The Young Girl and the Sea (Er…Lake)

07/11/2012 By Shawn Burns

The second part of our trip has taken us to upstate New York. Way upstate. So far upstate that you can hit Canada with a rock. We are staying at what turns out to be a fishing resort: they take people out on the St. Lawrence River to go fishing in their boat, and they have a stocked lake on site. The kids found that lake right away.


Erin has been begging me all week to take her fishing in the lake. She’s never done it before (and I have fished maybe three times in my life, including all of the years I lived in this very area), so I was a little cautious, but also no match for her infectious enthusiasm for things she’s never tried. (She ordered, ate, and enjoyed escargot for the first time last night, too. This kid…)


Upon being told that escargot is snail. “Whatever.”

We borrowed some fishing poles, and then this morning we went down to the lake. Erin practiced casting her line over and over and over and over (she wanted to get it “perfect” before putting a worm on the line, she said), and then the real test began.

She baited.


She waited.


She waited.


Worm after worm disappeared into the lake, as tiny guppies nibbled around the edges, dislodging them and denying Erin her prize.

She was dejected.


But she tried again. And again. And again.


And then, a tug! A pull! A violent and desperate exchange of willpower, ideals, and spirit! Can it? Can she? Will she?



Not having prepared ourselves for the eventuality of her actually catching a damned fish, we had no bucket. And Emily didn’t want me cooking anything finned in the hotel room. So I removed the hook and tossed the fish back in the water, to live out its days regaling its fishy friends about the time it was caught by a human this big.