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All stories are written by Tracy R. L. O’Flaherty

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Beyond Hunter's World

Spending the day with my grandpa is so good. Spending the day fishing with my grandpa is beyond good. Today, my grandpa and I were going fishing. This is a time that I truly look forward to, the warm breeze, my fishing hat and fishing pole, and the company that I love. Today, we were going fishing!

"Are you ready, Hunter?"

"I am ready. I haven't slept very much. I was so excited about this day."

"It is early. You know the best time to fish is early morning."

"I know, grandpa, I know."

Off we went with our picnic basket and our equipment that would be needed for the day. Today, my grandpa had decided to try a new fishing spot, one that I had never been to.

Down the road we went in my grandpa's truck filled with the remnants of our last fishing trip. My grandpa likes to leave things to be tidied for another day. I think it is a good thing, as I always know the fishing net is in the back with the tackle box and the cooler for our drinks.

"Do you think we will catch many fish today, grandpa?"

"I don't know. We will soon find out if this fishing spot has more luck for us."

"Do you think it takes luck to catch a fish?"

"Sometimes... Hunter, it takes much luck and patience. It also takes a willingness to be still and find the day in perfection even if a fish isn't caught."

"Grandpa, we fish to catch fish. It isn't much fun when we don't catch one."

"Why is that, Hunter?"

"I guess because we are going fishing to catch fish, and if that doesn't happen, it is sort of like the day was wasted."

"Wasted? That is interesting that you say that."

"Why? Don't you feel like the day would be wasted?"

"I see the world a little differently than you."

"Perhaps, but you still want to catch a fish."

"Hunter, I have been thinking, what if today we don't catch a fish? What if today, we go fishing just to soak in the beauty of Mother Nature?"

"Grandpa! What are you talking about?"

"You feel that the day would be wasted if a fish was not caught, and I want to show you that the day would not be wasted if a fish is not caught."

I shrugged my shoulders and rolled my eyes. I couldn't believe what my grandpa was saying. I was looking so forward to my day of fishing, and now, we weren't fishing. Now, I didn't know what we were doing.

"Here is the spot, Hunter."

"Well, what is the point? Are we even taking our rods out of the back of the truck?"

"I will tell you what. We will take our fishing rods but we will not place the line in the water."

"Grandpa, this is silly."

"Hunter, it is far from silly, and I do think that you will understand by day's end."

"I don't understand now. I want to fish, grandpa, that's why we are here. That is why we are spending the day, to fish. You know, to catch fish."

"Hunter, you said the day would be wasted if no fish were caught. I would like to show you beyond the beyond."

"Beyond the beyond? Grandpa, did you get hit on the head or something? Don't you want to fish?"

"Hunter, I am of sound mind. I do enjoy fishing, but mostly, I enjoy my day with you."

"Grandpa, this is going to be a long day. It will be wasted."

"Let us see what happens before noon."

"Then will we fish?"

"No, we are not fishing today, and we are most certainly not wasting the day."

I rolled my eyes once again not understanding why my grandpa took me so seriously. I wouldn't have said the day would be wasted if we didn't catch fish if I knew we wouldn't be fishing. I should just learn to stay quiet.

"Grandpa, if I didn't say anything about wasting the day, we would be fishing. I should have been quiet."

"You will be quiet."

"Pardon? Now what?"

"Let us get to the rock and sit down."

We walked for a bit in the lush green. Tall trees surrounded all things. I looked up in amazement as I could hardly see the blue in the sky the trees were so tall.

"Grandpa, look up."

"Yes, Hunter, isn't that a miracle?"

"A miracle? I don't know if it is a miracle, but it sure is something to look at. I feel so small compared to these trees."

As we walked, I kept looking beyond. And then I remembered my grandpa's words about beyond the beyond.

Perhaps, he did mean the trees. Perhaps, I was to see something that I didn't know about. I started to relax about not fishing. I was so captivated with the beauty of the forest, I just forgot about fishing for one moment.

"Are you keeping up, Hunter?"

"I am keeping up. Grandpa, this place that you chose for today, it is beautiful."

"That it is, Hunter, that it is. We are almost to the water."

I walked along behind my grandpa. I walked in his steps and I could feel it. I could feel that all he wanted was to show me something good, that perhaps, spending the day together is never a waste no matter what we do.

"Grandpa, do you like fishing?" I asked as we neared the water.

"Yes, my boy, I enjoy fishing, but truly, I think I will enjoy not fishing even better."

"Even better? No way, fishing is great."

"There is the rock. Look, Hunter."

I looked across to the most peaceful place that I had ever seen.

"Grandpa, how come we never came here before?"

"I was waiting."

"Waiting for what?"

"I was waiting for you to be old enough to see the beauty."

"Grandpa, are you sure you didn't hit your head?"

"Grandson of mine, I have not hit my head."

"You are talking funny today. You are acting funny today."

"Hunter, today is a very special day."

"What is today?"

"A day spent with you."

"Grandpa, we spend many days together."

"This day, this day will be very special."

"Not if we don't fish," I said rolling my eyes once again.

"Come, find a place beside me on this rock."

The rock was very large and sat in a perfect place to see almost everything. It was like the sky had opened after being in the tall trees, and now we sat and all I could see was the sky."

"Hunter, what colour do you think the sky is today?"

