Tuesday, January 29, 2013

afloat on the sea......

when i think of it now, i should have been a fisherman. but when i was young, such things were not heard of. i'm sure somewhere in the world there were lady sea captains but new ideas were not common in a place where you heard only 63 other voices. in my village it was unlucky for women to even be aboard the boat. women apparently made the winds and sea confused. but as a child i was forever on a boat of some kind. my father died when i was very young and so my uncles and the other fishermen became stand-ins. i sure talking to a fatherless girl is hard for crusty seafarers but taking her fishing, well that was one way to be together without the worry of words or emotions. and so i went to sea. i fished with my uncles on their boats. they pulled their herring and mackerel nets and i found my first place in the world.

as i got older i went out on the bigger boats. we would be fishing on grounds over two days from land. i felt so at home. i never worried about the weather or the boat going down. i was too in love with the swells and the way the sun hit the waves. at night, down in the cuddy, i would lay in my bunk and  i would press my face against cold wood of the hull so that i could feel the sea next to my skin. i felt safe there, beneath the water line. i felt calm and at peace being rocked to sleep by the movement of the boat and the muted sounds of the my ocean heaven.

i have seen all manner of creatures from the sea - the porpoise, the whale, the shark and the curious and common fish.  whales are somewhat of a conundrum for me. when i see a whale two things simultaneously go through my mind - "what a beautiful site" and "god, that thing would feed a lot of people." when i was young and with my uncles, the whales were a nuisance. they swam around and under the boat. they could get tangled in the nets or eat the catch. we shot them with a  22 rifle. you can't kill a whale with such a small gun but i'm sure it must have stung. some whales we could identify by the bullet scars on their backs and heads. and yet they continued to come. i realize this is terrible, idealists will say the whales came to the boats because they wanted to communicate or make friends. maybe that's true. or maybe it felt good to be shot with a small calibre gun. human beings pierce and tattoo every part of their bodies and despite the discomfort,  many of them keep going back. whales may be the same. i will never know. all i know is that those whales were a pain in the ass. they did however, make out better than the seals who were shot on site. the 22 rifle could kill a seal. seals are like the rabbits of the sea. they eat and they eat and they breed and they breed.

i loved everything about being on the boat. i would catch the fish, gut them and fling their entrails to the screaming gulls. when i was young i would plead to be given a shark if one were caught. the sharks were worth no money and they were seen, like the seals, as a menace. but i, on the other hand could cut their teeth out and sell them to the americans. americans loved shark teeth. but first i would have to kill it. the raging shark would flop about the deck. he would hurl his open mouth at my sneakered feet. i would scream and jump. but, oh i was happy. my uncles would shake their heads as i dodged danger and moved to finish it off. i would stun it with an oar and then slit its throat with the bait knife. it sounds so primitive, so savage - like clubbing baby seals. but my life was not one of sidewalks and shopping malls. it was not a life removed from the messy bits. death, and stark reality were very close to me. there was no shelter built over my childhood. i stood exposed to the elements.

one winter the harbour froze completely over. a government ice breaker was dispatched to free our little outpost from the crush of the ice. the whole community stood on the wharf to watch the event. many of the men walked out on the ice to meet the ice breaker. i think everyone on the land held their collective breath. to see the our men, so small, walking atop the water without their boats was in short breathtaking. the great chunks of ice heaved and they cracked like rifles shots and yet the men walked on. the huge ship sat poised at the opening of the harbour ready to save us and deliver us back to the water. how i wish i could have walked on that ice. sometimes i think i can feel what it must have been like,  the floe groaning and moving beneath my feet. our beloved sea trying to breath and sing it's song.

 the sea was always there. coming towards me with the tide and carrying me on it's back across the miles. to lay on a boat, towards the bow, and see an impossibly high pillar of water heading for you. to look forward to that pillar and the next, to feel alive and oh so safe in the arms of the sea - the refuge of each wave washing away the fears and worries of the shore.



  1. What a beautiful relationship with the sea you have. Mine is one of fear mixed with admiration. It's beauty is awe inspiring but I feel a huge knot of fear in my stomach if I start to think about its power to destroy. Thanks for a lovely read this morning Bev.

    1. hello dear em, i know it's strange. i have always felt more at home on a boat than on land.

      thank you so much for reading and commenting, i really appreciate it xx

  2. Yet again, the picture you've managed to paint with your words has brought tears to my eyes.
    You are an artist, creating something stark, real, yet beautiful. A place and time that is alien to many of us, yet through the eyes of your memory we can touch the tiniest piece of it.
    Thank you for this gift!

