The moon over Madison, Mississippi is a crescent -- a fingernail moon that looks eerily like the French manicure I had yesterday – just a sliver of bright white against a black sky. It softly illuminates the lake and the cypress trees that thrust through the water and reach magestically toward the night sky.
It’s the same moon that shines half a world away over Sicily where I’ve spent time this month eating, drinking and learning the history, culture and foodways of this ancient land. But this moon is mine…because it shines on my place, my home. The land I stand on is ancient too with it’s own proud history. I’ve contributed to that history today, adding holy moments of my own to the continuum of life on this plot of ground. Today was Annelle’s birthday and what better way to mark the years –over five decades -- than spending a glorious day in the natural world.
Yesterday we were in girlie mode – hair color, manicures, pedicures and the works – dressed in our finest and ready for a night on the town. Today we celebrate not only a birthday but the other side of our personalities – the one with no makeup, grungy t-shirts, hair in ponytails and yesterday’s manicures chewed away by the sharp teeth of big bass. With the backdrop of cypress trees, water, sun and sky our focus is on lures, weights, lines and most of all FISH.
One of us (Margaret) catches the biggest fish any of us have ever seen and it takes all three to land it. We squeal. We run in circles trying to figure out how to get Moby Dick out of the water then off the hook. We take endless numbers of photographs on our iPhones. It’s a team effort and we revel in the accomplishments of the best fisher among us. At the end of the day we have all caught big fish, and there are fish stories aplenty to share with friends and loved ones.
Our fishing day ends after night falls. We can’t see our lures landing on the water. Can fish see in the dark? We finally pack our things, tripping over rods and lines and lures and the remnants of a picnic and just a few cold beers. We head for home and the responsibilities of the real world that await each of us.
September in Sicily was a once-in-a lifetime experience -- but it’s now only a dreamy dream and half a world away. Tonight my feet are firmly planted on familiar ground. I’m home where I belong under the Mississippi moon. With a tackle box full of memories I leave the lake and my friends. Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, I click my heels together and say three times “There’s no place like home.”