Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Fisher Poet

We set off to the Fisher Poets Gathering in Astoria, Oregon this past Saturday. Astoria is located at the mouth of the Columbia River where fresh waters first taste the salty sea of the Pacific Ocean.

Astoria is a historic little fishing town and every year for the last thirteen years, the Fisher Poets Gathering has been held here. Fisherman from Alaska, down to the Pacific Northwest, California, and even Rhode Island come to read their poetry here, providing a brief and often haunting glimpse into the lives and souls of these amazing fishermen.



Our first stop was to visit the fishing vessel Cold Stream, which was docked in the harbor.



It was built in the 1950's and upon climbing aboard, it was evident that it had many stories to tell from its days and nights at sea.


The most fascinating aspect of touring this boat was meeting its Captain. Can you guess which man in the above photo is the Captain and which is the reporter? Captain Dave, seen to the right in his wool plaid shirt, is a man of a different era.
Being in his presence offered such a vivid glimpse into an industry that is a labor of love, yet evokes the wisdom of time and sacrifice. In him we met a soul who remains beautifully distant from this modern world.

You can go here to read one of his poems.

We were captivated by him. It was his rugged nature, his friendly smile, and his generosity to open his boat, his home, to people like us, curious to see a sliver of what life may be like for a fisherman out on the open sea.

The Captain encouraged people to play with the switches, turn things on, open things up...this made someone in particular quite happy.



Here's Mr. Happy behind the wheel.


...and here he is examining our coordinates - tied to the dock.



While Hubby went down into the belly of the ship to check out the engine, I found myself absorbing the domesticity of the boat. How would it feel to live here for weeks on end? Could this little boat offer comfort amidst the surroundings of a deep dark sea?

I loved the old brass hardware. It is beautiful, with the knobs shined smooth from so many strong hands having turned them over and over through the years.



The hot stove made the cabin quite toasty. I imagined that it is surely the heart of the boat.



Old open shelves act as half medicine cabinet and half spice rack.



Although everything looked tired and weathered, still so very strong.



The paneled doors rested on their hinges as we sat quietly in the calm bay.



It was a pure bliss for Hubby as not only did he get to play Captain that very morning, but afternoon lunch was enjoyed at a local brewery.



And me sampling his beer. I'm thinking..."I wonder if that bakery next door has any cupcakes. "

They did.

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