Now highly motivated, I heaved my body shoreward, attempting to spread my weight out evenly over the matted weeds, like a man negotiating thin ice. This worked briefly, allowing me at last to free my feet and establish a higher center of gravity in relation to the water. But then the mat gave way and I began to sink again, the difference being that I was now arranged horizontally, like a swimmer too heavy to stay afloat. It occurred to me that my death would be rationalized in a different vein than the flyfisherman's. I could see people shaking their heads and thinking, That idiot drowned in downtown Arlington, Va., at rush hour, people within a hundred yards of him in all directions, in a grubby little hole nobody in their right mind would have fished. They would sigh, shrug, and say, "Tell you the truth, I'm surprised he lasted as long as he did."