Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ever Hopeful



The ditch in our front yard that borders the road is now dry for the first time in months, though still lush with divers varieties of moisture-loving plants. Since it was dry, and Emma was barefooted and had nothing to do save keep Fiona from crossing it and getting run over by a car, Emma could not resist going down herself to peer inside the culvert that runs under our driveway.

There she spied two small catfish wriggling atop a pile of stinking dead bream, with nary a puddle in sight. Naturally, she could not leave them, gasping, to die so cruelly. So she crawled into the culvert, scooped them up and ran to the house to fill a bucket with water, where she deposited them with high hopes of their immediate and complete recovery.

Squatting beside the bucket, her toenails outlined with black culvert gunk and the back of her shirt dusted with spiderwebs, dirt, and leaves, Emma encouraged them to swim, dipping her hand in to help them. Despite her efforts, the plump little fish could not break free of death's grip--one expired within thirty minutes of being collected. Undaunted, Emma rushed the survivor to Grandpa's aquarium, where it became a floater by the following morning.

The mystery of how the catfish got on top of the dead bream with no water in sight, lives on.

3 comments:

Emily G. said...

Poor wee fishes. One of the small tributaries of my parents large creek inexplicably grows baby large-moth bass and bluegill in spring. My siblings have spent afternoons carefully catching them and transporting them to a neighbour's pond so the summer drying up of the creek does not mean their demise.

Fotofule said...

Ahhh, this reminds me of countless tadpole rescue missions. Sorry they didn't make it, Emma :(

Wendy Haught said...

Beverly,

Were we rescuing the ones that we put in the bath tub?