Monday, October 21, 2013


My mother's arms stroked figure eights in the salty sea.  I never saw her swim conventionally, but she would sit with her legs extended facing the shore as though reclining in an easy chair. I was always fascinated with the fact that the salt content in the Atlantic intensified buoyancy and made it easy to float and dog paddle despite the swells rhythmic and sometimes unpredictable.  Unlike a lake with the placid quiet waters, the Atlantic was always teaming with energy.  Unlike my mother, I liked to gaze out onto the line of blue smudge and imagine swimming to a far off island or building a raft with drift wood pieces lashed together by seaweed.

My great grandfather, his brother, his son and his grandson (my uncle) were all lobstermen.  With a house for three generations at the mouth of the Saco River where the ocean and muddy waters met, my ancestors woke in darkness and spent their day surrounded by shades of blue and green hauling lobsters into big crates to bring to market.

Bobbing in the water, I shaded my eyes against the glare of the sun as it danced off the surface, I swear I could see my grandfather the lobster boat's engine softly purring, muscles tightening from the strain of the lifting the trap, his face thickly lined from the weather.  If only it were true.

(I spent most of my childhood on the beach at Camp Ellis where my family's homestead stood.  I met my grandfather when I was a newborn.  He died the day I was to come home from the hospital.  Growing up with stories of Grampy helped me to develop love for a man I never knew.)

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