My transition of living back on the Cape for a few months (though unexpected) has actually worked out quite well. My home will always be a place of comfort and love – I do my best to help out where I’m needed and I love cooking for my family. We are a small tribe but I am dedicated to them all and am most grateful for the close bonds I have to each one of them.
Taking care of the garden and the animals has been an added bonus of being home. Taking pride in everything I do is something I learned from my Dad and learning about balance is something I’ve come to understand from being out on my own. My Dad is the most hard working man I know … I know a lot of people say that about their fathers and mothers but my Dad really is. A fisherman since he was a ‘yout’ (as he calls them) and a jack of all trades, he truly is the ultimate hunter/gather. But fishing has definitely taken a toll on his body. It has to be one of the most physically strenuous jobs there are. I’ve done it first hand and I can say that it’s no easy day on the job. I consider myself to be a pretty tough individual but it takes a lot more than physical strength when you’re out there on the water – it takes a lot of will power (especially if you are like me and are prone to sea sickness on some of the more choppy days).
My Dad has never lived a day in his life without some kind of physical pain. Since I’ve been home I’ve been doing nightly yoga with my Dad – teaching him the importance of stretching and being in touch with your body. He was like a little kid looking under the microscope – “I can’t believe how much this hurts” or preceding our stretches, “Wow, I actually didn’t wake up in the middle of the night with any cramps!” He spent the first 10 or more years of his fishing career pulling up lobster pots by hand – one by one from the bottom of the sea – full of lobsters and made of wood. It wasn’t until I was a little ‘yout’ that he was finally able to buy a winch (a lovely mechanical device that ables fisherman to haul many traps in a row) but unfortunately his body had already taken a great toll.
Fast forward a few years and here he is a 54 year old man whose had broken bones, pulled muscles and tendons in his hands and fingers snap and recoil up his arm limiting his flexibility and movement in his hands. He suffers from cronic pain and cramps and has undergone a knee and shoulder surgery and the scariest one of all, a heart surgery just a few years back when they put in several stints (and I haven’t even mentioned the mental stress of the job – one in which it’s hard to even make a living at anymore due to regulations, bureaucracy, cost of fuel etc..). So, it didn’t come as a huge surprise this autumn when he blew out his left shoulder. His previous deckhand had just up and left without a trace so he had been going out alone – hauling a couple hundred pots a day all by himself – leaving at 5:30 am only to get home at 5:30 pm. It’s hard work getting it all done with two people – pulling the pots, filling the bait bags, banding the lobsters and stacking the pots on the back of the boat. So, naturally when he blew out his shoulder I wasn’t going to leave him hanging.
The colder weather was creeping in and the veggies were coming to a hault so I had more time to lend a hand if needed. I definitely work better in the soil than I do on the sea but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. So, for the past month and a half I have been helping my Dad bring in the 750+ pots off the north side of the Cape. We’ve been hauling in 70-80 pots each day and only have a few more trips to go. It sure has been tricky with the weather (and the few nor-easters that have blown through here) but there have been some beautiful days in between that have enabled us to bring it in.
I’ve been seasick only half the times I’ve gone out but it’s amazing what our bodies can do when we keep our spirits high. So, although I had no plans to be on the Cape this Fall I’m happy to say I ended up being here… because at the end of the day it feels good to put your family first. I may not be the richest lady in the land but I know what feels good and being there for my Dad right now is important to me. And as much as I am a firm believer in doing your own thing and leading you own life you can’t help but be intertwined and connected with the ones you love… especially in a time of need. After all, it’s the least I could ever do….