Got up early before work this morning, with my son, and we traveled for nearly an hour one way from down here in Bedminster by Interstate 78 to well north of Interstate 80, getting an hour-and-a-half of bass fishing in, fully worthwhile, but the bass doesn't make it so appear. Mine was no bigger, and that's all we caught, though we missed a few hits, apparently from fish no larger.
We fished the shady side, and found it's too shallow for the most part. I kept casting to deeper water, but knew I threw to spots which, for the most part, offered no clues to cover underneath, so it's no surprise I got no takes. It's just that last year, Matt fished where we began this morning, actually a shorter length of shoreline connecting both longer sides, and he tossed his worm about 30 feet from the bank, repeatedly, catching three bass better than today's and losing a big one. That was evening. Today, sun fell on this water, barren of bass, except for a 16-incher Matt spotted in close.
Fishing done, we crossed the spillway on an elevated roadway, which reminded Matt of Sunrise Lake in Washington Township. "I love that place," he said. We haven't been there in six or seven years, but during his boyhood from age two, perhaps nowhere else meant more to him. He mastered the plastic worm for largemouths there by age five. It's where I realized I took fishing seriously again, because almost every day after I picked him up from Mendham Country Day School as a preschooler, we went the opposite direction to home. That's what he wanted; so that's what we did. More important than fishing, at least in a way, he caught frogs--some big bull frogs, too--salamanders, and attempted water snakes, before he went on to sight, capture, and photograph 10 of the 16 New Jersey snake species, including pine snakes, copperheads, and timber rattlesnakes. He related his Sunrise Lake memory--I've never forgotten it either--of going there on a Mendham Country Day daytrip at age five or six and sighting "more water snakes than I've ever seen" below the spillway. That's when his passion for science really dug in. Science begins and ends in the field, because without the real stuff, it's nothing.
We walked on towards the car, and I thought about how outings between us seem to end now, now that he's applying for universities as I write, but I looked at his MIT sweatshirt. End? Nah. It began with Mendham Country Day and Sunrise Lake, and MIT is just a different lettering of the same.
Life never ends. It's always beginning, because what's done just looks different in new clothes.