Thursday, 29 January 2015

Sometimes Homesick

Sometimes I step outside in the morning and the sun is shining a certain way or there is a certain breeze in the air or the earth warming in the sun throws off a particular smell and suddenly I will hear the cries of gulls in air and smell a whiff of salt and for a moment I am transported three thousand miles away and forty years back in time.

It is said that when we are born we bond as surely to the land as we do to our mothers and I think that is surely the case. The boy has been removed from the State of Maine but Maine has never been removed from the boy. Forty years later the Boothbay Harbor I remember no longer exists anywhere but in the Kingdom of Memory and as the years go by sometimes that is obscured with fog as thick as that which often blankets the Maine coast.

In my dreams I am in what had been my father's bed in what had been his bedroom at my grandmother's house. It is late and night and the fog is so thick that looking out the window I cannot see the house next door. Up and down the coast the fog horns are playing their mournful dirge and as each one plays his part in the symphony my grandmother calls out from her bedroom down stairs, "That was Burnt Island, Kenny. That one was Cuckolds. Right now you hear Seguin." Soon I knew each horn as well as she did.

In summer I would often wake early and lie in the dark listening to the make or break engines of the small boats starting up and taking the fishermen out to where their larger boats were moored in the harbor. Then the big diesels started, rumbled for a while warming up, and then moved off into the distance as they headed out to sea.

When my father was younger he might be sent down to the docks by his mother to meet the boats as they returned. "You got a fish for me, Cappie?" he would ask and a fish nearly as large as he but in those days still too small to be marketable would be tossed to him gratis to take home to his family.

Those days were gone when I was young but a lot of days would see me tresspassing through Reid's Shipyard to the dock where I would jig for mackeral and when I had enough head home with my stomach grumbling and thoughts of the feast to come in my head.


Forty years here and British Columbia still isn't home. I am not sure the Boothbay Harbor of today is either but I need to think of getting there again before I die. If I can sit on the shore, look ot to sea, and smell the wild roses, sea weed, and salt one more time I may find the part of me I've lost.

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