Walks, Old Men and Imagination!

Sometimes a walk takes you further than intended. To places absent on a map or chart. So it was on this day, as I journeyed a quiet stretch of beach where old men tied down old boats the night before. There was no particular order to their wait and their smallness seemed insufficient against the greatness of the sea. I stopped and studied the little boats and wondered of the men who ventured out to catch fish and I wondered of their lives. Men and boats who would return with stories carved from lives at sea. I could see them as they sailed undaunted against the wind that would launch their sails.

Life, however, was not so much about the fish as it was about the stories. The children would feed as much on stories as they would the fish. At night when they gathered for meals the old men would speak about the day. The children would sit with eyes hungry for the exaggeration that made tales worthy of the wait. Old women would smile discretely, but, truth be told, exaggeration would feed alike, the child in them.

Passing by, I could hear the talk between the boats. Perhaps, it was the sea lapping at the sides. Perhaps, that is how the great sea talks to little boats. Talk of old men who come and take them out to sea. They talk of the fish and of stories born for telling. Stories that nourish children and tease a smile from their women. Without old men who go for fish, there are no boats, stories never leave the sea and walks along the beach are resigned to exercise. As it is, I have shared something with the people of the boats, however brief, however faint. The boats have stirred my imagination and fed my steps with more than distance.

As I look back to where the little boats are waiting, the footprints I leave behind, fade wet. No one will ever know that I was here. The old men will not know, that someone passing by, overheard a moment in their lives. Perhaps we only meet in the imagination of some story pulled from sea. Imagination is my moment lapping at the sides of little boats. Maybe, that is how the great sea talks to old men, who walk along the beach, in need of something more than exercise.

Comments 15 comments

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

How could this sensitive and beautiful piece have been overlooked, Alan? . . . .


arb profile image

arb 5 years ago from oregon Author

Hi Nellieanna! I've wondered the same but every writer wonders from time to time. That you have found it leaves me a measure of contentment that suffices. You are a friend, indeed. I am finally writing an essay that has been begging my heart for 3 years, but, I have wanted to write with compassion and leaving as little offense as possible. You should know that your poems today, moved in me to cry a little and to come to a place where I could write what would not let me be. I've just completed it and am about to place the text in a capsule. It is rather lengthly and I labor to keep my writing as brief as possible that the reader does not tire from me. I feel that you are responsible for it coming today and for that I am thankful to you. It is that important to me. Called, Will America gain the world and loose its soul. I suspect, it will not score well.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Perhaps this wonderful hub may have been among your first ones when you first came to HubPages before you were known and had followers. Their loss!

I'm glad to hear you'll be publishing that new hub. I look forward to reading it. It will be valuable thoughts and there will be no wasted words. BTW - I'm the world's worst when it comes to lengthy prose (though my poetry is almost always very brief). I know whether i've written a poem or some prose by the length! :-)

You might consider breaking the article into more capsules, each with a heading to both highlight its emphasis and to provide readers a logical break here and there.

Also - you might want to reconsider your use of the word "Loose" in the title. In the context, I think you mean "Lose" and I wonder the same thing! Will our country lose its soul in its pursuit of power? Wow. It is already teetering on precarious precipices. I am sure you will have many worthwhile things to say about it! I'll bet it will score better than you expect. I can imagine how the "home" poem contributed to your proceeding with the thoughts on this.


arb profile image

arb 5 years ago from oregon Author

Hi nellianna! Everybody is correcting (loose) this morning. How humiliating. I've done worst than mispell a word I suppose. I've noticed that controversy gets voted up and down, not according to the writing, but a reflection of opinions. Its o.k. though. I do not always belong to prevailing opinion. It was an earlier write, but, without specific subject. I'm sure the rambling reflection of a day which had little else to say. Thanks so much for the feedback.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

You're right. Anything which stirs people's own beliefs or strong preferences & persuasions does catch their eye and, when that alerts them, there's difficulty for them in really looking at a presentation overall for its quality of thought, clarity of expression and the other skills of good writing and thinking. But hasty-conclusion, knee-jerk reactions are characteristics of some readers, and have nothing to do with the value of the writer and writing which may ignite them unless intentionally set out to do so, which you have not done.

In fact anything that activates another's basic mindset is likely to stir that only, no matter what or how it is presented. There are some folks who almost never really comment on what my poetry is saying, but just that it ought to be published. ;->

After I was here on this hub earlier and noticed the "lose-loose" possible confusion in the title, I did go to and read the hub itself and it stirred a lot of thinking. I didn't repy on it immediately because I thought it deserved a closer read before I did.

