We are going to a special place today, just you and me.
Roads lost lines and width, winding back toward the mountain. Where are we going, the song of choice, his fingers peeking out the window to play in the wind. As asphalt becomes gravel, turning ever more to dirt, a quizzical smile dances across his face. Wheat waves lazily on the breeze, surrounding our departure from the vehicle, picking our way down a rough etched path through the leaves. Pits break the smooth polished rock outcropping, leftover sand from a beach long forgotten. eroded into the river.
Our first cast watches the bobber dance then disappear, his glee complete in his first catch, ever. All two inches flop in his outstretched hands, giving high fives between tail and fingers, before sliding back beneath the cool surface. Two more, gaining size in centimeters follow quickly, the hand crank spinning in his grasp.
One more and it is time to go.
The bend in his pole threatens to pluck him from his perch, dragging his heels toward a wet embrace. Scrambling, my hands wrap his as we wrestle the full weight of the mighty behemoth into the light. The long red gash of a mouth, framed by whiskers, gives way to hollow black eyes inset in soft green flesh and his scream pierces the calm...
Throw it back! Don't pull it up!
Hysterical fear drips from his voice until the large catfish flops back to the murky depths from which we had pulled it. Done, he is ready to head back to the car to follow the winding roads back to the safety of home.
Cole caught four fish today. The first was his first, the last may be his last. Achieving what he desired, he realised it was not what he wanted. This time he got to throw it back, though that's not always the case.