Imagining

I have never been fishing on the Susquehanna
or on any river for that matter
to be perfectly honest.

Not in July or any month
have I had the pleasure — if it is a pleasure —
of fishing on the Susquehanna.

I am more likely to be found
in a quiet room like this one —
a painting of a woman on the wall,


a bowl of tangerines on the table —
trying to manufacture the sensation
of fishing on the Susquehanna.

There is little doubt
that others have been fishing
on the Susquehanna,

rowing upstream in a wooden boat,

sliding the oars under the water
then raising them to drip in the light.

But the nearest I have ever come to
fishing on the Susquehanna
was one afternoon in a museum in Philadelphia,

when I balanced a little egg of time
in front of a painting
in which that river curled around a bend

under a blue cloud-ruffled sky,
dense trees along the banks,
and a fellow with a red bandana

sitting in a small, green
flat-bottom boat
holding the thin whip of a pole.

That is something I am unlikely
ever to do, I remember
saying to myself and the person next to me.

Then I blinked and moved on
to other American scenes
of haystacks, water whitening over rocks,

even one of a brown hare
who seemed so wired with alertness
I imagined him springing right out of the frame. 
~Billy Collins Fishing On The Susquehanna In July

Edmund Darch Lewis – Susquehanna
Hayfield–oil painting by Scott Prior http://www.scottpriorart.com

I live a quiet life in a quiet place. There are many experiences not on my bucket list that I’m simply content to just imagine.

I’m not a rock climber or a zip liner or willing to jump out of an airplane. I won’t ride a horse over a four foot jump or race one around a track. Not for me waterskis or unicycles or motorcycles.

I’m grateful there are adventurers who seek out the extremes of life so the rest of us can admire their courage and applaud their explorations.

My imagination is powerful enough, thanks to the words and pictures of others – sometimes too vivid. I contentedly explore the corners of my quiet places, both inside and outside, to see what I can build from what’s here.

When the light is right, what I see in my mind is ready to spring right out of the frame.

6 thoughts on “Imagining

  1. I live along the Susquehanna amongst the Amish & Mennonite of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I don’t know much about fishing in the Susquehanna but I can tell you it certainly is lovely here in the summertime.
    Thank you for sharing your many talents Emily ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Poets, I sometimes think, are the carpenter bees of society. We live fairly solitary lives in our perfectly-drilled holes, emerging on occasion with loud buzzing and pesky swooping, dive bombing anyone near enough to pay attention to us. No one does this better than Billy Collins, and in so doing he connects us to the world around us in a gentle, artful way. We (poets and non-poets) owe him much.
    The same can be said for Barnstorming.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely thoughts and pictures — they create a memorable scene to contemplate.
    Lewis’ picture reminds me of those done by artists of the Hudson River School — a neighbor in the Catskill Mountains New York. State.

    Like

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