I sit on the driver’s seat, sideways with the door open. My shorts are still wet, and tiny rivulets of briny water try to make it to my ankles before they dry too much to flow. My fly rod lays across the hood, and water drips from the reel.
Flow. Is there a flow? I can’t see it. Indian River; river means flow. But the water is mirror calm, except for shoreline bubbles where shrimp must be pulsing by, trying to calm down between scurries away from monstrous redfish.
It feels all odd and right at the same time. Acura Integra 5-speed. Not the car to shove its way a half mile back into the bush on a half-lane sandpack track. Turn off the blacktop 600 yards past the worn weather shack. Look carefully; you can’t see it until you’re right on it. Don’t get caught wondering why NASA can’t get a more modern looking weather shack. You’ll get all dreamy and miss the turn.
Dreamy. Looking back toward the mainland, with the water beginning to glare, is dreamy. Less than a mile away is civilization — not just civilization, but maybe its most advanced and prideful sword stab into the ether. A rocket on the pad, or maybe on that special tractor, inching its way along the service road from the massive VAB, the vehicle assembly building. It’s fun to tell fishing partners from out of town that the building they think is so close is actually miles away. It’s just huge. Has its own weather, it’s so tall. Yep. Rains inside sometimes.
There will be rain here, later. If you look close, over the mainland, you can see the beginnings of the cloud stack. I’ll be gone by then, beating back along the track to the road, to 528, fighting sleep on my way home and setting up a second wind. When I get back, the baby will be up and gurgling, saying bah, slamming his legs down onto his blanket on the floor, just for fun. At 3:30, up and getting ready super-quietly to be here before summer sunrise, I did what I always do: I slipped into his room and put a hand on his belly, just to feel it move up and down.
This is joy: not a powerboat in sight, or better yet, in hearing. An ibis skims over the water. The loudest noise is the wax paper unfolding from my roast beef on wheat. I better think about a different car. And when he grows up some more, I don’t think I’ll be fishing much. Which is fine.
On the water, a tiny triangle of tailfin breaks the surface. The silent circle expands in receding perfection. I wrap the rest of the sandwich, stand slowly and quietly, and take the rod off the hood. — Adam Barr