Monday, April 17, 2006

Conversation with a Fisherman at Gull Pond

Today we set out for Gull Pond since I have always wanted to show Sven the sluiceway where kayaks and canoes access Higgins Pond. As he parked our Volvo in the wooded lot, I silenced the voice on the radio, jabbering about the futility of the Iraq war. There were two fishermen down by the shore. One was busy, so we did not bother him. The other had brought a folding chair and sat there, with his newspaper, contemplating the view, a good distance from what I assumed to be his fishing rod, stuck in the sand.

“Any luck?” I asked.

“Lucky to be sitting here,” he said.

“Any news?” Sven asked.

“Just bad news.”

After this laconic exchange, we took one last look at Gull Pond and off we went up the dirt path identified as Schoolhouse Hill Road. It was not an easy walk because, as the name indicates, we were heading up a hill. At a fork, we turned right and saw a sign that made us both laugh: Wellfleet Resident Parking Permit Required, 2 spaces only, 3rd Saturday in June to Labor Day. What did people do if they drove all this way and the spaces were taken? I got my answer as a white pick-up truck came at us backwards. Several No Tresspassing signs were in evidence, unusual in that they were made out of granite. The people, who owned homes in this idyllic spot, obviously did not want company.

Beyond the parking spaces, two fathers coaxed their sons in the fine art of fishing. The boys wore Fresh Fish Tournament t-shirts from a tackle shop in Orleans. Four-year-old Jonathan proudly declared he had caught a trout and pointed at several fish, ready to be transported home. His father told us Gull Pond was stocked with trout, and Higgins with bass. Both men were hardcore fishermen, equipped with gear and appropriate apparel. Someone had painted an outdoors scene on their vehicle, parked in the grass.

We followed the path to the sluiceway – a very cool place to be in summer – and decided to return this fall. Here three ponds line up in a row. To our right, Gull Pond. To our left, Higgins. On the other side of Higgins, a second sluiceway leads to Williams Pond. It must be beautiful at dawn, with mist rising off the water, quiet and peaceful. Then I remembered the first fisherman’s comment and all the horrible things going on in the world. He was right. We are lucky to be here.