Buck is lying in his bed, restless from the pain which ravages his body from the cancer treatment. His body trying to heal, it filled his mind with the trauma of the past. Fighting to get some rest, he focuses on his fishing trip.
One in the morning he gives up on trying to sleep and get dressed. He goes out of his apartment in the fresh cool air, fills him with renewed life. He organizes the car to make room for his fishing gear. He returns to his apartment and gathers his things, placing them in care and order. He takes inventory in his mind and everything is there.
Two in the morning he goes to fill the car with gas. Then with renewed vigor he enters his car and points it to the Mountain Lake some forty miles away. His thoughts are no longer on the pain and trauma of the past events of his life. But hope enters his heart as he escapes into the night on the drive to his fishing spot.
Watching for deer on the road he sees several; the sight of the deer brings back healthy memories of going deer hunting with his father. It was always a time for a family adventure.
He arrives to find another like himself escaping the bounds of everyday life. Buck introduces himself and makes a new friend Bill.
“Bill, you arrived first. Pick your spot on the dock.” Buck can tell Bill is having a tough time getting his gear out of his car. He sees the pain, which he too is accustomed.
“Buck, you are a true fisherman. Today, most people would walk right by me. Leaving me here to fend for myself,” as he shakes Buck’s hand.
Buck looks to the sky. The twilight has not yet arrived, and the sky is full of stars.
“Bill, look, you can see the space station traveling crossed the sky.” Bill is still struggling with his gear.
“Buck, I will take the west end of the dock; I think I have my stuff together. You know I am sixty-six years old. I just recover from back surgery. This will be my last fishing trip for some time. I go under the knife again next week.”
“I am sixty-seven years old, and I understand the pain.” Bill now smiles at his newfound friend as they head to the dock.
The twilight is a deep gray, making out the water from the dock. With flashlights glowing in the dark, both anglers prepare their lines and casting them into a void of darkness.
Bill continues his conversation about his surgery, and it migrates to his trauma. They share their stories as the reel of Bucks pole sings a song of a big fish on the line. The water comes alive with the splashing and movement of a fish of epic size.
Buck has his pole in one hand and the other rustling through the dark dock for his net. Buck, unable to retrieve his net in time, tries to stop the fish from going under the dock. The fish shows his under belly dives under the dock. Disaster set in motion as singing of the reels drag lets line out. The line finds a sharp edge of the dock, frees the fish. The pole reels back into Buck’s hand with great disappointment it is the big one that got away.
“Buck, that was the biggest fish I have seen it these parts. I like to tell you about the time I caught a state record...” Bill realizes this was not the time. “Buck, I am your witness that was a record fish... Sorry it got away.”
“Bill, no worries the day has not started. It is a good sign that fishing is going to be good.” Looking up as he repairs the damage and cast his line back out in the water. The twilight has begun, gray light turning to a steel gray with blue. The sky to the northeast, the small whisked of clouds show a light pink crown, and the lake is alive with fish moving in for the meal of the freshly hatched insects hovering above the water. Hundreds of bats take their fill of the flying food. The sound of an osprey waking cry, and wild turkeys awaking and the fresh air giving life and hope for the day.
Bill tells of his battle in the court to pay for the injury which placed him in a hospital when he got hurt at work. The battle with the pain and the court was more than his marriage could handle. She left him after twenty years for another man.
I understand been there and I have the coffee mug and T-shirt. Buck remains silent, not wanting to reflect on his own past, but to look forward to his next fish on the line.
Bill continues his story of his life, loss and pain. The sky is developing into a golden yellow as the pink on the clouds turn red. The light reflects off the lake as Bill’s line races from his reel.
The time is right and they know why they have come to the Lake. The fish are biting and one after another they reel in a nice trout. The day light begins and the fish are biting, the adventure Buck and Bill have been waiting for has arrived. No longer is pain, grief or the trauma they have endured present, it has left them both as the sun’s rays hit the lake.
Life around the lake is everywhere; a new day with hope of life has arrived.