    1. oh sweetie, those are such lovely words to read. i was very nervous about this post. i thought people would turn on me for the whale thing or the shark thing

      thank you for always being there. i think you're pretty swell. xx

  3. Bev, this post was like reading the journal of a Martian -- I have nothing, nothing! comparable in my own experience. Shooting whales, flinging entrails, rabbit-like seals??? Crazytown. Nonetheless, as ever I am swept away by the beauty and lyricism of your writing. And I LOVE the illustration for today! That's how I'm going to picture you when you've finished swimming for the day -- floating, languid, lovely. xx

    1. hello my lady, thank you so much for all your kind words. i love that picture as well but if you're imaging me, imagine a bigger ass. :) xxx
      thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

  4. Bev, every time I feel like I've got you pegged, you write something like this and turn me on my head. This piece is BEAUTIFUL, stunningly beautiful. And what makes it so beautiful is its sparseness, I think. It is open and lovely. I absolutely adored it and read it twice in a row. Like Lady C wrote, your lyricism is so striking. And now I picture you more like a mermaid than a human. I hope you're ok with that. xx

    1. dearest kate, yes i ok with being a mermaid but remember to picture a big chested, big assed mermaid. not ariel from disney.

      thank you, thank you for saying nice things. you are a very lovely, talented woman. xxx

  5. Oh Bev, this is sumptuous. What a childhood. Please tell me you are writing a memoir or a collection of essays.

    I grew up landlocked, but when I read Walt Whitman in college - "Out of the Cradle, Endlessly Rocking" - I felt a connection to the sea that was more visceral than actual. I think your childhood embodies this connection. Gorgeous. Damn you for your beauty.

    1. damn my beauty! ha ha. you're so sweet. some of my happiest memories are being on the water, feeling very small and insignificant but aslo feeling so alive. i could feel the sea breath. i glad you liked it. i was very nervous about posting it.

      and no i'm not writing a memoir or essays. i fear i'm not that brave yet. xx

  6. Bev, reading your posts is like being transported to another, wonderful world - thank you.

    1. dear cindy, thank you so much, you darling girl xxx

  7. This is gorgeous, Bev. I'm glad you took the risk to spread your wings beyond humor (your humor is fabulous ... this piece just underscores your versatility). It has a lyrical feel about it, a nostalgia that makes me wish I grew up in a fishing village. The sea becomes a character. I love the scene with the ice and the men seeming so small ... and the longing to be reunited with your ocean. I love the point of view ... including the guns. It was part of your life. It was real and held a different meaning than the average TV watching suburbanite associates with seals and whales and guns.

    I have a piece about gutting ducks with my father, putting my hand into their steaming carcasses. It was part of my life. It was real.

    Please stay at this. You have a knack for storytelling, you have a unique voice and a unique set of experiences.

    I love that photo, btw.

    1. oh sweetpea, thank you so much. your writing is terribly important to me. i became brave enough to try many things because of you.

      the sea was always there, wherever i looked. it became a parent and a friend. for as long as i can remember the people spoke about sea as living, breathing entity.

      today was a great day. i almost looked at my friend's face xxxx

  8. I think you have a fantastic connection to the sea, me I get seasick so not such a good connection.......and of course the last time I was on a boat I fell over hit my head really hard........lol

    1. jesus jo-anne, tell me that story. what kind of boat? were you making love in a canoe? do tell

      thanks as always for reading and commenting. you are nice

  9. Replies
    1. thank you my friend, i miss you terribly. i have not laughed really hard since i last saw you. xxxxxx

  10. I swear I can smell the sea... you have a gift for writing Bev... thank you for sharing it with us!

    ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
    (¸.·´ (¸.·`¤... Jennifer

    1. thank you so much jenn. and congrats on your awards - good on you. thanks for coming by and reading and commenting.

  11. Now Bev... This is fabulous, but I do hope you write a book and publish it. Please, please, please.... ME

    1. dear mark, thank you for saying nice things. but i don't know how to write a book. ........

  12. Thanks for following, I am now a new follower :) x

  13. Dear Bev, this is a powerful piece of writing and I encourage you to try to find a magazine that will publish it. A sports magazine or one on nature or even one that features women, like "Lady's Home Journal." There is a book you might find in your library--"Writer's Market"--a new issue comes out each year but often there is little change. In the book you will find a whole section on magazines. Each magazine is listed there with an entry about how to submit, what the magazine editors are looking for, length, payment, etc. I do so encourage you to try to get many of your postings published. Please think about trying. Peace.

    1. dearest dee, thank you so much. i appreciate your support and encouragement. writing is a very new thing for me. i found the book on amazon and put it in my shopping cart. now i'll just have to get brave. again, thank you. you are very kind and imagine quite lovely xxx

    2. Dear Bev, what a surprise to find that you've already gone to Amazon! You don't let any grass grow under your feet. Now I see that I need to start visualizing you sending our query letters and getting positive responses. All this takes a great deal of effort but when a person has something do say--as you do about your life--and a unique background--as you do--then doors can open. Peace.

  14. This is a wonderful piece, you are a very talented writer! :)

    I'd like to invite you to stop by our weekly Meet & Greet Blog Hop! It runs Friday night to the end of Monday, come link up if you have some time this weekend! :)


    1. hi laurie, thanks for the invite. i'll definitely stop by and link up. thanks for the kind words and the follow.

