Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tug O' War

I saw the ocean for the first time in many days today. Even though I've been working on a boat every day since Monday, Thursday morning, looking across Matinicus Roads at Ten Pound Island, I see the ocean. Ten Pound and the sparkling inlets around it seem empty without my traps there, even though there's no way I could ever see my buoys from here anyway. It's knowing that all the gear is in my yard, that I'm virtually shut down for the year, needing to jump back into the stern and make some winter survival money. 

There were loud voices in my head all spring and summer that I wasn't making enough money, wasn't holding up my end of the bargain, wasn't delivering the goods. Those harsh words and the dire warnings about Hurricane Earl joined forces and panicked me. Now I'm back in the stern, and Sweet Pea is in the grass. 

Last year, I hauled my own traps into November. I took lobsters to my daughter's school fundraiser in October. That was in a little rickety aluminum skiff and me with 5 traps and 0 experience. I ought to be able to stick with it for a little longer this year.

It is a nice day today. Sweet Pea is going back on the mooring. From there, we'll play by ear. There are still 19 pots in the water. The solar gear is working. Random weather, money pressure and landside commitments will be on one end of the rope, and little Sweet Pea on the other. Tug O' War it is then, for a while. I guess it usually is anyway. Dreams vs. practicality. Heart vs. security. Adventure vs. monthly statements. 

Leave a comment about your Tug O' War if you like. 


  1. Nat,
    Having just found your blog, I have enjoyed reading several of the entries. While I thought I was learning a little about you and the Matinicus Fishing community, it was not until I read Tug O' War that I realized I was not just learning, but rather trying to live through your words even if only for an hour. You see I believe you have taken the road far less traveled. While the vast majority of us choose "practicality, security, and monthly statements" in our Tug, you have chosen to lean to "dreams, heart, and adventure". You have taken the road less travelled and frankly what I would view to be the much harder path.
    Most of us would say I wish I could follow my heart like Nat, but in the end it is hard to find the guts to actually do it.
    Perhaps there is a balance. For myself I know I don't have it, but maybe you do.
    The great poet James Buffet says, "some of it's magic. some of it's tragic, but I've had a good life all the way." I suspect you understand that verse more than most of us. I hope I can pick up more of the side you seem to lean to in this Tug O' War which is my life.

  2. Thanks for that, truly. It's definitely pretty hard, but not always for the reasons one would expect. Some of the hardest parts of this undertaking had nothing to do with the ocean or the boat.