Last week, a doe we have named Brownie, dines on acorns scattered across our lawn. I walk toward her. Pop, the firecracker nut announces my approach. Spooked by the alarm, she walks to the woods.
Today, I avoid acorns as I approach her. Other deer lift tails and run. Brownie lingers. I recall my wife, Suzan’s, observation this morning. “Brownie’s inquisitive. She’s different from the other deer. Brownie wants to know us.”
“Hi Ray, I haven’t seen you since high school. What have you been up to?”
“Hey, Richard, great to see you. I pick up garbage for the village.”
“Really? Alone?” I ask.
The dance floor is as wide as an ocean. She sits alone, on the distant shore. Her boyfriend likely talks football with classmates. Team captain, he is. Now is my chance to ask her to dance. What if she says no? All my friend’s eyes are glued on me. Jane is Homecoming Queen. Why would she dance with me?
An endless, temperate, late spring day lay before us when Dad and I stood waist deep in the cold green water of Crystal Lake. We were fishing for pan fish.
“I got another one,” Dad shouted. His fly rod arched, pointing toward the hooked sunfish that swam circles beneath the water’s glass-like surface. We had fished for a couple of hours. Dad’s creel, a fabric pouch he strapped to his waist just above water line, bulged with the day’s catch.
I fish for trout and pan fish. My gear includes a lightweight fly rod, artificial flies for bait, and fish line that breaks with a tug from a fish larger than two pounds. I want to give my fish a fighting chance. So, when I hooked a musky that was significantly larger and heavier than a pan fish, my fly rod pointed in the direction of his retreat. Like an alligator, he slid past me. His green back glowed in the afternoon sun. My fish line broke when he plunged into deeper water.
“Oh, no, I lost him!” I shouted into the silence.
“Heck you did. You didn’t loose him. You never had him,” Dad’s reply echoed back from a memory of another time.
Dad was right. We can’t loose something we never possessed. My real loss was the hand tied, artificial fly that I fixed to my line ten minutes earlier and lost with the musky.
About the Author
Richard Wilberg is a coach, musician, photographer, and former business leader who lives in Madison, Wisconsin.