The Ocean Abounds 12 DJ Corisis
The Ocean Abounds
Never give up your life until you are certain that you have fulfilled and experienced everything that there is in this world son. The worlds a big place, you don't have any time to waste, the old man in the dingy recalled to himself as he leaned back and embraced the soft rocking of the small water craft.
"You don't have any time to waste huh…," he said silently. He continued to look upwards to the sky, pondering how he had spent his entire life.
"I've survived through two wars… lived to see all of my children graduate college and start families of their own… and even managed to find love in a world of hate… and yet, I can't help but feel unsatisfied with myself." He stood up, taking his wrist in front of him to quickly glace at his watch.
"6:03," he said, "just about time to reel in the old bag o' surprises." He stood up, and clapping his hands once and rubbing them together experiencing the years of wear and work dealt to the skin and joints, comparable nearly too sand paper.
He bent over, feeling his tired back muscles convulse with the movement and grabbed hold of the sea-worn rope tied to the end of the craft. He tugged slightly, attempting to guess the weight of its contents, and continued to slowly reel the rope in foot by foot.
He was met with dismay at the fruits of his days work as he stared at the pitifully full fishnet at his feet.
"Only seven fish… five spots tried in the harbor in a day's work, and the entire ocean has only seven fish to give me." He left the net at the end of his boat, and sat down in the middle bench, resting his weight with his elbows on his knees. He heaved a deep sigh, and said,
"Guess we're never going to get paid sitting in the middle of nowhere." He grabbed hold of each of the oars on the side of the dingy, and began to row. Slowly at first, he tried to find his rhythm. Soon however, he had found a comfortable pace, and was headed toward the harbor.
His boat drifted slowly into the docks, other fishing boats both big and small passing on both sides, the old man wondering the entire time what their rush was. His boat gently bumped the dock, and the old man stood up to leave his vessel, carrying his small bounty of seven fish.
"Hey, old man!" he heard a voice call, "where's my fish? I know there are more out there than just seven!" the old man looked in the direction of the voice and saw the dock boss walking towards him, wanting his profits.
"If the fish don't want to go in my net, they don't have to go in my net Frank, there's nothing I can do about that."
"Listen, I know you have been at this job for…how many years? Fifty? Maybe it's time to retire, you know? I can't have my profits falling flat."
"No no… I am perfectly fit enough to accomplish as simple of job as fishing. And besides that, it gives me something to do! It passes the time, gives me time to think."
The boss laughed and said, "If it's only thinking time you're after maybe it would be better if you stayed out on the ocean! At least then you would get plenty of fish." The man joked.
The old man laughed along and said, "Perhaps you're right frank. I'll see you back here the same time tomorrow for the same work."
"Bright and early, I'll see you then." The two men parted, Frank hauling away the old man's small harvest.
All the way home the old man began to seriously consider what his boss had said.
"Just staying out in the ocean…it wouldn't be a bad place to think and experience…" he soon reached his house, still pondering the same thoughts. He opened the door to his archaic house and was quickly greeted by his sheep dog.
"Down, Charlie, down!" the old man said after the dog had bounded towards him. The dog obediently left his master and sat on the floor in front of him, looking up at him intently. The old man looked at his friend for a minute, and then said, "How much thinking are you able to do here Charlie?" the dog only buried his head under his paws in reply.
"That's what I thought…" he said, "You feel like taking a trip?" the dog perked up and barked a playful bark to his master in compliance. "You're coming to work with me tomorrow then, you got that? No sleeping in like always." The dog stood up and chased his tail in a circle excitedly before sitting back down again.
"We'll leave tomorrow then." The old man said to his dog. He patted it on the head, and left it to his business while he tended to dinner.
The old man was soon in bed, his work pack all packed up for the next day as always, containing a few extra items, and his dog curled up at his feet.
The next morning the old man woke up as he did every other morning and got ready, Charlie waking up with him ready to go. The old man opened the door to leave his house, waiting for his dog to follow him through.
"Ready to leave Charlie?" the old man asked. The dog made no sign of wishing not to go, and with that the old man closed the door to his house, locked it and left a note on the door that read:
Gone for now
At the dock, the old man's boss quickly noticed his dog and said,
"What are you doing with your dog there? You know pets aren't allowed here."
"Cut me a break Frank…there must be some exception to the rule for me after all the years I've worked here! You need to live your life with your friends and share in your experiences with them."
"He's a dog."
"He's my friend, and his name is Charlie."
Frank thought for a minute and said, "He won't bark at the fish?"
"He'll be a quiet as a calm sea." The old man said crossing his heart in promise.
"Fine. But if I hear one complaint he's back at your house, you hear?"
"Understood!" the old man said as he started to climb down into his dingy. He tossed his bag onto the floor and untied the rope from the dock, pushing the boat away.
"See you later Frank!" the old man called.
"Bring me fish old man." Was all Frank said in reply.
Once the old man had rowed out into the bay for a few minutes, he reached into his bag and brought out a star chart used by ship captains. He folded it into his lap and looked around and the seemingly boundless sea around him. He looked at his dog and said,
"Do we really want to do this boy? We might not ever come back." The dog only barked and sat patiently.
