I watched a rainbow trout take the minnow in its mouth like a dog does a stick. I saw this in real time on the screen of my dad’s underwater camera, which we lovingly called “the fish camera,” as the lens was affixed to a faded bluegill replica that swayed in the undercurrent. I pulled my phone out of my pocket to take a picture of the fish camera’s grainy, black and white screen, to capture the moment before I captured the fish. On its way out, the phone clipped my bulky snow pants. It slipped through my gloved hands. It slid on the ice-slicked floor of the shack, and, with the slightest plop, dove into the drilled hole. Speechless, I watched on the fish camera as the phone, still glowing, struck Lost Lake’s bottom, spooked the trout, and kicked up a cloud of silt.
Things happen in life that you can only shrug at. My dad first told me this when he found me, maybe twelve years old, leaning like a limp fish against the basswood tree in the backyard, my heart freshly broken by a girl on the school bus. In that phoneless moment on the ice, I… Read more »