On the Cusp
By Harry P. Davis
planet is a fantastic mixture of elements constantly struggling to gain
a footing on the other.
Water fights against sand, rock,
magma and sky to see who will fill in the next void as wind wrestles
against the fires of lightning to win the championship of the fastest to
race up slopes of timber and claim the wooden elements of fallen
Patriarchs. Giants who guard the mountains with warrior limbs once safe
havens for animals and birds of the earth are now only char and food for
Some call these edges or
blendings from one place to another, "cusps".
Storms sail these cusps as ships
sail the deep, riding upon deserts with as much ease as they do upon
black arctic seas…cannons igniting the night sky, firing ozone into
sentries of granite of the Black Hills on a lonely April Dakota dry
Cusps are easily found once we see them as they are. Fly fishermen know
them well…we play them like fiddles on a back porch. Where water meets
earth & rock seem to be the classic angling cusps.
Creatures play us on these cusps
as well. Basking in the sun on a sandy bank just out of the steep cut in
the rocks where it would be too easy to sneak up on our prey. We slip
oh, so, softly around…stealthily we believe but, not invisible which
would be required to make this hit. Invisibility is required but not
grasped on this thin slice of battleground held by the enemy…playing us
against the cusp...she twitches.
Imitating the fog, we vaporize
slowly back…backwards into the yellow straw of autumn screening until we
have cover enough to plan our next maneuver.
Crunching of natural cobble
topped with frosted sand echoes up the canyon as we hustle around the
lip of river and drop to our knees like early Americans. Peeking over
the knife-edge of sliced rock to eye that hungry shadow yawning on a
liquid cot between air and sand…cusped.
Our plan spills out upon our
mind like a well-inked scroll…we follow it down the ravine on the dark
side where light tugs shadow and vision eats blindness. Down. Down the
slope, too far perhaps for a perfect cast but close enough to look
natural. It’s colder here.
A neoprene boot touches cold
water and resists it. The water ravages up my leg seeking something to
freeze but cannot crossover past my dimensional barrier. Another step
and I’m close enough to strip out some plastic and let it fall at my
feet in suspended coils awaiting their launch through a sun thawed
morning mountain breath. I loose my volley.
Air is a strange substance…more strange than diamond. It carries life
within its very being and yet can blow an iron ship over and cover it
with a sea forever.
Even more strange is the flight
of a tiny gossamer strand of tippet tied to a coated braid as it pushes
the envelope of a silent wall of dead wind and lands with a single ring,
signaling a successful landing in the target…cushioning itself upon the
cusp of micro-sky just above the siphon of a casual brown.
Metal point meets boned jaw as
water meets air and line slashes both…neoprened angler meets the element
of surprise as the fish awakens to the fight of its life.
Moments blend into heartbeats as
line winds up on metal hubs and the wind picks up. A fighting grimace
melts into a friendly smile…a nod to a partner up on the cobble and a
slow release of captured to freedom.
The cold morning cusps into a
big cup of hot coffee.
By Harry P. Davis ©