Friday, May 21, 2010

Little Increments and Little Obstacles


Today was the first taste of what I had in mind when I imagined this venture. The sound. The quiet. The water and birds. I’ve never heard birds taking off from the water because of the diesel roar. The sortie was good, most of the way. By the time I got to the last ten, however, the wind was bullying me and I had to row home upwind. When I crawled into the harbor, one foot forward and 9 inches back for every stroke, my hands were screaming. Elbows didn’t seem to fit together any more.

I rowed substantially farther than on previous outings- to the back side of Ten Pound Island, then back past the harbor to Two Bush Ledge. My whacky looking roller and trap spatula worked very well, taking a lot of strain off the back and keeping the center of gravity in the boat instead of a foot out over the water. I hauled 5 more traps this time. Little increments.

I’m a big fan of Roz Savage’s book Rowing the Atlantic- Lessons Learned on the Open ocean. Savage was the first solo woman to complete the transatlantic rowing event from either the Azores or the Canaries, I can’t recall which, and Antiqua. All the doubts, malfunctrion, inexperience and growth seem pretty parallel. Except she went across the Atlantic. I don’t have to do that. I do, however, have to push myself beyond all my physical and engineering limits and then go home and try to be father, husband, lawyer, tax collector and community member. When I got in today, Lisa was in dire need of help with kids so she could open the store for the year. The junk metal truck man, Dan, had this one afternoon to get my scrap metal ready to go on the ferry tomorrow. I start hucking rusted pipes, gutters, mangle bike frames, bed springs and the like out to the road and helped load up. The ferry tomorrow also means I can get rid of the six banana boxes-300 or so- of video cassettes left behind here by our predecessors. OK, except that they can't be in banana boxes for recycling, and I have to remove all the cardboard boxes, stomp those down and bag all of the stuff up. Blisters and barnacle cuts are a distraction. There are dishes to wash, calls to return and laundry to do from 2 weeks ago. Even as I post this, it's 8 minutes before my middle girl's school starts, so I have to have an ear downstairs to make sure she's not late. I'm not getting any traps hauled because my son left the car door open and the battery is dead as a stump. It's windy again. Little obstacles.

I’ve read a few books in the vein of “I undertook a challenge and sorely tested myself and found out the real struggles were not what I expected.” All of those books appear to be written by singles or couples with no young children. In addition to sea peril, physical limitations, and the great one-two combination of too much age and no inexperience, I have Daddy Guilt. Like our family’s move to Matinicus, the children really did not get a choice. I am not yet fulfilling my financial duties to the family, and have doubts about being able to with this fishing business. What kind of role model am I? I like celebrating and modeling intelligent risk, adventure, growth and trying different things. I don’t like modeling recklessness and financial irresponsibility. The truth is, this project is full of both.

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