Daniel’s pet catfish died Sunday night. He found it floating at the top of the tank. Normally, it scuttled around the bottom, eating the gunk between the rocks. We never actually saw it much; I don’t think Daniel ever got around to naming it anything else but “Catfish”. Still, it was a sad moment and a solemn moment.
I gently fished it out with a small net while Daniel held the bucket. He wanted to bury it outside under the sandbox next to his first fish, Goldy. I looked outside through the sliding glass doors. Leaves were whipping through the yard from the fifty mile an hour gusts of wind. The sky was low and dark, the clouds racing past visibly.
“Daniel, when someone dies, they say ‘ashes to ashes, dust to dust’,” I said. “Do you know what that means?” I wasn’t sure if I knew what it meant. However, Daniel nodded. “So, for fish I think they say ‘water to water’…”
I let him work out the scenario to its obvious conclusion and surprisingly he was okay with it. We took the dead fish to the bathroom. Daniel said a few words about how clean the tank had been when the fish was doing its job. I gave it a regular Navy salute (though I was never in the Navy) and we flushed it down together.