This is an article about one of my not-so-good ideas.
My dad used to say that I was born with a fishing pole in my hand, and as a boy when I saw water I naturally grabbed one and headed out.
Or in this case down.
Down the embankment, sliding over the mossy and fern swept ground, slipping on the rain soaked snake of a trail – maybe made by snakes! – until I arrived muddy and scratched and beyond excitement at the edge of a swamp.
“There’s got to be something in here,” I said half aloud to reassure myself that this was a good idea while also warning anybody – or anything – that I was aware of their presence.
Then I laughed nervously. “Who would even come down here?”
Glancing down into the green-black depths of the stagnant water, I detected movement – or so I thought.
It was just off to the right, within casting distance, a ripple crossed the dank and dark surface and headed my direction.
“Was there something there?” I wondered.
“Couldn’t be,” I concluded. “One cast and I’m gone.”
Kerplunk! The plug bounced and bounced again off the algae covered water. Tugging on the line, I immediately felt the weight of – of – something.
And a dead weight it was. It resisted but didn’t struggle as I slowly reeled it in.
Then I saw why; I had the half of something.
With half a fish’s face missing, its black maw of a mouth gaped wide open as a bulbous, lifeless eye protruded.
Rolling over in the water, it revealed only darkness where the other half of its body should have been.
Stepping back in horror, I tripped and landed on my backside, but in doing so dragged the fish out of the water and onto the spot where I had just stood.
With its one eye firmly fixed on me and me unable to turn my eyes away, the seconds passed like minutes.
Returning home with my “catch,” I later mounted the half-fish above my mantle.
As a reminder of my misadventure – and as a conversation starter about the photograph of a small piece of forest wood.