MISS MOOX + time


Yesterday evening I sat down by the water near sunset, next to the old mill pond just downstream from where the water pours over a high dam. Three other people shared my spot, a dad and his son who were fishing, and the mom who sat on a bench and watched and chain-smoked.

A great deal of excitement ensued as a fish snagged on one of the rods. The father and son carefully reeled it in, ensuring that their lines didn't cross, and brought ashore a flopping fish of reasonable size. After it was unsnagged from the hook, the son excitedly called, "I'm going to go down here to clean it," and brought it down to the water's edge to a gravelled boat launch. Armed with a knife, he began to rip a slit in its belly up from the anal fin. However, he was somewhat hampered by the fish's flapping, so he abruptly stabbed it through the head. Once its movement had stopped, he carried on with the laborious, somewhat messy process of gutting, skinning, and cutting it into filets of meat. It took him some time, but he was obviously quite proud of his skill.

At one point, his father tossed him the headless body of a small fish and ordered, "Russell, cut me some bait." Russell, the flop-golden-haired little boy, proudly and manfully sawed it into two chunks, discarding the tail into the water, and tossed them back up to his father, who ribbed him about not being able to throw straight.

As I watched, I smiled. I thought, "That's a good thing for a boy to know. And if I ever had a son, I'd want him to be able to do that."

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Relevant to: Fish + time