high and dry

“Sácale una foto; te gusta hacer fotos de cosas muertas.”

dead fish, embalse valdecañas

Sometimes I think people – even my closest friends and family – have entirely the wrong idea about me.

We were walking along the shores of the Embalse de Valdecañas in Extremadura, looking for flat stones to skim when we came across the poor creature desiccated by the sun. I’m not sure I’ll ever write a poem that I can use the photo to illustrate, but I took it anyway. **

I took a picture of the next one we found, too, but after a while, it got a bit boring. There were simply too many, all at about the same distance from the water – maybe ten metres, I’m not really sure, but it was a fair distance – as if there had been a sudden drop in the water level that had beached them all.

It’s true that embalses.net shows the reservoir as being only half full – or should that be half empty? – but it’s still enormous:

Embalse Valdecañas

It was a relief to see such a vast expanse of water after the baking dry heat and all the dry river beds we had driven over; there were people fishing, and, far off, the white sails of three small boats.

But it isn’t quite as pleasant when you get up close.

Apart from the dead fish, the water was decidedly scummy round the edges and green with what looked like duck weed – though I saw no ducks, just a single wading bird, perhaps a heron. In the embalses.net forum someone asked if they would be allowed to swim in the reservoir this summer. I think the answer was perfectly realistic:

“Si, te puedes bañar; pero lleva agua limpia para ducharte después”

Perhaps the fish just got fed up with the dirty water and thought dry land might be better.

** Actually, thinking about desiccated fish poems, I do vaguely remember making notes at the Natural History museum of a mother telling her child, “That fish died 400 million years ago”, referring, inaccurately, to a coelacanth. Maybe I should go back and see what I can make of that.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

3 thoughts on “high and dry”

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