Monday, July 2, 2012

From Beautiful to Scary and Back Again

I had some inquiries on my brief absence the last few days. As it turns out, sometimes life happens so fast, I don't have time to write about it!! But it makes my heart smile to know the virtual world misses me when I'm gone. 
Back to our short weekend at the lake, my parents took me trot-lining for the first time. To my surprise, after talking to some city folk around here, trot-lining isn't exactly an expression every person in the world is familiar with............
So how about I walk you through my experience!?!?!
First we went to a little cove in the lake, and tossed the net out a few times to catch some fresh bate. My dad was super pleased with our findings, since last time he went bate fishing, he said he had to fish his arm out of the water when he was finished. (Get it? Because his arm fell off.......because it was so tired..........)
Does it make me a wimp that I actually felt bad for the bait fish's imminent death?
Then we slowly made our way through the Black Forest, a scary part of the lake occupied by a drowned forest. It's easy to see the gigantic trees stretching their limbs towards the sky, but the danger lies in the rest of the forest, submerged beneath the surface of the green waters, invisible to the unsuspecting eye. 
My parent's fishing boat has a GPS, so they have warning to where the danger starts, but those unfamiliar with the lake and without such technology can easily find themselves stranded with a tore-up motor or stuck on a tree they didn't know to look for. Even with such systems, someone has to sit at the front of the boat to watch for stumps.....we hit a few, but nothing too drastic. 
After picking the perfect spot, close to the cove, we laid out our line, securing it in a triangle around three trees. Floating empty plastic jugs label our claim to the line, and every foot or so there is a extension hanging from the main string with a dangling hook. 
And then we went back to camp to cook dinner, waiting for dusk. Apparently, all the big catfish wait to feed at night. 
A beautiful day transitioned to an even more beautiful sunset. The water had calmed and the boat slid over the lake like it was coasting through butter......smooth.  
Even though I know in my heart nature is dangerous, it's something I rarely think about when everything appears majestic. But when night falls, and the after dark creatures come out to play, an eerie mood conquers the playfulness of daytime. 
The sun had set by the time we made it to the edge of the Black Forest, so we relied on a flash light and my mom's terrible night vision to get us safely to our trot line. 
The air was still, except the quiet hum of the trolling motor, the fiesta going on across the lake at a camp ground, and the little sporadic bursts of colorful fireworks in the far distance. We were alone on the lake, if you don't count the several terrifying gars we spotted gliding their way beside the boat, the amazing amount of spiders creeping all over the trees (my mom and I got into a deep theoretical conversation, contemplating ways the spiders ever made it so far across water to reach the trees), and their dinner, aka the hellacious flocks of bugs, swarming around our flashlight.....  
My dad actually expected us to grab this tree while he was baiting the lines.......Excuse me??? Have you lost your mind?
On the ride back to shore, I focused on forgetting how creepy mother nature can be, instead appreciating the wind in my face and the pure pleasure of being able to map out constellations. I love living in the city, but never stop missing the stars. Where I grew up, you could see so many shining balls of fire at night, it didn't look real. 
The next thing I remember is my mom waking me up to push me out the door. My dad already had the truck running, so had I no choice but to grab my coffee and breakfast on the go, and embrace my natural "beauty" with my eyes half open and my hair looking unbelievably awesome, in the name of fishing. 
With the sun on the rise, all nocturnal creepers had gone back to hiding, making it an easy transition, pretending the lake was my harmless playground once again. 
Checking the lines was a bit of a disappointment. Nothing left but catfish slime (so much, it looked like we needed to call the Ghostbusters to come handle the situation) and empty hooks........and 2 baby catfish we threw back. But that's the thing about fishing, just like Forest says, "You never know what you're gonna get."
Placid and peaceful. It's very cool to me that in the right setting, even dead things can seem elegant. 

Have you ever been trot-lining before? What's your favorite thing to do at the lake?


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