The fishing story

Of all the deep joys of my life: making love to women, fishing, writing for myself, flying in dreams, walking anywhere with my kids – I am ambivalent about fishing. Well, not really. I fished early and often. It is deep magic and strong teaching; on still mornings listening to a million wet sounds, staring at a surface that just maybe, maybe, might give it up; exhilarating anticipation and a thudding surprise and a contest, often lost, well worth winning. I understand Allah does not subtract from his life the time a man spends fishing.

But the fish die, you know. I never bought the scowled excuse from the older guys that ‘they don’t feel pain like we do.’ I held them and watched them in their big-eyed terror, gasping. They bleed red blood and they quiver and they die. I eat them. I always eat them, even the smallest, as my atonement for this.

The fish are gone now, too; they’re not there like they were when I was a boy. Just fished out. Too many people. Too small an ocean. So this wonderful lesson in life and dying; I don’t know if it should be learned any more. Folks say if you teach a child to fish by age twelve, the urge never goes away. If you don’t, they never get it. I guess I’ll take my kids fishing and think about it.

Comments are closed.