Floats Aground

Fishing FloatsWhen I was a teenager I wanted to sail so bad I could taste it. I had a German Language teacher, named Mr Schroeder who took a liking to me and invited me out to their “cottage” on the lake for a few weekends with his wife — and taught me how to sail.  Shortly after I married I talked my bride into agreeing to purchase a sailboat.

Funny thing was, I had the checkbook out, the check all written except for signing my name and I chickened out on a 25 foot Hunter at the last minute.  I finally realized that what I liked was the IDEA of sailing, not the reality.  I didn’t want to spend every weekend on the boat — there were other things I wanted to do in addition to simply sailing. Later in life I’ve been glad I made that choice. NOT committing to a single activity has left me free to explore the world and maintain my curiousity.

This last week I’ve been working my way along the Oregon Coast in search of images.  Not that they are hard to find along the Oregon Coast.  In fact, I’ve taken on a new quandry since being here.  I realize that this is a year of economic turmoil, and that many people aren’t traveling who might normally.  But I have to say that it might possibly be that Oregonians are the American version of the French — who needs to travel across boundaries when the place you live is so incredibly beautiful!  I have often told people ( and meant it ) that if I were to leave Wisconsin, Oregon would possibly be my new home.

At any rate, I think the trip has reawakened my love of boats. Not the being-on-them sort of love, but the love of all-things-boat, in particular the workboat: the fishing boat.  That has to be one of the most dangerous jobs around, to be an ocean fisherman.  Quite possibly it’s one of the oldest human occupations as well.  I suspect that humans have long appreciated the taste of seafood. Assuming there was water anywhere near where they lived.  Many of the tools of fishing aren’t all that different from what they were in the Beginning: line, net, hook or trap.  And there’s something especially beautiful about the details of the fishing life.  A well worn but serviceable rope,  an energy saving pulley,  a net, and in this case a pile of floats to remind you where your crab traps are seeded on the ocean floor.

I love seafood.  I’m glad fishermen go out to sea. And during the week I’ve been taking advantage of the incredible freshness of their local catch to get my fill of crustaceans and sea critters.  But I’m also glad that it’s THEIR job and not mine.  I’ll stay on MY side of the lens and record the simple, dignity of their craft.