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The International Writers Magazine: Dreamscapes Fiction

The Fisherman’s Journey
• Susan Dale
Daily, but before sunset, the fisherman comes to the riverbank. And while the world is cradled within the gray arms of dawn, lost stars drift along the fringes of sunrise. The fisherman is within the moments before daybreak: a time suspended in quiet, and moist with mist.


He sets his lantern down, but takes his bucket with him when he wades across the shallow river. He walks over to a sandbar, then climbs on the riverbank to gather up his nets. Yesterday, he laid them there to dry. With legs spread and steady, he swings the nets into the air with wide, stretching motions. When they are freed into space, he has the feeling in his shoulders and arms, which tells him it is time to launch the nets. Throwing them into the air, he watches as they fall across the river to web it in sunrise’ luminosity. His abiding rhythms, long and practiced, will pull the nets in and out throughout the long day … until dusk falls to end his fishing.

The fisherman seems suspended in his movements, so smooth and steady are they, like a water ballet of shoulders to nets: nets to the river. Bird songs bloom in the trees: intoxicated bees roll in the flower‘ pollen … and all are being transferred into the totality of the moment. In the background rise a row of red mountains. Their granite seams hold tight the secrets they’ve held since creation. As tall pines run up and down the mountainsides, they spread their arms and drop their green gowns.

The fisherman’s choreography is performed daily against wide horizons, and the deep clouds that sigh into the sky. Flapping wide wings, white herons land to pick their way into the ballet. They lift their long legs, like stilts they set down on the sandbar.

Starring in the ballet is the little fisherman of hard muscles, and motions of such grace that he and his body become a part of all of it: the entirety of man with the elements ... the mossy riverbank, arching skies, and the flowing waters endlessly rushing on.

In unison, baby catfish swim through the sun-kissed river as it splashes around smooth rocks, and foams over the beaver-built dams. Schools of trout stay to the edges of the tree shaded river while a dazed afternoon is afloat in the air. The wind whispers shadows that lengthen and widen until sunset spills flames into the sky.

It is time now and so the fisherman gathers up his nets to pull silver fish from their webbings. He drops the wiggling fish plop, plop into a water-filled bucket. He hunkers then to lay his nets out to dry. Tomorrow he will gather them up again … as surely as time, as infinite as the river’s flow.

Through the shallow waters he wavers back and forth to keep his balance; his fishing bucket he holds high. He climbs on shore to walk to his lantern. In one easy motion, he hunkers to light it.

Now he begins a homeward journey … down a path of fallen leaves and pastel seashells. Jaunty, his steps. In one hand he holds his bucket of fish; a lit lantern swings from the other. The glow of the lantern’s light falls across his path. It guides him to another light; that of an acetylene lamp that shines in the doorway of his thatched hut. There, lantern and lamp join to broaden into the enduring light of the fisherman’s homecoming.

*Susan’s poems and fiction are on Eastown Fiction, Ken *Again, Hackwriters, Yesteryear Fiction, Feathered Flounder, and Penwood Review. In 2007, she won the grand prize for poetry from Oneswan.

© susan dale Jan 2013

Journey To the Mountain
Susan Dale

David headed off in the direction of the sacred mountain. Winds were picking up speed to scatter the fog into mists and beam frail rays into the horizon. Soon into his journey, the mists parted to an abandoned castle that once housed Asian nobles.
To Wander In A Foreign Land
Susan Dale

Lea stood inside the door of the riverboat restaurant … tall and willowy with a shock of hair, dark and heavy, and piled a’ top her head like an afterthought.
Sands Sifting Into Infinity
Susan Dale

Sands upon sands stretched out before David, even as something inside of him was sounding warnings. ‘These sands stretch out as far as the eye can see, and beyond that. I can’t see the end of them.
A Longboat Journey
Susan Dale

And as he sat in the lake pushing with his oars, he heard splashing in the background. Powerful swish-swishes of large wakes were breaking around his canoe to rock it back and forth. 'Like I am in a cradle.’

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