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The road led up the hill between houses until it came to the lake where it ran between the lake and the woods and the thought of people disappeared if he was lucky. He was sick of people, especially those he saw in masks because of their obsessive fear of death. They ran in packs. They seemed insane to him, as if germs might fly through the country air and infect them with a virus in a reversal of the way the insects were starting to fly low over the water and the fish would jump to devour them. He preferred the fish and the bugs and was glad no masked bandits were on the road to rob him of the morning’s beauty.
There was a young boy fishing, casting and reeling back in a rhythmic way. The boy yelled out as he reeled in his first catch of the season, a glittering rainbow trout that sparkled in the sun.
Once he was twelve years-old and started out very early between the edge of night and the dawn of day. Alone, beautifully alone, with the dew thick upon the grass and the fog still clinging to the water in the creek. His family was at the farm. He awoke in the dark while his sisters and his mother slept and his father snored loudly. He tiptoed through the cabin and quietly shut the door behind him, almost catching his hair in the flypaper on the way out. He got his fishing gear from the porch. In an old Maxwell House coffee can were the night crawlers and the other worms he had dug the previous evening under the apple tree by the bull’s pen.
Now it was April and the ice on the lake was gone and the two geese he had seen last year had returned to their old nest. Last spring he had watched them very closely for more than a month as the goose sat patiently on her eggs and the gander sailed the waters on alert for predators. Some days he would see them swimming together near the nest.