By Michael Suchorsky
It is my nature to merge with the life forms around me. That is, to imagine how a particular animal might experience the world. On this particular spring night, while driving along the reservoir, I merged with a brown trout.
A cool soft fluid expanse bounded on three sides by hardness and a bright top of nothingness, this was home. Now was the time of the warming, when the subtle lights grew shorter as the source extended its dance on the surface tension. It was this time during the cycle that into the subtle light was introduced the soft yellow glow. It was on these nights when muscle, teeth and flick of power brought easy feasting in the soft yellow. It was this light cycle that flick and dart met with a slam on the upside mouth. A pull more powerful than all the muscles of sleek strong body dominant in life. Something other, beyond all knowing, forced a direction unwanted. Feel the power. The deep cut of the pain. Gripped by panic, will and expression, leap beyond the expanse into nothingness. Three times strike the expanse in fit and fury. Three times slice the nothingness and writhe in exultant defiance. Here on the third thrust there is release, a return of self-control, diving to the darker depths to taste ones own blood…and brood.
Mozart flowing through my headphones filled me with calm as I turned on to the bridge. Driving out across the water, the music of Mozart was counterpointed by the perfect placement of Jupiter, balanced midpoint below Castor and Pollex. Venus, still visible above the mountain, was dancing along with dimly lit Mars in near-perfect conjunction. Mars as well as Saturn were looking rather dull these days, for their appointed rounds had them travelling far from the earth, adding many million of miles of distance before their reflected sunlight reached my eyes this night.
Planets and stars spilling across the vaulted midnight blue sky were mimicked here in this water-filled valley by the lighted boats scattered out on the reservoir tonight. The East Branch of the Delaware River was slowed behind a dam built in Downsville in the 1950s and backed up maybe twenty some miles to create this reflecting pool amidst the mountains. Each boat in the reflecting pool was adorned with lanterns which emulated the night sky, seemingly drifting in the night sky that was reflected on the water. As I drove over the bridge, the many points of light stretched above and below; it was as if I were driving through the sky.
The men in the boats drifted all night with the stars, waiting for a glistening, fighting brown trout to burst forth. The lanterns surrounding each boat were suspended from hooks at approximately forty-five degree angles and each had aluminum foil wrapped around three sides of the lantern. These lanterns attracted sawbellies and minnows. Large brown trout darted up from the cool dark depths to feed upon these schools of baitfish amidst star and lantern. The fisherman had their own fish baited on hooks floating below the schools—the plan being, that the trout would come upon their hooked fish before reaching the main school above.
Strange, I thought, how the lighted boats matched the intensity of the brighter stars: Vega, Arcturus, Regula. Candlelight and thermo-nuclear fires in perfect balance at these distances. Arcturus, puffed up to 25 times the size of the sun and shining one hundred times more luminous, projected—from 36 light years away—the same amount of heat as a candle held at a distance of four miles. I felt star and lantern warmth and embraced all that I beheld. This warmth was magnified by the music of Mozart as I, shrouded in a fuzzy happiness, drove comfortably through the night. Starlight and trout juxtaposed in my mind, their patterns overlapped as the nearly incomprehensible time scales played one another. Arcturus’ reflection danced upon the ripples created by a brown trout and these two points of creation conjoined with the third point, me, as witness. A triangular connection that danced in mind. I thought, moments like this find the universe as one vibrating song.
I remembered that Arcturus was a wandering star, only appearing in the Earth’s sky view relatively recently. When it first appeared it was quite dim but had slowly increased in brightness as it approach our sun at a steady 90 miles a second. Ninety miles a second, millennia after millennia, bringing it close enough to be the fourth brightest star in the sky. But Arcturus will continue on its way cutting across the star fields and in a half a million years will be gone, never to be seen from earth again.
All these numbers, everything expressed itself in numbers. The beauty of Mozart was based on the numerical timing of the notes as well as the numerical relationship of the intervals of the notes which, in turn, each note vibrating at a particular speed that designated the individual tone of that particular frequency. Numbers…the orbits of all objects in the heavens could be calculated with mathematics. The trout and I were made up of myriads of cells and within each cell a miniature electro-chemical fire powered the cell and, in turn, me and the trout. The cells were ultimately reduced to molecular structures made up of combinations of elements, each with their atomic number—weight, size, number of orbiting electrons and on and on down from the macrocosm into the microcosm. Down and down and down until, maybe, you meet the vibrating string of the new physics of string theory. What’s the number of that vibration?
I broke into a Leonard Cohen song, “They say there was a secret code, that David knew and it pleased the Lord. But you don’t really like music, now do you? It goes like this the fourth the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift, the baffled king composing hallelujah.”