06/09/19             Soft, slow breezes annoyed shoreline pines, branches heavy-drooped from early morning rains.  Each showered an array of gnats, mosquitos, and creepy-crawly things – likely a snake or two as well.  Stoic oaks stood their ground, wiggled a branch or two as if to say, “Ya, I feel you wind.”  Reedier poplars and birch just went with the flow, each bend a drying smile and each return anticipating the next touch, the next flex.  Gresham Lake’s washboard surface broke around the slow poke of pontoons, quickly recollected as a wannabe wake crawled shoreward.  We curled around the tip of the peninsula that heralded “hot spot” fishing dead ahead in the bay.  Yes, the small, rock island with its tall, antique tree remained, survivor of another north woods winter.  Pretty much just a hardy trunk with scraggles of branches – but the very top offered a palm tree-ish, big bobber splash of branches that held the huge entanglement of an Eagle’s nest.  According to brother’s research, the home could weigh as much as 1500 pounds now as each passing season brought new branches, new twigs, more support for the regular visitors.  A white feathered head proudly surveyed our passage, a scraw accompanying the angry stare.  Two brown heads barely poked above the rounded sides, the yell probably that of “duck down” from a worried parent.  Off the port side another skimmed the surface in wide-winged, silent hunt – head dipped down, legs poking forward in clawed readiness for the strike that quickly came.  A bass dangled, already lifeless as the victor soared to the nest, gently dropped into a clamor producing landing.  We slipped into the cove between the home and land, available this year due to heavy rains and late growth of weed and lily pads.  We began our glittering eye casts, invigorated by possibilities and the sights God offered. 

We did not experience the disciples’ forlorn fishing efforts.  Bass gave ready strikes along with large black crappies and way too many “are you kidding me, how could you even get on the hook” blue gill and sunfish.  Laughter wiggled its way into the brush, through the cattails, over the pads – rewarded with a playful splash and sleek-fur scurry of a beaver or otter.  We shared the traditional orange slice candy – reluctantly of course – and gave sis a hard time for not bringing sandwiches, sausage and cheese slices, and whatever else brothers could think would be an appropriate poke.  She sewed and smiled, making quilt patches that, once united in the bigger project, would reveal a Bible story or passages.  Her “fishing” for gifts to give her offspring. 

Claiming my arm “weary and cramped” from reeling so many fish into the boat, I settled back as best as possible on the fishing stool.  Sun melted stresses into a colored candy delight of “away from it all.”  Ron hooked a bass and, per a tradition started by daughter Cherise, I shouted, “Throw down your poles, it’s a whopper!”  I manned the net as lily greens and shallow grass kept making the catch “grow” with each reel whine.  Turned out to be a 17” close to 3# “nice one Ron,” but the rest of us managed quite a bit of belittling before dropping it in the “that’s a keeper” basket.  Knuckles, grins, and back at it – so went the morning. 

And God was good.  So very good in family comradery, in His creation, in the love He creates for all to share.  Cannot be found in a phone-face or 60” flat screen.  The lake tapped rhythms against our float, blackbirds, blue jays, robins, and swallows harmonized, and I, well, I just dozed off ‘til a wiggly wet fish tail slapped my mouth.  All the time, God is good.   submitted by Dave Smith