of trout and bruised ribs

Toronto, 2016.09.20

I headed out for a bit of fishing and landed nothing but some bruised ribs. It started out well enough, on my first cast I spotted a good-sized trout following my lure in. I kept casting, and twenty minutes later I could see from the way the "forage" (shiners, minnows, baitfish) were swimming that there might be a predator hanging around. I took a step down the boat-ramp I'm fishing at these days and leaned in a bit.

And fell.

I take it as a sign of aging. I'm heavier now, and no longer even remotely fast on my feet. With one of my flat-soled converse slipping out from under me, I went down on my left side, hard. I knew instantly that something was unusual; I'd never felt the grinding thump in my ribs that I felt this time, not even when taking a tumble from my bike (or being hit, as last time).

But my problems weren't over. The patina of season's dead algae that had caused the problem was now – with the assistance of gravity and my record weight – conveying me down the boat ramp. Absurdly, I started scrabbling at the cement and saying, "no no no."

And then I stopped. My feet had somehow found purchase below the water line, and I was able to grasp some hand-hold on the wave-smooth cement. With my rod still in my right hand, I powered through the breath-shortening situation with my ribs and hauled myself up on a shoulder that was also flaring with pain.

Perhaps it's the god of drunks and small children who watches after anglers, but I got up that ramp and took stock. I could somehow tell that nothing was actually broken outright. Not even the rod! And what's more, I had my bloody cellphone in my pocket, and it had come through just fine.

But I certainly hurt too much to hop on my bike then and there.

So I kept fishing for another hour.

I racked up another skunk, but it was as fine an evening as you'd want to spend recovering from a fall that almost got much worse. And remarkably, cycling home was no real trouble – I guess you just don't use any muscles across your lower ribs as you ride.

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