It has much to say and much merit, so I want to be sure to look at it in all dimensions before I give a hasty impressionistic comment. It just isn't a quick-read, quick response subject or presentation. It has opinion in it, of course. What else does a person have but a personal opinion? We are subjective beings with subjective views on anything and everything beyond ourselves, - ourselves being where we are REALLY subjective!

But some of our observations and thoughts are given more objectivity, thought and honest conviction as we apply ourselves to higher thinking & being more compassionate and responsible people. I sense that everything you wrote in that hub is of that nature. It has no personal agenda other than that.

If it was written at an earlier time when it may have been more rambling or less impassioned, so what? When you chose to ready it and publish it today, it was with conviction which shows clearly in it. It there are occasional breaches of grammar, that is probably due to a great sense of urgency which brought it to a head now, from a "begging heart for 3 years", - which is certainly not a casual impetus, but a genuine need to express and share it,- and - as you say, with compassion.

That kind of intent of compassion always involves trying to consider what would or would not be likely to be misconstrued, misinterpreted or just to send up a "red flag" in some unknown reader's mind. It's not an easy land-mine to navigate, with all the possible readers, dispositions and opinions "out there" and to do so in a say as to soften or side-step an unintended and unwanted negative or explosive impact on readers. In fact it is virtually impossible, from my observation and experience! Mastery of the art of diplomacy is among the lost interests and arts that promp and contributed to the rotten state of things now hovering so ominously. But to have interest in doing it and being considerate of others' views and stands is the difference between being civilized and barbarian - as becomes more and more different, it seems. The responsibility rests on both sides. But those who really care about compassion just persist.

So not to worry if there are some sparks and mumblings. I've noticed you are good at handling those when they do occur. Where many would take issue with something, you diffuse it without making a mountain out of it. I admire that.

Anyway - that's my non-response. haha. I couldn't share these thought on the hub itself, really. You've sort of confided in me here, so I've sort of confided my response to that here. Hope that's OK.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

. . . with my misspellings and typos as well! It got away from me before I could fix them all.


arb profile image

arb 5 years ago from oregon Author

I suspected immediately that this was not a poetic reponse. If I cared too much about opinion, marriage has equipped me well to consider it and move along. I do appreciate your reply. I fear from your non-responses that I shall have to put time aside if you ever choose to really respond. You are such a delight and if I were to take nothing else from my time at hub pages, my exchanges with you have made it well worthwhile.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Blush. And smile. And hug. And ditto.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

I just reread this magnificent piece of writing - and scrolled down to write a comment - only to discover this delightful exchange with the author, written over a year ago! How amazing and it brought it all back to mind. :-)

(Hope it doesn't seem like stalking! I just felt the need for some good writing to nourish my soul before I go to bed!)


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Just read again, our conversation.Interesting, the piece I was talking about, remains one of my most read and did not raise the ire I thought was coming. Our delightful exchanges are most welcomed!

btw

Posted a picture of my daughters wedding under "the letter" and one of myself / wife under, God,Husbands and Gift wrapping. Just figured out "how to" move my pictures over here. Just love figuring stuff out.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

Now that I've treated myself to viewing the new additions to your lovely hubs about your wife and your daughter, and have managed to still the tears from reappreciating their depth, beauty and vivid reminders of the arresting combination of your character, integrity, depth and special loving care with the language in expressing it all, - well, here I am - back to thank you for telling me about them and to bask a bit in the friendship we share.

Yes - it's such fun to figure stuff out. I'm afraid it's my best method. If I muddle and wade through myself, the end result is that it's been internalized and has become a principle and plank upon which to build other 'figurings out"! I'm notoriously difficult to lead, therefore. hehe

It wasn't always so. When I yet figured that everyone - anyone, almost - was smarter and wiser, I tried to do it their ways. But I was never as good as they at their ways, or as following my own ways. Those things I'd just figured out myself were so much better honed & fitted for my use and more accessible and flexible for it, besides. When I finally realized that 'DOING ME" was good and allowed 'my way' to meander and expand into its 'radials', it was like a whole 'nuther sphere came into clear focus in which to matriculate, to learn and grow.

So - BRAVO with your success in uploading pictures! You're already a great YOU.


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Then there are now two of us, that think I'm great! I need a hub about just me! I think my wife is on the team, but, she would never tell me so. It would mess up all the fun she's having!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

haha. Better not mention your big HP fan club around the house, then! Don't want to spoil any fun! But let's go ahead with the hub - what a great idea!


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

I have too many others still waiting for my pen.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

The writer must prioritize, of course! :-)

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