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MASTERSON ONLINE: Back to the Creek


Twenty-six years of weekend reunions at Ken Reeves’ lake house floating at Coffman Cove on Bull Shoals Lake begin to show in the thinning gray hair, multiplying wrinkles and failing eyes of four schoolmates who graduated from the high school with smooth faces, piercing eyes and abundant hair in 1965.

Where, oh where, did all the years evaporate so quickly?

In May, I again joined Reeves, Don Walker and Dr. Bill Dill for our three-day gathering which regularly changed in nature to reflect the difference between the end of quarantine when we pledged to meet each spring after the premature death of our mutual. friend, Dr. William B. Hudson, and today, as we approach the life expectancy of adult males.

Seemingly overnight, while still remaining lifelong friends and appearing pretty much as we remembered through the years as young Harrison Goblins, we realize we’ve grown into septuagenarians who like to remember and reminisce. make us laugh at ourselves so much that we feel a three- pound bass on the end of our lines. No one is wrong.

The competitive nature that initially drove us through the waves at daybreak, regardless of the weather, has become more like cheerleading for others to succeed. And when it comes to dawn, we have the chance after several cups of coffee and conversation to pile up the boats and set off for nearby points and coves.

After all, we have to be back in the comfy armchairs and ready for one of Ken’s world-class breakfasts (country ham, Bull Shoals Benedict eggs, fresh hot biscuits with brushed butter and homemade jams) by 10 hours. You could say that our priorities have changed.

That’s not to say we’re not navigating our share of fish yet. Dr. Bill earned himself the undisputed title of best fisherman for a reason (not his proven root canal skills). It always catches the most fish, if not the biggest. And it suits us well. I just watch his technical skills and reap the rewards of his angling, especially when he volunteers to fillet the bass that ended up in our freezer.

Over the years, this reunion has taken on a, well, I guess you’d call it a quieter, softer nature. I would liken the mood to the plaintive song of a nightjar at dusk bouncing across the lake from a distant shore.

It usually takes at least a day to catch up on the latest life events and another to remember those now-gone friends and classmates that we loved and appreciated in our youth.

None of us have any illusions that we are not considered old people by most standards. We read the obituaries and happily remember how many have not reached our age. We have been fortunate to still meet each year on this peaceful lake.

When we started this weekend reunion, such discussions never crossed our minds even though we realized how fragile life is.

As for me, this spring I found myself in a particularly philosophical and reflective mood as I sat for a while on the deck alone, watching a breeze send rows of two-inch-high ripples across Coffman Cove.

If you allow me, I will change direction for a moment to try to explain how I have equated these little waves with the mysteries of consciousness that comprise what we call our individual lives.

If you’d rather not digest my digression into a sort of speculative courtesy that has nothing to do with organized religion or nautical bass, I’ll understand if you skip to some really interesting parts of our article.

To me, this deep, wide expanse of water we’ve come to call Bull Shoals feels like a universal divine consciousness that we share and never leave. I watched each of these rows of small waves follow one another and I imagined them a bit like individuals popping up in this world: there is a wave of identifiable Mike, followed by a wave of Ken, a wave of Don, Wave Bill, and so on (feel free to add your name here).

Never leaving their source, they briefly had identities formed by the breath of divine force to cause them to end up on a shore or eventually fade into the depths from which they emerged.

It makes sense to me that the pervasive consciousness we share exists before we arrive as an individually identifiable part of the whole, much like the lake, sea or an ocean endures as it continually absorbs us into its body while creating individually identifiable waves.

Hypnotized by this flow of ripples, my mind wandered to the so-called EGG experiments at Princeton designed to show the existence of universal world consciousness using random number generators. These devices have detected human reactions around the world to monumental world events such as world wars, air disasters and 9/11. Check it out if you think my wave is making fun of yours. Then find an online copy of Masaru Emoto’s fascinating book of experiments and truly amazing molecular-level photographs, “The Hidden Messages in Water.”

If all of this intrigues you, as I do, pick up copies of two fascinating books about Cleve Backster’s work: “The Secret Life of Plants” and “The Secret Life of Your Cells,” and explore what Backster said he had. found with experiments. involving the pervasive nature of human consciousness and emotion on virtually everything around us.

Being part of these weekends together over the decades has given us the opportunity to pause our lives and seek out such moments on the water to examine who, what and why we come to exist in this strange world. during a fragile time that feels so real while we’re at it.

In this year’s Bridge Reverie, I also recalled some of the most brilliant minds in history saying they believed that time as we know it is itself probably a construct that allows us to give a meaning to the events of this dense world, which at the time of the creator are in fact occurring all at once.

A close friend in Columbus, Ohio told me years ago that whenever I felt stressed or worried I should sit by the water for 30 minutes and take deep breaths. cleaning to help put life into perspective. Although she was an observer rather than a scientist, she was right.

And maybe my sharing of these random, loosely related lakeside thoughts will have some readers muttering, “See, Mom, I told you old Mikey’s as fruity as peach pie!” And that’s perfectly fine, since I enjoy a juicy peach pie.

I certainly don’t have an explanation of what this mysterious experience we share is. But no other human animal either, from anything I’ve read.

Yet I still possess the ability to watch, reason, and speculate while sitting quietly in this aquatic wonderland at Coffman Cove.

Further, dear readers, what difference will my food for thought today make in a short time when my wave and yours invariably dissolve into the depths of an all-pervading consciousness so powerful that it has driven missing dogs to find their way home through hundreds of strangers. kilometers?

Now go out into the world and treat everyone you meet exactly as you would like them to treat you.

Mike Masterson is a longtime Arkansas journalist, served as editor of three Arkansas daily newspapers, and directed the Ohio State University‘s Masters of Journalism program. Email him at [email protected]