The baby bass jumps into my boat. I squeal, not because I fear the fish, but because he hopped into the boat and upset a ridiculously tranquil moment. Like, silently floating through lillypads and lotus flowers while a bald eagle soars overhead kind of moment.

A minute or two earlier I rolled my eyes as the girls in the canoe next to ours shrieked and swatted a spider to death. Every wind-up and whackrocked the boat, and I was sure they’d end up in this shallow corner of Lake Maggoire, screaming even louder as they struggle to find their slimy footing.

But now, I’m a screamer, too.

I hear Grab on to my oar! and see one of my male colleagues coming to my much unneeded rescue. For a split second I ignore his command in a subconsciously feminist retaliation.

Grab on! he says, firmer this time, and I do as he says. He swiftly catches the fish using only the palm of his hand—sticking his thumb in the bass’ mouth and displaying for our group to see. Man dominates nature, and the class congratulates his valiant effort, remarking he doesn’t even need a pole or a net to catch a fish.

And as we paddle away and duck under an overpass filled with cobwebs, I mutter I wasn’t afraid of the fish. I didn’t mean to scream.