Bio Note: I'm discovering serious freedoms in aging, Letting go of assumptions or some self-criticisms, for example. A lot of people fish here in Vermont. It interests me how most of them return the fish to the water. Catch & release, a mantra.
“For a Perfect Catch, Fishmongers Go for the Halibut”
—New York Times headline, September 4, 2016 New guys at Pike Street Fish Market learn to catch fish tossed one to another. Learn by doing. Hands apart as for a baby, a football. What market men call free-form fun for Seattle’s tourists needs to be gentle, no damage done to money fish. King salmon, prince of this market which holds world peace as its motto. Then halibut, flat flung Frisbee fish that shoppers cheer. Last summer I caught my first fish – a 75-pound halibut. A brown Alaskan monster that sucked up my pink salmon bait on a three-barbed hook and grappled every ounce of old lady in me. The skippers promised I could sit and fish and drink hot chocolate. Until the fight began. I cranked and cranked up halibut. By any measure, the crew said, way too big to keep, at least twenty-four inches over the regulation limit, oldie of ancient waters. Certainly a female full of eggs, mud-brown ugly with silver sheen of underside. My helper struggled to pull out the hook, let go and me rooting for this fish that migrates clockwise. I am old. Females with decades and eggs inside. First words to my mind are not sustainable yield, bycatch or the Baranov catch equation. More free release. Flee into this dark sea. Let old ones fly.
Originally published in Cirque, July 2017
The Tangle of Barbed Wire
came with the house, this land, secured to a rotten fencepost and rolled up toward a mossy boulder, a remembrance of old pasture sprouted back into woods. Where maybe horses grazed but more likely cows or sheep. My reverence for what remains of time left this rusted obstacle ensnared until this day with wire clippers, I cut, collect bits and invite shadows in without disrespect, without danger, wandering feet – fox, bobcat, deer, bear, and me. As next comes on, what’s free.
©2022 Tricia Knoll
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