"Grandpa, are you okay? The sky is blue. Look, it is blue."

"I understand it is blue, but if you were going to tell someone what colour the sky was this day, what would you say?"

"I would say it was blue."

"Hunter, try to explain to me what the colour of the sky is as if I have never ever seen the sky before."

"Grandpa, this is silly. It is blue."

"Hunter, sit very quietly, look towards the sky. Look up and beyond. See beyond the beyond."

I shrugged my shoulders and took a deep breath.

I gazed about. I did notice that there was almost a world within a world. There was no end to the colour of blue, and yet, it wasn't all the same shade of blue. Why hadn't I noticed? To my left there were light clouds. They weren't full and big. They were like you took a paintbrush and painted white across the blue.

I looked over to see my grandpa in a place that looked like heaven. The water was crystal clear. I could see the rocks, the pebbles, just beneath the surface from which we sat. Behind me were the tall trees. It truly was breathtaking.

As my grandpa sat quietly waiting for me to see beyond the beyond, I went back to gazing at the sky.

The sun was high in the sky and it was hard to look at for any length of time. The breeze I could feel as it moved my hair. And I felt as though time stopped, that time had just stopped... like a photograph. It looked like a photograph. I was so quiet. I was so still in my thoughts. I almost forgot what I was to share.

"Grandpa, I think I understand what you are asking of me. I think I understand that there is more than just a blue sky."

"Hunter, tell me in your own words, what the sky looks like. Tell me as though I have never seen the sky before."

I took a deep breath and felt like the words were just not there. I looked up and then I spoke. "Grandpa, the sky is endless. It doesn't matter where you look, the sky is always above, and not only above, but all around. The sky has no beginning, and it would appear that it has no end. The sky changes colours. Today, the sky is blue, but different tones of blue. There are white clouds that look like strokes from a paintbrush, and grandpa, it looks as though, the sun's rays are beaming down upon us. The colour in the rays from the sun looks like a rainbow. Not a rainbow in an archway, but a rainbow of brilliant colours. If you only look at the sun's beams of light, you can see the different colours. There is a pink shade, some blues, some green, and the most fascinating yellow colour. It is fascinating because it changes right before your eyes. It looks like white light, then yellow light, then almost an orange light, but mostly it looks white, but a white that you can see through. Not white like the clouds, white like shining white light. Grandpa, the sky is blue with many colours today. I didn't notice all the colours at first. I only saw the blue sky."

"Thank you, Hunter. You shared that beautifully."

"Grandpa, the reflection of the sky is also seen in the water. It is like it is a mirror. The water is so calm and peaceful, that you only see the sky in it."

"Hunter, can you now see beyond the beyond?"

"I can, grandpa."

"Can you see that we are part of Mother Earth?"

"Well, we live here."

"Hunter, I mean, can you see and feel that you are part of the beauty that surrounds us?"

"I don't know, grandpa. I never thought about it."

"Look beyond the beyond. Hunter, see yourself as One with nature and tell me what you see. Tell me what you feel."

I was so captivated at this new world I had found. Nothing looked the same. Everything became alive in front of me. The colours of green were endless shades of green. The blue of the sky and the reflection on the water was everything it could have been. The breeze was soft and I wanted to take my shoes and socks off to feel the coolness of the rock in which we sat upon. I removed my old shoes and tucked my socks inside, and as I placed my feet upon the stone, I felt it. I felt the warmth of the sun in the coolness. I felt the sun upon my hair and face and I could feel the breeze taking away the heat, but allowing me to feel the warmth. I looked out across the water and I could see it. I could see beyond the beyond, and in one moment's time, I knew I belonged.

"Grandpa, thank you. Thank you for showing me the beyond."

My grandpa placed his arm around my shoulders and he kicked off his shoes and removed his socks with his free hand. As he placed his feet down upon the stone, he said to me, "This is Mother Earth. This, Hunter, is who you truly are."

I don't think I would have understood if I hadn't sat quietly to see beyond the beyond. I knew the gift that was given, and I knew that no day could ever be wasted, that Mother Earth surrounds us like the sky surrounds Mother Earth. And how could that ever be a waste?

My grandpa sat quietly allowing me to sit quietly.

As we were soaking in the beauty, to my surprise, a fish swam over to the rock. It was a small fish and I could see the colours in the sunlight. I could see the sun's light shine upon this little fish.

"Look at that, Hunter. Look at that. Do you want to try and catch the fish?"

I studied the fish as he stayed just below the rock as if to say, We are One. I know you. We are friends.

I shook my head and I told my grandpa that fishing was better without taking the fish out of the water.

As we looked upon the fish, I could see beyond the beyond. I could feel beyond the beyond.

"Grandpa, I like this fishing day the best."

"I do as well, Hunter. I do as well."

We watched as the little one left us. He swam slowly as if he was saying goodbye, but not really goodbye. It was almost like he was saying, thank you.

My grandpa and I sat on that rock most of the day. It was as though time stood still in the peacefulness of life itself. This was the most perfect fishing day that I had ever had, or will ever have, that I am sure.

"Grandpa, let's do this again. Next time, we will leave the fishing rods at home."

"Do you mean that I will have to clean the truck?"

"I will help you put everything back in the garage."

We smiled and we knew that our next fishing outing would only be beyond the beyond.

The End

Love is the Answer ~ Love is Always the Answer

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