It’s entirely possible to spend quite a lot of time in Naples and think it’s much like any other American city, only hotter and with alleged beach access.

The reality is that beyond the strip malls, legendary landscaped traffic medians, and planned residential communities the Neapolitan landscape – the Everglades – is one of a kind.

In observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, I joined my father and a family friend for an all-American – though distinctly un-Arizonan* – fishing trip.  We disembarked from a County slip just a few minutes from our house and quickly observed super-sized mcmansions give way to impenetrable mangroves.

* Aside from lacking natural bodies of water, Arizona has a long history of choosing not to observe the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Mangroves can all look the same until you start really looking and see first birds of all colors and varieties.  One swooped in to its nest, lunch in claw.  A deer peeked out and contemplated a swim across the channel.  Some wild boars (pictured above) plunged in; I imagine not realizing how far they had to swim until half way across.

We moved from fishing hole to fishing hole, observing the tidal flow, casting shrimp across the shallow oyster beds of Rookery Bay.  I found myself being of two minds: imagining how a shrimp would maneuver the beds and how I should maneuver my pole in mimesis; imagining how a large red fish would maneuver the beds and what might catch his attention.  Are fisherman universally empathic and conversant with the Other?  They really should be.

All my empathizing paid off, as I caught a fish, my first and only; so big we had to throw it back.  A 29 inch, 9 pound, red fish.  A very convenient fishing story to tell, I realize, except I have the picture to prove it.

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