When I was little we would go visit my mother’s friend Mary Soma in the Dells. I usually went to play by myself in the backyard, on the edge of the lake. One year, the fish were bursting out of the water all along the shore, flipping in their glinty skins to belly-splash back down. When I asked why, Mary told me that the carp spawn in the shallows, and they leap just because they can, out of joy.

The idea of these fish has made me happy for years. Not continuously, you understand. But every time those leaping fish come back to me, I am made better in a small way.

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