that has eluded definition is there still, but with a quicker cadence. Louder. I realize I have been holding my breath, and exhale sharply as if coming to the surface after a lengthy submersion. I breathe. The cadence decreases, and fades slightly, as if stepping back.
I swallow hard, as if altitude is the key, and pressure is the answer... a snake slides silently across the water downstream, disappearing into the rushes filled with new growth. I cast further this time, a long diagonal that lands my fly inches short of the spot I last saw the snake...