Every Christmas I take my boat out on the lake by myself. As I was rowing tonight, I thought, “Oh, my God, it’s soooo cold! Why do I do this?” And then I got way out there and stopped and I remembered. It was so quiet. I felt peaceful. I was shivering. But I was happy.

I sat in my boat and looked out at pure darkness. The water was like ink. I couldn’t see the horizon. The sky was mostly black, with the stars covered up by the clouds. I could feel my heart breathing. The only thought I had was, “Oh, wow, I’m not thinking anything.”

I noticed the outline of a big grouper fish near my boat. It was looking at me and nodded.

I said, “Hello. Merry Christmas!”

The fish said, “The same to you.”

I was a little upset that my silent time had been disturbed. But then we didn’t say anything for a good half hour. It was nice being silent together.

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