Off The Beaten Path: Excerpts

Posted November 13, 2006 4:26 p.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 2:03 p.m. EDT

Read two selections from "Off The Beaten Path"

Trees and Clouds


Brunswick County

When I look at this photograph, I imagine an indigo bunting singing a spirited melody from the tallest branch.

I see a picnic at the top of the hill with a large checkered cloth on the ground. Fried chicken. Cole slaw. Watermelon.

The air is sweet with honeysuckle. I see a kickball rolling down the hill and taking ten minutes to retrieve.

I see my father, William A. Leslie, Jr. at his easel puffing on a pipe and sketching the pregnant clouds for his latest watercolor. I see myself squinting a bit, as I marvel at the sharp contrast between tree and cloud.

This is a place I'd like to tuck away in my memory and revisit. Peace abounds here. It reminds me of Beech Mountain before the bulldozers came.

Bill Leslie

Fishing Pier


Brunswick County

Nice legs! Tanned and fit.
All 243 give or take a few.

Propping up people on the pier.
Foundation of a fishing dream.

Blues are running today.
Youíre going to feel a lot of weight. We'll call you Atlas today.

Nice job during that last hurricane. You hung in there like a gladiator.
Some of your cousins collapsed into splashes of splinters.
How big a wave would it take to topple you?
Sorry. Didn't mean to distress you.

Sunlight. Starlight. You're always busy.

You're a landmark too.
People walk up and tag you and then turn around and walk back to the beach house.

What's the biggest fish you've seen?
Do you exaggerate like most fisher folk?

You're wired today.
Better hunker down and do your job.

Like your sea foam.
Ever been stung by a jellyfish?

Bill Leslie