Ripples gently radiate from the tan cork as it lands on the deep brown water of the river. Silence reigns once more broken only by the chatter of a Blue Jay in the distance. The dank, fishy smell of river mud and vegetation penetrates the air growing more intense as the boat glides near a rotting tree that has fallen into the river.

“Fish ain’t bitin’ here.”

We move on. The gurling flow of the water increases as the boat rounds the tip of a sandbar stretching into the main current of the river. Bubbles form on the surface as the swift water pushes under and around fallen limbs in its path.

The dense fog has lifted leaving an overcast sky. Gray moss streams from the leafless trees, and the bare branches form a maze overhead that closely resembles the intricate strands in a spider’s web. A quiet breeze whispers so softly that it fails to disturb even the hanging moss.

Drifting, we find the perfect fishing spot. Here the water eddies in a place protected by the river’s bend. Lily pads rest in the sheltered cove, though they have long since lost their summer blooms. Corks plop into the water, the only sound between the fishermen. Once again we wait.

One cork bobbles and drifts, and then it disappears under the dark water. The pole’s tip bends sharply as a firm pull lifts the line.

“You’ve got one!” Bring ‘im on in!” Expectant faces watch as the fish breaks the water’s surface, but the smiles fade as we view the four-inch prize.

“Oh, well.” After gently releasing the baby back into the water, lines are checked, hooks baited once again, and the fishing continues. My own pole lies dormant in the boat as I chase after daydreams.

We can hear the motors roaring downstream as they speed along the winding river path, but here the quiet is supreme. Such stillness seems to have wings that bear my thoughts upward to God. The magnificence of His creation astounds me. Who but my Lord would take such care that His work be perfect and beautiful, from the tiniest feathered fern on the steep river bank to the centuries old cyprus trees that line the shore. Surely, they all declare His glory!

As we continue to drift and fish, the clouds overhead slowly disperse allowing the sun’s rays to warm the late winter air. A river bird punctuates the chorus of crickets with his piercing cry. Patiently, the corks are watched.

Soon, we again hear the rhythmic dip of the paddle and watch as its movement disrupts the shifting shadows on the water’s surface, slowly guiding us back to the landing. Traffic drones as we near the bridge, calling us back to the hurry of everyday life. Time to head home.

We quickly load the boat onto the trailer. Our meager catch of three fish is nothing to brag about, so they are offered to another fisherman who had better luck.

We could classify our Saturday morning fishing expedition as a failure if our catch is the only measure. But on the other hand, what a lovely day with God and His handiwork.

Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Note from the author – The draft of this piece was written while I was on the river with my mom and dad. It was the last fishing trip that we had together, because dad died from a massive heart attack that spring. I never was an ardent fisherman like my parents, but I treasure the times we had and the memories made on the water.

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