musings from the top shelf

Before you read any further I issue the following warning…  this is not that sort of top shelf.  The  shelf  I refer to is the shelf I  have grown accustomed to. It is the shelf I am left on, my homebase shelf, my D.I. Y. shelf, a warped and splintered beam, paint peeling and lack lustre.  Most of my peers have long since abandoned this shelf, having taken the plunge, diving into the sea of commitment.

I did not venture into those depths. I liked to keep to the shallows with the pretty fish and the coral reefs. Was I bothered? Not a bit. This shelf, my shelf had so much going for it; one could dangle one’s feet, dip one’s toes in the flowing water and before one knew it there would be a tug on one’s line.

Our mothers were right – there were plenty of fish in the sea. There are plenty of fish in the sea… so many fish in the sea, most delicious piscine distractions, too many too to whittle down to the ‘one and only fish’. I did dive and splash and as for those midnight dips? Ah… those nights of midnight skinny dipping.

Thus from the shallows I watched my peers walk the matrimonial plank, saluted their bravery and waved them off,  ta-ra and tootle pip, and as each one dropped into that ocean still there was fun to be had – so much fun.

Yet, time passes, new shelves appeared beneath my dangling feet and my shelf was ousted from its prime position and upward pushed, out of reach of the shallow waters – out of sight of the deep dark seas. I did not mind for, as there are low tides there are also high tides and calm seas before a storm. I have encountered flying fish and the odd floundering sole thrown up by the waves. I was happy on my shelf having customized it to my liking, my own personal taste.

Except as one matures, one’s taste changes and the allure of the coral reefs are waning, the exotic fish have lost their patina. These days by the time I have  descended, negotiating ever increasing number of shelves to reach the waters edge I am alas too puffed to  swim with dolphins or shoals of tuna. Left behind, I am forced to trawl like Nemo beyond the reef, encountering sharp-toothed sharks or dive deeper down to those fish, unaccustomed to light and ugly to boot.  There are of course the rock pools where one can play with the shellfish but their carapaces are so damn difficult to penetrate (sensitive souls they hurt and  will do unto others….).

Incrementally, my interest in fishing wanes, as have the fish, (I blame sustainability ). Catch of the day has long been caught, hook, line and sinker.  The cruel reality being that (and  reader  it saddens  me to  confess such neediness) I often make do with frozen fish dinners!

My shelf is rickety, nails protruding, paint peeling, splinters a-plenty, still it is not without its own charm. Yet, in my heart of hearts I know it will eventually give and I too with it. One cannot not fight the inevitable lure of the ocean and in it’s place will hang a sign  – Gone Fishing…

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