The COVID Chronicles – Fishing Through a Pandemic

The traffic is sparse when we reach the hospital.  The city that never sleeps seems to be in an early morning trance.  I kiss my wife and she exits the car to start her 12 hour shift.

This trip has been my bi-weekly, weekend routine for the past 6 months and nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

I continue heading North instead of turning back to go home.  The opportunity to drop off my wife and use the time to go fishing seems perfect.  I’m able to save her the commute as I can drop her off, fish and then come back to pick her up after her shift is over.

I

Spring is around the corner and the fishing has been great throughout the mild winter.  Yet, I can’t wait for warmer days on the water.

The bumps in water temperature affording me sightings of rises, which always has a way of making my blood pump faster.

II

News of a novel corona virus is making its rounds through the media and it seems people are digging trenches and staking their sides.  I hope that science and logic will rule the day but then again, people are even polarized on science.

The first cases have been cited to have arrived in Manhattan and the Westchester area.   I am worried for my wife who is working as a nurse in one of the city hospitals.

III

The fishing has taken my mind off the virus.  Perhaps it will pass mildly, as have other contagions in the past.

I think back on a fin rotting disease that had spread through a local fishery which led to a large wipe out of fish population for years to come.

The fishing has never been the same, even after more than a decade has passed.

IV

There seem to be a scattering of people wearing masks now.  The official directive is to not wear masks.

The overwhelming disagreements on what is an appropriate response seems to be muddying the waters.

The fish continue to be oblivious to the growing number of COVID 19 cases.

Their cold pristine world enveloping them in a continual bath.

My hand washing has been more frequent to prevent infection and spread as well as on this day; from the release of beautiful trout.

V

Social Distancing has been implemented and masks are now recommended but there is a shortage of masks throughout New York. The fear is now palpable.  People are starting to take this seriously as the number of cases and deaths rise.  A Stay at home order is mandated throughout the State.  As an essential worker, I continue working in the office during the weekdays.  My wife continues her position in the front lines and my bi-weekly drives continue, now a necessity.  Train lines are being cancelled and there are reports of violence and racist attacks on Asian Americans throughout the country including on front line heralded “heroes”.  I guess skin tone determines who can be a hero, for some people.

Warm weather has really brought out the anglers today.  Maybe fly fishing is the best form of social distancing activity.  I drive up in my encapsulated quarantine of a car, to an “outdoor wilderness” and stay at least some respectable distance from other anglers.  Fishing alone or with one other person is really how I like it anyway.  Curse the fisher that front ends or back ends, especially now.  You’re too close!

VI

It’s a pandemic.  The death toll is unbelievably high.  There are refrigerated trucks outside of the hospital for the bodies of the deceased and I am not feeling well.  It is a pain I’ve never experienced and I am unable to find a location for testing, despite numerous attempts.   I finally find a place but I have to lie about having a fever to be qualified as it seems they are really focusing on this aspect of the disease.  The result is as expected and I need to concentrate on getting better.  My wife nurses me back to health  and I hope she does not catch the virus from me.

She gets tested a week later and we sigh a breath of relief as the results are negative.

VII

Weeks have passed and I feel healthier.  My antibody test has come back showing that I have both the IgG and IgM antibodies.  It seems the transmission has come from the workplace as many of my coworkers had suffered infection at the same time.  I rejoice in the fact that I have pulled through and am able to drive my wife to work again.  What a blessing to be able to go fishing.  The day is spent navigating the different sections of the streams.  Luckily I am able to finagle a slab of gold from an unlikely, shallow piece of water.  I name her Rona and release her back into her world.

I know that there will be an evening hatch but my time is up on the water as I must go back in time to pick up my wife from the end of her shift.  The drive has been pleasant with few cars to share the road with and a bonus of cheap gas prices.

As I pass through the city and near the hospital I hear people in the balconies and streets, shouting, honking horns and banging pots.

It is a 7PM tribute to the front line workers.  I see no first responders to hear the tribute as they are all on their shift working to save lives.

 

My wife finally gets off of work; gets in the car and asks, “How was the fishing?”

I tell her, “I caught Rona and I was able to let her go.”

 

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