Chris Dombrowski’s new work of non-fiction, Body of Water, is a lyrical walk on the white sand of the Bahama bonefish flats and you’ll have to rinse its silky stone remnants off your feet when you’re finished, close your eyes, feel a Caribbean wind and cast out. If poetry can find its way into non-fiction, Chris has taken us there. Body of Water could have only been written by a poet, who also happens to be a famed Montana fly fishing guide. And who also happens to be a genuinely self-aware and humble human being in love with Water and the Earth she cleans. To say this book is about fly fishing, is to distinctly miss its mark…
Requisite disclosure: Chris also happens to be a friend, and after reading Body of Water you’ll wish he was yours too. In the smallness that is the pale blue dot of our world, I met him years back at a brew pub in Bellingham, where he and I and David James Duncan shared a table, drank red wine instead of ale, and talked about music. Not fishing. We did talk about poetry, if that’s even separate from song. Chris was in town teaching and speaking at a poetry conference after the publication of his collection By Cold Water.
Further requisite disclosure: Chris also happens to be perhaps my favorite human on the planet. I know a few others as wonderful, but none more so. As is evident in the book, Dombrowski is an aggregate study of many disciplines; history, geology, words, people. Self. And it’s fair to say he’s well versed on all of them, though he notes finding the truth between their relationships to each other is difficult. Still, within the conflict and the pain and struggle, at the heart of Body of Water he finds the underlying wonder of it all.
After finishing the last page I flipped back to an early passage, where Chris, ever a Poet, wrote it best:
“Headed toward the setting sun, a lobster boat moved loudly through the channel. A wave folded in beneath our feet and varnished the black stones under the dock. Above us, in darkening branches, a dove cooed, then ceased its cooing, and, reminded of a poem, I wasn’t quite sure which I liked better: its song or the quiet just after”