Catch and Release

Live the time you are given…

Fly fishermen aimed to catch fish. Trout, bass, and salmon were among the most desirable freshwater species. Landing any of these noble species might secure a spot of reverence from my fishing companion, a.k.a., the hubby. But what I reeled in wasn’t even a fish.        

            The hubby and I were on the Juniata River, where I could practice casting before moving to smaller creeks guarded by fly-eating trees. I whipped my line back and forth in the space, pretending to be the female version of Brad Pitt in the movie A River Runs Through It. A metronomic rhythm was almost achieved until the tree behind me reached out and tried to devour my fake bug.

            After an adjustment to the free-spirited casting style, the line still seemed to have a piece of tree branch attached to the end. I jerked the fly line across the water to free the debris. Closer inspection revealed not a stick from the tree but a dragonfly. Of course, I didn’t catch the bug on purpose, but how many people can accidentally wrap a fly line around a dragonfly in mid-flight?

            Have you ever observed a dragonfly close-up? A dragonfly’s eyes in relation to their body size would be similar to a human with eyes the size of a scuba mask. Dragonflies have two compound eyes with thousands of lenses and three eyes with simple lenses. That’s a lot of images of some bitch who nabbed you mid-flight and bashed your head against the river a few times.

            The dragonfly shimmered in the sunlight. Brilliant iridescent colors bounced off the lace patterns of the two sets of wings. This was a beautiful creature regardless of being from the kingdom of insects.

            Imagine what that bug saw, me, really close, giant face, fingers, and mouth spewing swear words. The poor thing’s experience must have been similar to a bad acid trip in bug land. Most creatures would’ve chosen death, but this trooper was still buzzing. No matter what his compound eye view, I was not a monster. I had to save him.

            Below the goggles was a humongous mouth. The mouth was not grinning. If the bug was a bear, I would’ve felt like its next meal. When a dragonfly feels threatened, it can bite. I had no desire to become a juicy tidbit.

            The average lifespan of a dragonfly is, on average, six months tops. Insects fall prey to lizards, birds, and frogs. Added to that list of predators were fly fishermen even though I had no intention of consuming a bug.

            I worked fast and avoided the pissed-off mouth. This bug didn’t have much life left with all the terror it experienced. After freeing Willy, he flew off without fanfare.

            When the hubby rejoined me, he asked, “What did you catch?”

            “A dragonfly.”

            “Only you could catch a fly with a fly rod.”

            He made me feel almost magical. Maybe, I could round up a herd of unicorns after lunch. If only he meant it that way and not in some kind of prodigy of accidental and weird insect capture way. Under further consideration, the hubby concluded that landing a dragonfly was a rarity.

            “So, was it dead after that fiasco?” He said.

            “No, Willy was still alive. I untangled him and set him free.”

            The husband ignored the naming of the bug.

            “You know it’ll probably get eaten by a frog.”

            Maybe, but I hope that dragonfly took off and did all manner of pleasurable dragonfly things, mated or feasted on flesh other than mine. After its daunting experience, I hope that bug really lived.

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