It’s OK to go Mad

#FlashFictionFeb Day 22 (296 words)

I stood in the Mad River today and let the cold, lugubrious water fill my boots. Fall is beautiful and sad on swift Ohio waters, when waterways are distended by sweet, late season rain. 

Verdant smells of wet soil, decaying trees and ecological destruction poignantly mark the end of growing season, but heighten the anticipation of frigid, swift rivers harboring bountiful rainbow and brown trout. 

Finding them and luring them to bait is the art of an angler.

A wily sable mink nimbly navigates cracks and crevices over and around the Mad’s frigid water, watching from across the river, as I watch from the opposite shore.  It avidly notates bait thrown, savvy enough to realize hooks notwithstanding, the raging river will eventually tug freshly dead and flaccid worms from any human apparatus and feed him easily in the still waters down river.

Urgency dictates flow and ebb of shallow water over slimy green rocks with a clarity and transparency lamented by minnows and snails hatched there.  Food and water mingle in a oneness that is perfect and beautiful beneath a warm fall sunset.  Mosquitoes buzz, reminding human flesh of vulnerabilities.

Chartreuse river grass and trees, fallen many years before my simple migration towards this chosen spot, obstruct a juicy, purple worm I offer as allurement. I diligently jerk, tease and taunt flowing water, committed to making even a simple worm sacrifice of life matter in the grand scheme of things.  The fish caught in my trap of hooks and pain will be returned to their homeland. 

Satisfaction is not gained in the capture of wildlife; it is in the capture of their environment.  To be a still, quiet observer among them is as refreshing as boots full of frigid, flowing water.

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As a former transportation industry writer, I learned that a regular paycheck is nice, but writing about something you're no longer interested in is miserable. Apparently, I like writing more than money - so I'm back to freelancing at 52. It's not as altruistic as it sounds, I'm also cranky and difficult and refuse to fit in anymore, making steady employment pesky and potentially dangerous to my psyche.

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