Summers as a kid saw our family at a lake cottage in northern Michigan. My Dad designed the place and you’d think it was enviable but it actually was the repository of a whole family’s shadowlands.. Just the inside part.. The outdoors was just one big and wild adventure for me.
This is where minnows come in..Beside the dock were shallow waters strewn with interesting rocks and pebbles (petoskey stones from ancient sea coral beds, agate, unknown beauties..).
The early mornings found the lake calm as glass and most people still at their oatmeal as we headed to the dock with Dad.
He had a minnow net; square netting with thin tension rods anchored to each of four corners meeting at the top. A string attached to the whole thing was gently dropped into the shallows, letting it float to the bottom.
Everyone hushed themselves with a slight elevated pump to the heart while we watched and waited for the silvery things to swim over the net.
Dad would pull up the net and there would be the unfortunate fish flailing, to be used later that day as bait for another adventure altogether.
But this one with Dad was practiced pretty much in silence as a ritual almost. We, as a clan had this common purpose.
Today, we’d call it bonding… The simplest of activity made sacred.
It was all ours. No Mom there. Just us. The fish. The Lake. The smells and lapping of the slightly restless water. The pleasure in having him alone. The urge to stand taller and be better to catch his approval.
I think of this as the heat of today starts oozing through my windows; rendering me weak and dull.
I miss my Dad.