I Believe in Fish
I believe in fish. I believe that few things are as beautiful as their sinuous carvings through the blue, small jetties twisting outward off their caudal fin. Speck sea horses and lightning swordfish, teethy morays and oblong hammerheads; an infinite collection of forms and shapes and lives and sizes that make me believe in fishes.
I used to pray for fish. The night before fishing trips with my dad I would lie awake in bed, praying for God to deliver me a lunker. I still dream about fish.
At 12 I got my scuba license so I could swim with them. When I was 14 my dad took me to the Keys. On a sunny day in 40 ft of water, the reef’s landscape went dreary as a cloud-shaped fish eclipsed the sun. It was a manta ray, and its massive form was thrilled playing with our tiny bubbles. As the light was concealed, I became very calm, very focused, and in awe of these winged giants. From then on I knew I wanted to be a fish.
Several times a week I a dream about fishes. Sometimes I’m catching them, sometimes I’m swimming with them, and sometimes I am one. Last night I dreamt that I was fishing with a friend, when I got a bite. My bait was taken by a blood-red, bloated monster of a stingray. My friend and I both tugged as hard as we could, then like a slingshot the huge crimson saucer erupted from the water, and flew Frisbee style hundreds of feet behind us. Dreams like this are not unusual for me.
I like pan-fried perch, trout on a stick, baked black-cod, striped marlin in garlic butter, deep-fried catfish, and barbecue barracuda. I like cooking fish right after catching them, preferably in a camp fire on the banks of a lake or a beach. When I was in Australia I caught four months worth of reef fish on one trip. All semester I cooked fish for my friends; we rolled sushi and stuffed onions in the mouths of pig sized nannagais.
It’s as simple as the soft ripples in the wake of a tuna. The philosophy of fishes is deep (haha), and almost always cliché. “Just keep on swimming” or “swimming against the current” or “if you give a man a fish…” But for me, fish just represent the simple pleasures of life, and a brilliance of nature.
After putting myself in series dept and finishing my two bachelor degrees from CU Boulder, I think I will become a fisherman. Maybe find myself a wife and a beach side cabana with a garden, where I can live out my days in peace. Until my inevitable death and, if I’m lucky, I am reborn as a fish.
Bill Drumm’s photos and stories can be seen at williamdrumm.blogspot.com
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