  15. You are a wonderous storyteller. Surely enjoyed the read. A new follower from the Meet and Greet Blog Hop.

    Anne Marie

    1. hello anne marie. thank you for following and for saying nice things.

  16. lovely story. I got sucked right into it. Thanks for stopping by my blog.
    new follower

    1. dear kim, i'm glad you enjoyed it. thanks for stopping by and following.

  17. You have a wonderful blog!! I'm your newest GFC follower from the “Meet & Greet” blog hop - this is my blog if you wanted to follow back: godsgrowinggarden.com

    1. hi angie, thanks for stopping in and following. i'll be right over.

  18. Hello beautiful! that most beautiful photos! I think I follow your blog Google Friend Connect! follow me too? a kiss

    1. well hello beautiful right back at you. i'll be right over to follow. a kiss back

  19. You took me into your world for awhile. Thank you for that. So beautiful.

    Handmade Cuties

    1. thank you so much jayne. and thank you for following

  20. Very picturesque description! Thank you for sharing. New follower, following you back :)

    1. thank you so much mommy. i'll glad you stopped by and followed.

  21. I came across your blog from The Weekend Blog Hop, over at Reflexions. You have such an unusual combination of prose and poetry in your writing. It's lovely!! I'm now following you! This piece was absolutely wonderful!! I love the sea, and the way you wrote about it, with all the word pictures you created, just took my breath away....Thank you for such a beautiful piece! :)

    1. dear maria, thank you so much for such a lovely comment. i glad you love the sea and that you enjoyed the post. thank you for following, i appreciate it.xx

  22. By the way, I neglected to comment on the photograph. I love it, as well! It's a little spooky, yet starkly beautiful. Your written piece matches it perfectly!! :)

    1. yes, that photo is a bit spooky. thanks for being kind again. i believe you must be a very nice person.

  23. It's an amazing piece of writing . I'm in love with sea because I was born in the city at the shore of sea . I understand it :)
    Im following back. You're a great writer.
    Noor @ Noor's Place

    1. you miss noor, have a beautiful name. thank you for saying nice things and following. i'm glad you stopped by.

  24. Wow, stunning writing and picture.

    1. thank you shannon. i'm glad you stopped by

  25. You have a wonderful blog! Like your writing and all the photos!

    1. thank you so much and thanks for stopping by

  26. You have a beautiful blog and I am your newest follower! Please visit my blog and take a look around. If you see something you like, I would love for you to follow me back!

    1. dear n"stitches, thank you so much. i will visit your blog and i'm sure i will like what i see. thanks for following

  27. This was beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  28. Thanks for following me....following you back! I too grew up going on a boat on the river to fish with my grandfather. I always caught the most fish. I would not gut them but I always watched and ate our catch! Very nicely written tale of the sea....

    1. hi annmarie, isn't fishing great. thank you for your kind words and for following.

  29. Thanks for stopping by my blog.... I'm a new follower too! Thank you for sharing your wonderful story! You are an amazing writer!

  30. Thanks for stopping by Young Mum's Guide To Survival. I love going out to sea on the boat and fishing all day! It sure is the simple things in life that are the best.

    Jay xo

    1. hi jayme (cool spelling). the simple and the expensive are nice. thanks for visiting

  31. what an artful blend of poetry and storytelling!!!
    I am your newest follower from the hop..pls follow back if you can.

    1. dear mom to 8, you must be tired. thanks for the lovely comment and for following

  32. Thanks for Following me. Am have also started following you.

    1. wilson tom , that is a cool name. thanks for visiting and following

  33. beautiful story!
    the picture is beautiful! :)
    what about following each other?

    1. ok veronica, you talked me into it. i'll be right over. thanks for the nice comment

  34. Hi, I am following you back now, thanks for stopping by my blog and following.


  35. Hi Bev, following you back...thanks for following and visiting my blog www.ourlittlehome98208.com. I was laughing at your comparsion of the whales & people getting tattoos and piercings...I'm going to share this post with my husband who is a fisherman...he'll get a kick out of it :)

  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

  37. Thanks for following my blog! I knew I'd follow you back as soon as I saw this post.

    I think folks are either ocean people or not. Some people are, some people aren't. Those that are feel some inexplicable call to the sea and generally confuse those that see the ocean as 'a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.'

  38. I love your blog and all your photos. I am also jealous about your sea adventures.

  39. Happy Friday.
    I'm your newest follower.
    I also have a hop going on right now, would be great if you stop by and link up your blog.
    Have a nice day.

  40. Following back from Aloha hop! Please stop by my site on Wednesdays for my blog hop. Would love to have you.

  41. Thank you for following my blog! I am enjoying yours very much! You've got some wonderful stories to tell! : )


  42. thanks for visiting me and following my blog- following u too xo Ilana @ My Modern Vintage

  43. What a beautiful piece of writing. Stunning. And I haven't used the word stunning since 1976. :)

    What talent you have, Bev.

  44. Great piece of writing. Makes me feel I am there. Thanks.

  45. i love the tone on this piece and such provoking photo. following you back :)


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