Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Bluegill Rumination

A former student helped me identify this beautiful fish floating at the shoreline: bluegill sunfish. In the failing light of afternoon, this fellow held me in the brilliance of his shimmering skin for the better part of an hour.
When I first noticed it, a couple with their two dogs (Australian shepherds, one old and one young) passed me. Long before I had finished my long look, they had circled the lake, played fetch, and left.

Sitting in mud, bent over a stone to see the fish close up, I heard "What are you doing?" and looked up into the friendly face of a coed. 

"I'm photographing this dead fish," I said.

"Oh! I thought maybe you were fishing. I wouldn't want to eat anything out of this lake," she said, and laughed. "I'm Mary!"

We chatted about Birmingham, where we're both from, and she told me about living near Lakeshore Drive, a place I know too, and about going to Homewood High School and knowing my childhood house on my street in Crestline, and about choosing Sewanee as much on a whim as anything else, and about how much she loves it here.

I do too.

And I love the friendliness of the folks who walk and run the lake, sometimes stopping to chat with the woman striking awkward poses and taking the long looks.

The other day, an old friend commented on one of my Facebook posts (I had written that I had taken 300+ photos of dead bird in the lake) and said there was surely something better I could have done with my day. But there is no better way to spend part of my day than taking long looks, walks, greeting strangers and parting as aquaintances.

Today I met a bluegill sunfish and Mary from Homewood, and they both make their own light.

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