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Notorious: A Fisherman’s Tall Tale

alligator on golf course 2 may 5

Our actions in life can make us notorious. Some people are famous for the jokes they tell and others are known for their kindness. In my family there was a great-uncle known for his tall tales. Jim was an average size fellow and a little overweight. He was an older man when I knew him and loved to sit and talk. Jim could spin a tale from thin air.

The community church would have a potluck dinner one Sunday a month. It was a wonderful gathering with a variety of food on the tables. Jim and his wife would join this group and often there would be stories exchanged in the afternoon. The storytelling would last for hours as each person told a tale. Finally it was Jim’s turn to take the stage.

There was a morning Jim went fishing at a lake near his home. The morning air was cool and the sun was beginning to shine on the lake. The glimmer from the sun made it a little difficult to see the swells from the fish rising to the top of the lake.

There was a small island not far from the fishing spot. It had tall trees with thick green leaves and some brush on the edge of the water. There was a large gray alligator sunning itself on the banks. The alligator had huge eyes and briefly opened his large mouth. He appeared to announce to the world that this was his territory.

Jim took note of the alligator’s presence but continued to bait his pole with a minnow and then threw the line into the pond. The red and white bobbin moved around in the water as the minnow swam around looking for safety. In a few minutes it settled down and all was quiet.

Relaxing on the banks of the lake is calming and nourishing to the soul. The sun was warm this morning and acted as a warm blanket. The sounds of the birds and crickets around you sound like a lullaby. It is easy to fall into deep thought or fall asleep listening to the sounds of nature.

Jim was almost asleep when suddenly the line jerked and the bobbin went down into the water. He stumbled out of the chair and quickly pulled on the line. The fish fought and was splashing in the water as Jim attempted to pull him in. In all of the commotion the alligator who had been watching this action decided to join the struggle.

The alligator moved toward the fighting fish and opened his wide mouth in an attempt to steal the fish. Jim was unwavered and pulled the fish back from the alligator before he could eat it. The alligator was also unswayed and moved in closer to the pole in another attempt to get the fish. This back and forth struggle went on for about ten minutes before Jim let the alligator have the fish.

It seemed that the battle was over until Jim decided to throw rocks at the alligator. This agitated the alligator and he swam to the bank to come after Jim. The fishing pole was the only obstacle between them. The alligator grabbed the pole and Jim began to fight for the pole. After much back and forth pulling action of the pole Jim decided to let go.

The alligator took his prize and returned to the calm bank of the small island. Jim was exhausted but not deterred as he grabbed a new pole and baited the line. Tossing the line back into the water Jim sat down and resumed his calm stance in the chair.

All was calm after this encounter and it was soon time to return home. The alligator was content with his prize and Jim returned home with a stringer filled with fish. His wife was waiting for his return with the food for the evening meal.

Jim waited patiently for his wife to inquire about the events of the day. She finally asked how the day had gone and he began to weave the tale. His wife laughed and stated how glad she was the alligator had been content with the fish and fishing pole. It would have been sad to lose Jim.

The group of people at the church lunch laughed as they heard the end of the story. Many wondered if Jim’s ability to tell a story was inherited or learned. They all agreed that being notorious for telling a tall tale is a wonderful blessing.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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via Daily Prompt: Notorious

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camping culture daily prompt Earth Day environment forest inspiration intentional living life lifestyles nature spiritual story telling

Reflections for Earth Day

Immortality is an idea that most people contemplate in a lifetime. This idea is expressed in religion, culture, and nature. This is an exploration of immortality in nature.

The forest is an interesting ecosystem in the life it supports. There are birds and insects that have abundant lives on the food and water provided by nature. The trees and various plants thrive on the soil which provides nutrients. There is a continuance of the life cycle throughout this symbiotic relationship.

petrified forest water path 2 april 14

The trees have found an interesting way to immortality. Petrified wood is trees which have been transformed into stone through a process called permineralization. Using the ingredients essential for life the ecosystem is the way to immortality. Once transformed the tree is preserved for eternity.

In the mist of the living is the immortality of the preserved. Throughout the continuance of life these petrified trees witness the renewal of the forest. Every season brings rains, snow, scorching heat, and other changes in the earth that change the ecosystem. Yet the petrified trees remain the same.

The process of permineralization is a slow one which takes millions of years. During this time the journey of life continues and the forest changes. Through the years if the forest is allowed to progress naturally then the petrified tree will observe the changes from its original home. If the forest is destroyed by fire or other means, then the petrified tree is alone or moved from the ecosystem.

petrified wood april 14

What does this say about immortality in nature? Is life in stone renewal or is it just another journey into death? The answers to these questions lie in every person’s definition of life. I believe that life and death are a journey that must continue. Nature continues to change in life and every death contributes to renewal.

When the tree becomes stone it stagnates and does not participate in the renewal of life. Watching from a stone does not lead it to continue the journey that nature encourages. Therefore, true immortality cannot be achieved through permineralization. There is a loss of meaning and true death. There is no life for the tree beyond this stone state.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce