“My Second Home” by Haley Nagel

The aspens waved to us in the wind. The sky’s reflection lapped at the speckled sand at its edge. I would soon play its game. The triangle shadows of the trees on the ground spilled out onto the reflection’s surface. A single boat paddled across the sky’s reflection. Grey stone peaks dotted with pines and the waving aspens sheltered the reflection connecting it to the sky above.  

No telephone poles snaked their ways up the mountains invading my second home. No cell phones rang to disturb the water breathers swimming beneath the reflection or the noisy Clark Nutcrackers chatting in the trees above. Drama not suited for the tranquility and coherence of nature in my second home stayed at home hanging up welcome posters for when I arrived back home. Worry accompanied Drama filling his time by busying another victim of his tortuous ways. 

Playing its game involved the virtue of patience. It was a waiting game. To play I sent a worm hanging on for dear life to a hook sailing over the reflection twenty meters out. The worm on its vehicle, the hook, sank slowly awaiting anxiously its fate. The finned educated water breathers of the reflection knew the enemy, the familiar shiny metal hook, but the worm hugging his vehicle tricked the fish. The water breathers took turns staring down the ill-fated worm till one adventurously dared to nibble. Feeling the tension on the line from the nibble, I jerked my weapon setting the hook. 

The water breathers knew they were fighting a dead match battle if they sucked up a worm who was disguising a hook. Yet they waged their battle anyway never once giving up. Something about these creatures of the water has always inspired me. No matter what situation life throws at me I will fight with the determination found in the spirits of my opponents at my second home.   

As I fought the water breather in a battle to reel him in, the Stellar Jays squawked overhead in the swaying pines. Before I had even learned the difference between algebra and geometry, I had learned the difference between the Stellar Jays of the Sierra Nevada and the Blue Jays of the East. Memories of my grandpa flipping through his used copy of the bird book of North America flashed through my head. This place was my second home. Each summer of my childhood was spent in brown laced hiking boots, mosquito repellant coated skin, with fishing creels slung over my shoulder, and fishing weapons carried as any good soldier of the water does at my second home. 

Just as this place wouldn’t be the same without my fishing weapon staked in the ground it wouldn’t be the same without my family. This place brought us all together. Without my uncle I would never have been able to play the game. My uncle has always tied with fancy loops hooks to my line. My family from tying hooks to my line to supporting me through all my choices will always be there for me, even if I am three thousand miles away across the continent.

As I pulled the water breather from his home netting him I knew soon I would be ripped away from my familiar environment I have known when I start my new career next year. But if my second home has taught me one thing it is that when life is calling or a water breather bites you have to take the chance. It might just end up to be the fifteen pounder trout that breaks the Rock Creek record. If it turns out to be a tiny little Brookie the challenge and the surprise is just part of the game. Its game of chance in my world on the reflection, like the game of life all of us play to be successful.