A young boy carrying a fishing rod walked past me as I was photographing a serene lake-shore not far from my campsite on Blue Ridge Lake in Georgia. He was looking for an open spot to fish. He stood among the weeds for a moment, looking at the deep, clear water. He turned and spotted a sandy beach area, free of weeds, at the far end of the cove where the edge of the lake narrowed and merged with the landscape.
He dutifully carried his rod and tackle box through the several hundred yards of underbrush to the clear spot. The water was so shallow there he could have waded out into the lake for twenty feet or so if he had just rolled up his pant legs. He carefully prepared his tackle and cast into the lake with all his might. The bobber splashed into the quiet surface only ten or so feet from where he was standing, his bait immediately sinking to the sandy bottom just below the red and white plastic bobber that rocked only twice, ever so slightly. He was fishing in mere inches of water. There was no room for any fish.
An old joke flashed through my memory:
A drunk, on his hands and knees, is looking for something under a city street light when a good Samaritan walks up and asks if he can help.
“Yeah,” replied the drunk slowly,”I dropped my car keys and I can’t find them.”
The good Samaritan gets on his hands and knees and begins searching for the lost car keys. After a few minutes, the good Samaritan asks “We’ve looked everywhere, are you sure you lost your keys here? “
The drunk tries to focus his gaze on the good Samaritan. “Nah,” he says, “I dropped them over there somewhere...”
The good Samaritan sat up. “Then why are we looking for your keys over here?”
“Because,”” said the drunk, “The light over here is better.”
The young fisherman had selected a spot that had no weeds to stand in, undeterred by the fact he could see it was far too shallow for any fish. I looked back at him as I turned to leave. He was still standing at the water’s edge, holding his fishing rod with both hands, intently watching his bobber that was magically suspended on the crystal clear surface, just inches over his bait. I couldn’t help but hope he never loses his keys.