Only In Streams

The lake was there, right where it is now, when I was a child the same age as my son is now. The lake back then was big, and it was blue, and if I went out in a fishing boat I could hope to catch bass and pike and trout but I would expect to catch bluegills and bullheads and maybe a crappie, if the season was right. Back then, I watched the lake and wondered about it. I wondered what was under that surface, and it didn’t matter if the surface was still and calm or it if was whipped and bold, it was still the lake and I was still curious. I see it today, when I drive past in a hurry or slowly ply it with a hull, and I think the same thing. What’s going on down there? My son in the boat, wondering either the same thing or wondering nothing at all, who could tell?

There is a picture of me in a boat, a boat without an engine. There are recent pictures of me now, in a boat, a boat with an engine, but that engine doesn’t work well or often, so the boat without the engine in that old picture is basically the same thing. Except that boat is smaller, made of only plastic, without a console or any seat aside from the strip of plywood that stretched from one side to the other, just big enough for a kid to sit on. In that picture, I’m sitting in that boat. I’m too old to be doing such a thing, at least too old by the way we see things today. I must have been thirteen, and I was oblivious to the spectacle that was a thirteen year old boy out in a dingy barely as long as he was tall. I’m sitting in that boat, too old to be doing so, with ice all around me and on top of the entirety of the lake, excepting the small path in the ice that I had broken through to form a one way route from the shore.

I had paddled out a ways, but not really far at all, and I had done this for a reason that I cannot know now. Would my son still do something like this? He’s smart and he’s strong, but he’d probably look to a little boat and look to a frozen lake and wonder who would ever want to combine the two. I did, and when I look at the picture now, from this perspective of several decades later, I still think it would be fun to sit in that little boat and break through that bit of ice. I still wonder about that lake, and what’s under that surface, and I wonder if I’m not so grown that I wouldn’t do the same thing again this spring, when the ice softens enough so that a child, or his adult self, could paddle through it, breaking off chunks along the way.

In the stream that I know, one of those that brings fresh water from a hillside and down into this lake, there are brown trout. There are always brown trout there, in this stream, but never too many of them and never any remarkable specimens. Today, there are big trout, Seeforellen strains, the sort that comes from deep mountain lakes in Europe. Their ancestors made that journey here so many years ago, and here they are, doing what they do, running up small streams and spawning, breeding to make more trout for my son to show his son someday so many years from now. I’ve been watching these trout, feeling not like a father showing these fish to his son, but feeling like a boy showing these fish to his friend.

Will he feel the same when he’s me and no longer only him? Will the memory of the places and the things and the small boats with ice around them be the same? Or will he go as I see kids now going, endlessly onto the next sparkly thing, away from the small streams with salamanders and frogs and sometimes giant German trout and into the distance looking for whatever might be next?

About the Author

I'm David Curry. I write this blog to educate and entertain those who subscribe to the theory that Lake Geneva, Wisconsin is indeed the center of the real estate universe. When I started selling real estate 27 years ago I did so of a desire to one day dominate the activity in the Lake Geneva vacation home market. With over $800,000,000 in sales since January of 2010, that goal is within reach. If I can help you with your Lake Geneva real estate needs, please consider me at your service. Thanks for reading.

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