Old Jugglers

A white-bearded fisherman was arranging his nets on a pier in the early morning, near an old juggler, who had shared the pier with him for years. He took a moment to watch the juggler throw a ball as high as she could into the air. It was windy, and they both noticed an interesting wobble in the ball that neither had ever seen before.

A second, younger juggler, seeing that a small crowd of people had begun to gather, stood up and swiftly threw three more balls into the air, and then, worried it was not enough, added a chainsaw, a baby, and a flaming scimitar.

Together, the two jugglers stepped forward to catch the items as they descended. The younger audience in the crowd pushed forward to gasp as the pair caught the chainsaw, the baby, and the flaming sword. No longer content with balls, the younger juggler left the three balls he’d thrown to the older juggler, who caught them softly and easily, before moving her gaze back to the first ball, still descending, still spinning in a way she’d never seen.

By the time the final ball returned to earth, the young juggler had moved on in search of bigger crowds. The fisherman could hear him in the distance, throwing bells, wine bottles, firecrackers and anything else he could find.

The old juggler reached for the ball with her wrinkled hand, and it made a soft sound that reminded the old fisherman of his first new baseball glove, the one that his mother had given to him on a Christmas when he’d expected only socks.

The fisherman nodded at the juggler, and she nodded back, just for a moment, before each turned back to their days. There were fish to be caught, each a little different, to a fisherman who knew how to look.

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