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Gone Fishing

I must be crazy getting up at this hour!

4:30 in the morning.

Up BEFORE the crack of dawn.

It's pitch black out.

There isn't a sound.

Up before the birds.

I am half asleep. No, scratch that. I am more than half asleep. More like 3/4 asleep!

Sweat-shirt, jeans...I stumble around the room, getting dressed. I feel like a sleep-walker.

My sister groans and turns over in bed.

Lucky! I think.

I try to be considerate, though. I don't want to wake her up.

So why am I doing this? Am I insane?

I could still be in bed like my sister, peacefully slumbering away.

Warm and comfy.

Instead, I'm cold, tired, fuzzy-brained, and a little cranky.

I stub my toe on some books.

"OW!" I cry.

My sister groans again. This time, she sounds annoyed.

"Sorry!" I say.


Just because.

Because I want to.

I stumble into the bathroom. The light seems too bright. I make a feeble attempt to brush my hair. I quickly run a toothbrush over my teeth. I even put on some lip-gloss.

I probably don't need to do these things. It's just a habit to do them, before I go anywhere.

I don't eat any breakfast. My stomach isn't ready for food yet. I just drink a quick cup of orange juice.

The rest of the world sleeps on.

I slip on my flip-flops. I'm ready.

I open the cabin door. It makes an apologetic cr-ea-k. I gently shut it, so it doesn't make an unapologetic "SLAM!".

I walk over the grass to the gravel road, that leads down the hill. The crunching of my feet on the gravel sounds extra loud in the early morning stillness.

I crunch on past all the other cabins; dark and quiet, with slumbering occupants inside.

I crunch on past the swing set, devoid of happy, laughing children.

On past the lodge, where I beat my sister at Ping-Pong last night.

On past the Ye Olde Wishing Well, where all us kids like to hang out.

The dark stillness lends a magical air to the place.

I am slowly waking up.

Suddenly, I feel lucky. Lucky to be up at this hour, experiencing the world in this unique way.

Others are missing out, as they lay in their beds snoozing.

So what if they're comfy. They are not making a memory, like me.

Now I am at the highway. I look both ways, even though there is no traffic coming. During the day, this highway is always busy, with cars zooming by at high speeds.

I cross over, and open the gate that leads to the beach.

I smell the cool scent of pine in the air. The fragrant pine air holds the promise of yet another beautiful summer day, yet to come.

Later on, the beach will be crowded with laughing happy families; little kids building sand castles, and adults sitting in beach chairs wearing silly hats to keep the sun off their faces.

But for now, the beach is quiet.

My flip-flops send sand back onto my leg. The grains of sand sting, slightly.

The lake spreads out before me, calm and still, like a mirror.


The silver boats gleam in an almost other-worldly way, in the early morning darkness.

There is a slight jangling noise of tackle boxes and nets, fishing poles and stringers.

"All set?" my dad asks, as I near the water.

"Yup!" I say.

I get in the boat. My dad hands me my fishing pole. Then he loads in the chunky yellow box full of night-crawlers.

I breathe in all the familiar scents. The smell of the lake; clean and fresh. The smell of the boat; the gas from the motor, the slightly wormy, fishy smell of fishing implements.

The smells of summer vacation in Maine.

I adjust my orange life jacket. You have to wear it. It's the law. Even though I know how to swim.

When we come back later, hopefully triumphant with stringers full of fish, there will be the glorious smell of bacon frying up in the cabin, while my mom fixes breakfast.

But for now, it's just the smell of the lake and the boat.

My dad pushes the boat off the sand, and gets in. The boat wobbles dangerously, then straightens itself.

The water laps gently against the sides of the boat.

"Today you're going to catch the big one!" my dad informs me. "This new spot I found is great. Lots of big rocks for them to hide around. We just have to be careful we don't get our lines caught."

"Yup!" I agree.

We're fishing for white perch. And maybe some bass. Perhaps an errant pickerel, although my dad doesn't like to filet those. "Too bony," he says.

A fish dinner with fresh fish breaded just right...and home fries with onions and peppers...could there be anything more delicious in this whole entire world?

I am now, finally, fully awake, as we slowly cruise across the lake to our new "fishing spot."

"Why do you have to get up before the crack of dawn?" my mom always asks. "The fish aren't even awake yet!"

Maybe they aren't awake yet. But so what? I'm awake, and I'm glad.

Extra sleep is over-rated, anyway.

I relish the feel of the cool breeze brushing against my skin.

I inhale all the fishy, lakey smells.

It's just the two of us out here, together, as the rest of the world sleeps on.

Me and my dad, going fishing.

It doesn't get much better than this.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

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