Saturday, October 31, 2009

Skunked, but it's OK

I've spent the last day or two fighting the flu--tiny nucleic acids have invaded my body and taken over the genetic machinery of millions of my cells. Life goes on.

I fished under the moonlight. I felt the bump of a fish gnawing at the clam I shucked last week, then brined. The clam is dead, the fish now fed.

Sand pipers chirped as they worked the beach where I fished, as though I was invisible--each time they truffled through the wet sand with their beaks, they killed a few more tiny lives. Life goes on.

While wading out to cast, I saw a small fin slice through the foamy surf--likely a young striped bass slicing through the current, munching up critters less adept in the swirling currents.

I caught nothing tonight. Skunked. A few hundred years ago, that would be cause for concern, but I can wander over to the Acme Supermarket today. A few hundred years ago, "skunked" did not happen. Life goes on.

I'd take Arne Duncan fishing if he cared to go, without his entourage, and if he promised to pay attention. Not to me, but to life around him. When his house of cards collapses, when the "Race to the Top" falls the way of the "Initial Teaching Alphabet" (ITA), maybe The Scarecrow will have a brain.

My neighbor across the street is a scalloper--he dredges the sea for the scallops you find on your table. He's more useful to our world than the Secretary of Education.

Really. Try eating a white paper on the intricacies of the complexities of the necessities of modern schooling. Then go fishing with someone who knows how to fish.

A full belly trumps a fool's bellow.

The picture of fishheads was taken in Dublin by Leslie this past July.


Doug Noon said...

"A full belly trumps a fool's bellow." Beautiful!

While mindful of the irony in saying so, even though you didn't catch any fish, you didn't come away completely empty-handed.

In an earlier version of what I think of as 'my life,' I was squatting in an abandoned haybarn in a Northern Idaho National Forest for the winter. I read this quote from Thoreau's "Higher Laws":I have found repeatedly, of late years, that I cannot fish without falling a little in self-respect. I have tried it again and again. I have skill at it, and, like many of my fellows, a certain instinct for it, which revives from time to time, but always when I have done I feel that it would have been better if I had not fished. I think that I do not mistake. It is a faint intimation, yet so are the first streaks of morning. There is unquestionably this instinct in me which belongs to the lower orders of creation; yet with every year I am less a fisherman, though without more humanity or even wisdom; at present I am no fisherman at all. But I see that if I were to live in a wilderness I should again be tempted to become a fisher and hunter in earnest.

I resolved, then, to give up eating meat that I did not kill myself. I eat fish, now, since I've never been desperate enough to go after anything harder to catch. And still, I often come home having only fished. Nobody's perfect, as we sometimes tell ourselves.

doyle said...

Dear Doug,

I really enjoyed your comment, as well as I enjoyed your latest post on Woody Guthrie.

I never come home empty handed when I fish, and I suspect you never do either.

(The only time I'd be truly frustrated is if I came home empty-handed after clamming at my favorite bed--it would mean that I was too greedy in the past.)

doyle said...

Here's the link to Doug's latest--I am a knucklehead when it comes to the a tag:

Doug's blog Borderland is always worth a vist. His latest post is "This Machine Kills Fascists." Good stuff!

Unknown said...

One of my students wrote a "letter to America" and it reminded me of the notion of hard work vs. simply having an education. She never mentions education in it, but it was still pretty cool. It's one of those pieces where she asked for a lot of grammatical advice and I sometimes worry that it has too much of my "voice" in it. But it's still pretty cool