"Exactly how I feel… if we don't have the courage to now, when will we?" having said that, the old man grabbed both oars and began rowing away from the bay and into the open ocean. He let drift an emergency water purifier that every fisherman was required to carry on board his ship in order to always have fresh water when he needed it. He knew that he would still have to use it sparingly however. He also had a fishnet to let drift out of the boat, and a fishing pole to catch a little extra dinner.
For the larger portion of the day, the old man simply sat in the boat with his dog and fished off the side. They had drifted out into the deeper part of the sea where there was little chance of someone discovering them. The old man's quest for fish soon turned into his good fortune and he began to catch one fish after the other on his fishing pole.
"Look at this, boy! I don't think I've ever seen such good luck!" the old man said to his dog that was sniffing at the flopping fish on the bottom of the boat, "we eat like kings as sea tonight!"
Later that day, as the old man had said, he and his dog did indeed eat like kings. The old man had brought a plethora of spices for his many meals he would have at sea, and even managed to create a makeshift barbeque in a metal bowl he tied off the side of the boat.
"We're going to have to start collecting any drift wood we see if we want to keep having fires like this…" the old man said to his dog, "we can let it dry out in the sun all day."
Soon the old man had cooked all the fish he had caught that day, and after giving his dog a pile of fish meat, he helped himself to the rest of the catch. In the end, the only sign of the fish was the trail of scales and bones behind the boat.
"That was most likely the best tasting fish I have had in a long time Charlie." The old man said to his dog lying in his lap, "would you look at that sunset…" the old man said as he looked at the horizon and the many hues of red and orange that filled it.
"There has got to be more at work in this world than what we were experiencing… That sunset proves it! You just need to slow down and notice the small things in life that make it worth living…" the old man soon fell asleep where he sat, the image and colors of the sunset imbedded in his mind and dreams.
The following morning when he woke up, he threw his net to drift once again in the water with the boat, found a comfortable position and cast his line into the water and waited. To his surprise, the fish weren't as lively as they had been the day before. There were none to be found.
"haven't had a bite all day Charlie…" the old man said to his dog, asleep on his side, "my only catch was this seaweed that came from some distant place!" he said holding up his prize, "it would make a good wrap for some fish! We just don't have any to wrap up…"
he heard his stomach growl and he patted it saying, "that sun really drains the energy out of you after a day… even after that feast of fish we had last night! I thought I would never eat another bite! Now I feel like I could eat all that and more…"
To the old man's displeasure, the bad luck fishing did not end after that day. On the third day of no catches, he said,
"Not a single fish in three days… we really didn't make the best choice starting out Charlie. We caught enough fish to feed us for three days on our first day out, and we managed to gorge it all in one day. Now because of our bad judgment we haven't eaten for three days…" the dog looked up at his master with hungry eyes and whimpered a few tones.
"I agree. If there's anything that we have to take from this adventure of ours, it's to use wise judgment." The old man said patting his dog on the head. Just then the pole jumped slightly. The old man jerked his head quickly and watched it in anticipation. The second it jumped again he pulled back with all his might and felt the fish hook on at the end of the line somewhere under the surface.
"We've got dinner!" he yelled to his dog, which was leaning over the edge of the boat and barking into the water, anticipating his first food in three days. The resulting fish was big enough for the old man and his dog to enjoy another large feast, however they knew how to handle their good fortune the second time around. They split the fish in half, and after eating the first half, left the rest to dry in the sun for future days of slow fishing.
"Been on the sea for only four days and yet we've learned more than we would have in a year back at home…" he said to Charlie.
The day continued with a happy sense about it, and as the old man watched the sunset just as he did every other night, he noticed a few small specks on the surface of the water coming his direction. He took out his small collapsible telescope and peered into it. What he saw were three triangular shaped fins sticking out of the water.
"Looks like we have company…" the old man said to his dog. He quickly went for a special harpoon pistol made especially for fishermen when sharks came onto the scene. He had it ready in hand to use if needed as he stood watching the dark specks come closer and closer. Then suddenly to his surprise the three specks exploded out of the water and soared through the air in unison!
"hahaha," the old man laughed, "well I'll be… it's a group of dolphins!" he watched them as they dove back under the water and then fly back into the air over and over again as they passed his boat. The old man laid down his pistol and sat back to watch the three dolphins disappear into the horizon.
"it seems like dolphins always know how to have a good time…" the old man said to his dog who was also watching the mammals, "it seems like their happy in life by just being happy… and enjoying everything that's around them… keep that in mind next time I don't give you a dog treat eh?" he said to his dog patting him on the head. Watching the dolphins leap into the horizon and into the setting sun, the old man drifted off to sleep, satisfied with another peaceful day at sea.
The next morning the old man was jolted awake by a sudden heave by the boat. He looked around and saw nothing but open ocean. He noticed that Charlie was barking at something however.
