I asked the universe for sunshine and good conversation today, and I got both about a mile out of Eldon. A small bridge crossed a tidal marsh and, as I approached, the sun peeked through the clouds, illuminating a flock of geese paddling gently through the water. I left the road just as a heron soared into a nearby tree; traffic passed by oblivious to the moment of magic that seemed to be revealed to only me.
I heard a car door close and turned aroundto see Pat descending the same path towards the water, carrying a camera and a tripod. We talked for 15 minutes about geese and red-tailed hawks and turkey vultures. Later that afternoon, ten miles down the road, I ran into him trying to get a good shot of a male kingfisher.
”The thing about travelling,” he said ”is that you can be anyone you want. You can tell any story you like.” I asked him what he meant. ”Well, this one time I went on a cruise down in the Caribbean. I was meant to go with a travel agent friend, but he got cancer and had to cancel at the last minute. When I got down there, I was overwhelemd by the size of the boat and the number of people. One evening, I got talking to a young guy about travelling, saying that what I enjoyed was being anyone I wanted. He said, how do you mean, and I said, well, you can tell people that you’re a bounty hunter or studying to be a priest or something.
”Later on, we were at a group trivia game, and the activities girl was going around the circle having us introduce ourselves. When she got to that guy, he said ’I’m a bounty hunter’, so when it got to me, I had no option, I had to say I was studying to be a priest.”
I laughed and said that the thing about those lies is that you can’t really lie to yourself. ”Yeah,” he said, ”but that wasn’t the problem, the problem was the beautiful blond Australian woman I just told that I was on my way to becoming a priest!”