Wednesday, August 29, 2012
When we unpacked the trunk of my grandfather's car, he took out, in addition to many cases of Genessee and Carling Black Label beer, a small, black and white television.
I asked him why.
"For the moon landing," he said.
As I came out of that fever into a place that I had never been before, everything had a bright sunny glare of strange newness--the glistening scales of the first fish I ever caught, the wet blueberries in the sink that we had found growing wild as we hiked a local hill and that my grandmother would make into a pie, the ripples in the water on both sides of the rowboat as my brother and I took turns rowing to a small, uninhabited island out in the middle of the lake.
Everything except the snapping turtles.
The snapping turtles were creatures of the night, and my uncle would try to trap them with fish parts left from the day's expedition that he would place in the shallow water by the dock.
At twelve, I stared long enough that I knew what I was seeing even though I couldn't see it clearly, but it was the turtles that made it real, for with a potent mix of fear and fascination of those reptiles, I walked out of the porch and down by the docked boats to look for them, but I forgot the flashlight, and only when I looked up at the light of the moon did I make the connection for the first time.