It’s hotter than Hades right now. You should feel it. It’s one of those weekend mornings when the crickets are awake before nine. Even they know it’s hot, and they like it.
The birds, too. There must be a gazillion different kinds, singing songs about the weekend. Bluebirds, catbirds, yellow hammers, chickadees, and whichever others live in my front yard. It’s like a church choir out there—minus the organ and collection plates.
The moisture in the air has turned into steam. I can taste it. It tastes like toilet water and Floridian pine needles. I feel like I’m suffocating in a big sweaty puddle.
My fishing gear sits on the porch behind me. My wife hates seeing it by the door, but I leave it out here for reason. I want to remind myself that there are more important things I could be doing.
Then again, it could be I’m too lazy to put it away.
As it happens, I caught a several fish this weekend. Pretty ones. But I threw them all back. To tell you the truth, I don’t know why I did that. That’s not like me, going around liberating fish. But the older I get, the more I find myself releasing them.
As a boy, this was a sin. In fact, only a few months before Daddy died, I remember him saying, “Whenever God gives you a good fish, you don’t thumb your nose up at it.”
It’s funny, the things you remember from childhood.
Anyway, I’m not a child anymore. And I’m not thumbing my nose at fish; I’m letting them go. There’s a difference.
After all, people can’t hold on to everything—neither good nor bad. The folks who try are usually afraid. Take me, for instance, I’ve been afraid a lot.
Fearful children hold on to every ugly thing that ever bites their hook. They save it all, right in the boat, letting things flop around, until there isn’t room for passengers.
Well, it takes someone special to teach you how to throw fish back. Someone who can hurl bad things back to where they came from. Who reminds you that you’re supposed to spend your years learning new jokes, eating chocolate ice cream, and singing with the radio.
If you’re lucky enough to find a soul like this, you’d better tell them how much they mean to you. And soon. Because eventually, you’ll have to throw them back, too.
I’d go tell her now, but I can’t.
She sleeps late on weekends.