The old man went fishing for intelligence. He took his row boat out into deep waters – where the deep thoughts were, and dropped his brain anchor overboard. His fingers trickled through his bucket of bait and pulled out a bit of grey matter to fix to his hook. He cast his line out and thought about catching something really big, like Santiago did. His thoughts wandered from there. He leaned back and breathed in the salt air. The beach was just a thin line on the horizon, and everything else was ocean. The water was calm. The old man could lean over the edge of the boat and see shadows of ideas darting around far below the surface. He was waiting for one of those ideas to take hold of his line. It didn’t matter if it took a minute or an hour or an afternoon, that’s just the way it was.
When he was a young boy, he had gone fishing with his grandfather at the old jetty. They sat on the end with their legs dangling over and talked about school and family and the book shelf his grandfather had been making for for his father. The wood stain he had been using was all over his hands and clothes and the smell hung about like he’d never left his shed. Fishing with his grandfather, he caught the whiff of those wood stained hands and never let it go. They sat there for hours without a bite, and bought fish and chips for dinner from the corner store.
The old man caught nothing, yet he found himself thinking of what he’d do if he did. Maybe he’d digest it. Maybe he’d cook it in a stew. Maybe he’d put it in the pond behind his house and let it grow. Maybe he’d release it back into the ocean. The smell of salt air had since become synonymous with the smell of his grandfather’s hands. It was only then he realised, he’d been fishing his whole life.