Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Fishing Report

היום אחד ועושרים יומים שהם שלשה שבועות לעמר
Today is the twenty-first day of the omer - three weeks

מלכות שבתפרת
A day of majesty in a week of compassion

I still read my local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, every day. Sometimes I read it at home, sometimes in a cafe with coffee and a snack. That's the thing about the printed form of the newspaper--it's easily transportable to any sort of environment, and can be folded to accommodate various sizes and types of space available. I know I need to cherish this time spent with this news in print--it looks like it will be gone sooner rather than later as the Chronicle is in danger of stopping its print version sometime this year. I'm pretty sure it will survive as an internet-only news outlet, but that is no where near the same.

One big advantage to reading the newsprint rather than the screen pixels is the way you can skim all the sections and see what captures your eyes. While the web version has links that will take you quickly to the information you want to see, with the paper you can look over the words as you turn the pages, stopping as something makes an imprint. And I don't want to click around to read the comics--an important part of the newspaper experience. I look forward to those two pages each day.

And then there are the small gems you'd never discover in an online version unless you were specifically looking for them. One example of that is the obituaries. I've written before about my practice of reading the obituaries--you can find that here, or check out the "zichrono/nah l'vracha" category of this blog. Another somewhat hidden gem is Brian Hoffman's "The Fishing Report" that appears each Thursday in the sports section. In his opening paragraphs to the state of fishing in the San Francisco Bay Area you will find some of the best writing around.
Here's today's offering:
You can give light and you can take it away, a drive down Army to 3rd at a time past 2. Someone else said that, about the light, except that they meant life, and it was something to think about going over the draw bridge and along the edge of water to the parking lot at Red's.

It was dark except where it wasn't, light from the buildings and strung along the gun-metal bridge, thin halos above the streets and 100,000 places.

The one over the pier water, a rendering like a net in green-gold-orange. Then all that's familiar, the rod and the line, sinker and hook, an anchovy with a bloody eye going down.

The waiting.

If there were stars, it might have been different. It there was anything, it might have been different. As it was, it was fine.

A bench with a broken back. Not another human or even a fisherman. The best hours before dawn. Leaning back and taking aim, thumb to pointer, shooting them out ahead of the sun. One, by one, at a time.
I understand that the world needs to move forward and things have to change. But I will mourn the loss of those moments with my newspaper and my coffee, letting someone like Brian Hoffman use words to paint a picture, bringing me these scenes I would otherwise miss.

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