"What is it boy?" the old man asked softly, bending down to pick up his pistol. He suddenly felt the dingy pitch again, and he looked down into the water to find it much darker than normal. He dropped his pistol and said,
"We've got a whale of a problem here Charlie." He looked around the vicinity the best he could and noted that there were several dark spots all around his boat, each of them a small whale. He could feel the whale beneath his ship rubbing against the hull, liable to fling them into the air at any point if it wanted to.
It was at that moment that the old man was sure his old heart would burst. Suddenly to the side of a boat a great explosion occurred. He quickly looked and found himself being rained down on by water although there were no clouds. He stood up, knowing what was about to happen. He saw as a great whale breached out of the water, flinging itself into the air with enormous momentum, and the old man was never sure if it had been out of awe or fear of his boat sinking, but he remembered doing the sign of the cross as the great whale leapt before him in a once in a lifetime show.
The whale hit the water with a mighty crash and set a great wave hurling for the small water craft, instantly swamping it, although the boat stayed just barely afloat. It was all the old man could do to sit there in his personal swimming pool and watch as the great whale rose its enormous tail out of the water, sending water droplet everywhere and bringing it down with loud crash.
The old man could only sit and stare at the mighty sight he had just seen and wonder in awe and reverence. It took him over an entire hour to compose himself and finally start to bail water out of his boat and gather the items that had been strewn about from the wave. The only words he spoke that day were,
"We are a couple of lucky sailors Charlie." He ended the day with his nightly sunset and continued to bed, fully aware of what he had just experienced and how few of people have the privilege of experiencing it in the modern world.
A great crack of lightning flashed across the sky, shocking the old man awake and sending his dog into frenzy. The old man, having been fully expecting an ocean storm at some point, tied everything in the craft securely down and tied his dog's collar to his waist. He knew that the resulting booms of thunder would be worse than the lightning, so he had even packed earplugs.
He fitted the ear plugs into his ears, ready for the worst thunder. But the resultant was louder than he could have ever expected. It was a boom so loud and deafening that he felt the entire boat shake from its wrath. The rain began to pelt down, light at first then heavy as if in sheets. The raincoat the old man had packed for himself did nothing to keep him dry as the wind flung water in all directions about him.
He felt the boat begin to slowly rise and fall, the period of the waves quickly increasing as the wind and rain did. It wasn't soon before the old man was very grateful that he had tied everything down.
The storm did not subside after an hour, nor after two. It only continued to bear down on the old man and his dog with the greatest intensity he had ever seen and experienced. There was a point where the old man was scared for his life because of the situation. It was after the fourth hour that the old man realized he needed to bail the rain water out of his boat. He braced himself against the side to stand the constant pitching of the boat and even had to lean up against it so he would not fall face down because of the wind. The old man never saw the water from the bucket strike the ocean surface, the wind dispersing the water the minute it left the bucket.
The old man felt his weariness draining him of his energy, wanting to sleep but the intense storm keeping him in his consciousness. He was able to feel his skin and the countless wrinkled from his water logged clothes and his boned and joints creak from the cold and stress of resisting the wind, the boat filling up to fast with rainwater to take refuge in the bottom. He felt Charlie shivering against his chest, as he too feared for his own life.
To the old man's surprise, he would not remember the end of the storm. Instead, he found himself waking up to the early morning sun playing across his face in open ocean. He was not sure how long he had been awake for in the storm, it was always to dark to see the sun rise or fall. He knew that he had eaten multiple times, however small the portions were because of the difficulty. He rose up and found his water logged dog at his feet, faithful to his master.
"I think we've completed our little adventure don't you?" he asked the dog. He bailed out the remaining water from the boat, and unstrapped the oars from the side. He found his compass, luckily still in working condition, and using the few stars that were still visible in the dim-dusk sky, set a course for home.
The old man returned home on Sunday, his food and spice reserves exhausted, his joints weak and numb from rowing the seemingly impossible journey home.
"People won't believe the adventure we had Charlie…" the old man said, "and even if they did, they would never believe that we somehow managed to row our way home from the middle of the ocean. Heck, I don't even believe it! We must have gotten lucky and got a little help from a current I suppose." The old man continued in total disbelief.
The old man knew that there would not be any fishermen on the dock on Sunday. So after peacefully securing his boat to the dock, he walked the familiar path the remaining way home.
He walked up the path to his front door, noticing the pile of newspapers that had accumulated while he was gone and saw that one headline read:
Hurricane Elijah Brings Devastation!
He smiled at the headline, knowing now that what he had survived had been a hurricane. He slowly opened his door, his courtesy sign on the front now gone. He patted his dog on the head as he ran inside, and the old man followed behind him, rubbing the side of his face wearily, feeling the weeks of stubble that had accumulated. He closed the door and looked around at his house he had returned to after his trek in the ocean. He saw the pictures of his wife and children she had blessed him with, and all the lives they were out on their own leading with families of their own.
He looked around the room and saw his favorite chair in the same position he had left it. He headed over to it, and after sitting down and closing his eyes for a nap, Charlie joined him on
His lap in a coil.
Charlie was the only one to wake up.