Chuffed. Words and picture by Nick Small.
Back in 2002, we had our first adventure in the subarctic wilderness of Northern Sweden. Taking the hire car we travelled just out of Arvidsjaur (a town fans of Northern Exposure would recognise it as a sort of Swedish Cicely) and followed a rough forest track along the Byske river.
The girls were 10, still a good way from their sullen teens. Swimming and generally messing about by water were still acceptable, indeed desirable, ways to spend a day. I fashioned them each a fishing rod from birch twigs, and with some glee they were able to dangle bait off a ledge into a deep pool, where shoals of psychopathically ravenous perch competed with some ferocity to be unceremoniously yanked from the water.
This was Dorigen’s first ever catch. The mixture of surprise and delight is there for all to see. She didn’t much like the killing bit (well, not at first anyway) but within five minutes this particular perch had been grilled to perfection, dangled from a pointed stick over a campfire. With a quick squeeze of lemon juice it was wolfed down. Then, wearing the primal satisfied glow that only comes from catching and cooking your own lunch, she was back to the river for more.
Back then I was still snapping on a battered old Canon Ixus, but the technical deficiencies of this cropped scan matter little when the moment means so much.