Sunday, June 5, 2011

out of the murky depths

There is a scene in the movie Crocodile Dundee that I love.  A ridiculously unsuspecting woman crouches by a river to wash as out of the murky depths a crocodile lunges.
I'm not sure what it is about that scene that I find so entertaining. Perhaps the thrill of fright experienced from the safe vantage point of my couch. Or the sense of superior wisdom in knowing that only a fool would crouch and wash in a murky, crocodile infested river. Or maybe even the vicarious relief in seeing Crocodile Dundee rescue the frail female using nothing more than his bare hands, and of course his huge knife.
This scene flashed through my mind yesterday as I found myself crouching to wash by equally murky water.
We had headed out at dawn for a day of fishing. The lake we frequent is difficult to get to and boats must be carried some distance or navigated through a winding stream and hauled over a beaver dam.
This tends to keep the riff raff down and we enjoyed a blissful day of quiet fishing. Well, as quiet as nature ever gets. The marshy borders of the lake rang and buzzed and trilled with bird song. The sky was high and blue and the air was sweetly crisp and fresh.
As the afternoon sun deepened and slanted, we headed stiffly for shore. The boat was emptied to lighten it for its return trip up and over the beaver dam, my husband at the helm, while I lugged gear over hill and dale to our rendezvous spot, ever watchful of snakes. If I were a car, I would sport the bumper sticker, "I brake for snakes." I break out in a run sometimes too, but I always brake. As usual, a snake paused mid-path to ponder, a sort of reptile version of "chicken" before slithering into the underbrush.
I eventually stood patiently waiting beside a small mountain of fishing gear at the edge of a swampy waterway.
As I bent to wash, crocodiles came unpleasantly to mind.
Just as I dipped my hands into the cool dark water, two decidedly reptile eyes locked with mine, and a frog dressed casually in camouflage lunged out of the water.
"Arhhhhh," I gasped.
On cue, my husband suddenly appeared, standing in our inflatable and paddling madly for shore.
Unlike me, the frog was unimpressed by this display of force and courage and refused to surrender the shore.
Our boat is an amphibian too though and needed to come ashore, so my husband, armed only with bare hands and a paddle, gently launched the frog in a beautiful arch to safety.
A scene worth replaying.

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