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21

Fishing Lake
March 2010
 
            I’d seen Mr. Railing drifting on the small lake in his pontoon boat the day before. He waved at us sitting in the small clearing I’d made through the vines and blackberry canes. 
            “Catch anything?” I called.
            “Eh?” he puts his hand behind his ear. Try it: everything sounds different when you cup your ear.
            “Get any fish?” I rephrase.
            “Naw. Water’s too cold.” He pushed on and we chatted on.
             Seems funny to be camping without electricity or piped water in the midst of people watching Fox News and running their computers. But, that’s how it is here on Sunset Lane. 
            The land Jim bought, when he and I were together, there beside me, has a nice white plastic dock and one of those pop out campers. I’ve never met those guys who bought Jim’s acres, because either when they were coming to the lake, I was at the river, or now that I’m coming back, they are somewhere else. 
            “Strange how they spent so much time and money on that place and never come,” Mr. Railing says to me every time he drives his electric cart over to see if anyone tending the fire.
            “Mighty dry. Drove past a big fire ‘tween here and Gainesville yeste’da,” he warms. “Driest winter in years.”
            “Coldest too,” I chime in. “He dug the pit deep…like it used to be. Thanks for checking,” I say.
 
 It takes two of us to clear: one pulling and cutting, while the other burns.         
                          
            Twenty three years of no mowing brings me to the four days my son and I are spending tearing down vines and blackberry canes just to see the lakes from my peninsula now.
 
              Anyway, there’s Mr. Railing on his pontoon boat, having replied that water’s too cold for fish to bite.
 
            Next day, though, I had the 10’ snag pole hooked onto a vine thick as my wrist pulling as hard as my hundred pound, 68 year old body can yank. 
            “Splash,” comes from around the point of land I’m clearing, from the little lake.
            First the sound, then I saw it and heard the “Whoosh:” big bird, looks like an eagle, flying low over the lake towards Gary’s. Fighting for its life, a bass the size of a big man’s foot, struggles, flipping its tail oppositely from its head. 
            “Aw…Aw…break loose…Drop it…Wow…Good fisherman,” I call as I watch the bird of prey catch his lunch.
 
            The next day too, about the same time, same scene. Good fisherman. 
 
            Third day though, he hovered, dropped down, splashed, but no fish.
 
            Must be a good fishing lake.
           
 
             
 

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