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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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A Fisherman Seen

 

by Bill Schroeter

 

 

 

            When the Grey Heron I could not see squawked its raucous protest at being disturbed, some stillness I could not discern came over me. I did not cast again; just stood waist deep in the slow and turgid brown water, feeling eyes upon me.

 

            Dark green chest waders and my thick grey and brown moustache perhaps had me mistaken for a walrus, oddly upright. Out of my element so completely as if to suggest I had tipped myself off a frozen floe of blue-white ice, and swum south. Along the craggy grayness of the modern world; then turned west into the inlet, shocking surfers intent on beating me to the line-up. My flippers would have flicked them off their fancy fiberglass manhoods.

 

            The water became cedared and dark, with the flavors of muskrat and trout. The intrusion of barking dogs and the hum from traffic-noises I had never heard. I finally found myself standing here, fishing for unfamiliar morsels.

 

            The Grey Heron’s green eyes watched me unseen through the reeds. The split-level vision of pooled trout eyed me as if I were a giant nymph, ready to roll downstream. The still unformed vision of the biggest insect they would ever see. The trout spoke to each other in wonder.

 

            “This could be the meal of meals!”

 

            “Yes, it must be eaten, or the metamorphosis to whatever insect this is will become our hunter, huger than we could ever imagine.”

 

            Somehow this thought permeated the very water, filtered through the air. All who could understand it responded.

 

            The largest toads and bullfrogs kissed their mates goodbye; patted their tadpoles warty heads with padded fingers.

 

            “Wait for me my family. I will try to partake for us all, from this great gift from The Kingdom.”

 

            I could feel them swimming towards me slowly, furtively. Legs silently kicking; fins moving so slightly. I heard - the slight cracking of small twigs from awkward stalkers, the grey heron honing its yellow bill on a smooth stone.

            With a shiver from nowhere I cast my line again. The worm on my hook wriggled its last breath, gasping.

 

            “It is just another fisherman, come to cast his futile life upon our waters.