Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Veritas Metaphorae I: The One About Fishing

On a bright, sunny day I sat by a lake and dangled my feet in the water. I was leaning back on my elbows, my face was raised to the sky, my eyes were closed, and a smile had snuck onto my mouth. I was taking a break from fishing, and enjoying the way the sun would heat the skin on my face until a cloud passed over, and the cooler shadow would make my skin tingle.
My fishing pole lay at my side, mostly forgotten. I'd been fishing for a while, and now the line was tangled and the hook was rusty.

My repose was broken at one point by something in the water brushing against my feet. I sat up and peered into the clear blue lake. To my surprise a fish had settled in the space between my feet. This wasn't an ordinary fish, either. It was beautiful! Its golden scales were of such a saturated color they appeared almost black. The fins were long and soft; they were what I felt brushing my feet. They streamed and swirled out from the fish's body in long gossamer strands, so that it seemed almost that the ripples in the water were black against the clear blue of the lake.

I gazed in surprised awe on the fish, and it seemed as though she was meeting my gaze. Where did she come from? Why was she here, now, resting near my feet?
I looked at my bent, tangled fishing pole in disgust. I couldn't catch her with that. Besides, "catch" seemed like the wrong word. "Catch" implies pursuit. "Catch" implies possession. I had little doubt that many other fishermen had tried to capture this beautiful fish. I didn't want to capture; I didn't want to own.
I wanted the fish, but I wanted her to want me as well. Hopefully that was why she had taken refuge by my feet! I wanted a tacit agreement between us that we needed each other. Even if I had the best fishing pole in the world, with a lure guaranteed to attract attention, and bait impossible to withstand I wouldn't use it. I couldn't. She was worth more than that.

I looked at my hands. They are scarred and bent from age and use, but they'd do. They'd have to do. I would just slightly slip my hand into the water, so gentle and slow that it wouldn't startle her. I'd cup my fingers, creating a gentle sling to hold her with. Not like a belt, but more like a mattress. I'd let her get used to my presence there in the water with her. And then, after enough time, she'd slide onto my hand and rest herself with a sigh.

I could do this. I would do this. I carefully raised my hand and prepared to slip it down into the water. But before my fingers could actually breach the plain of the water, this incredibly beautiful fish - so special I could hardly stand it, appearing at such a serendipitous moment she seemed almost created just for me - she nuzzled my ankle lightly and then swam away.
Taken by jordi61

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