Posted by: Aandeiyeen | September 3, 2009

sweet musings from a fisherman’s daughter

I’ve got a fishnet hoody that I’ve owned since high school (and happily- yes, it still fits nicely). It receives compliments wherever I go, but turns out to be its biggest hit in Southeast Alaska where fishermen call their stomping grounds. I wore it a few days before leaving Juneau and felt like I was the catch of the night for fishermen to pursue. Feeling rough textured hands caress against my skin in admiration unearthed memories of a former lifetime, the way my father would caress my cheek with similar rough hands when I was a little girl…

I was a young teenager when my parents deemed me old enough to fish on my own, but I broke the news that I had made reservations to Juneau because I had a job waiting for me… I remember the disappointment in my father’s eyes when I told them I made other plans. It was after my first year at boarding school, the first year I had left the nest and never looked back. Then I wanted to leave for the summers as well to build my resume in the city… Sometimes I wonder what it would’ve been like if I had stayed home during the summers to help clean the nets and load the fish so there wasn’t so much strain on my parents’ aging backs and hands. I can’t regret my decisions though, I’ve done some amazing things, seen some amazing places, and met some incredible people during my emotional walkabout the world. But I miss those fishing days, being covered with sand and fish slim, flirting with the boatmen and slimline workers. I miss the drives out to Situk River, jamming out to dad’s Eric Clapton or BB King cassette tapes and giggling joyfully whenever we drove over ridiculously large potholes (who needs rollercoasters when you can drive on poorly maintained gravel roads?). I remember the joys of terrorizing the seagulls while cruising pointlessly on the fourwheeler. The smell of wild strawberries and campfires. etc.

For the time being, I am content being back in my (as Mama Bear calls it) ’cosmopolitan’ city lifestyle. But I have the memories of the fishing community that raised me tattooed on my heart and on my mind. I have every intention of using my degree to protect this sustainable and respectable industry. In all of life’s uncertainty, there is one thing that I will always be sure of- my love and admiration for those willing to brave the tides of a living. Don’t let the fancy educational background fool you; I am too rooted in the proletariat class to ever think otherwise.

fishing family
The most important men in my life (dad and Brother Bear) have always been fishermen.

tattoo
My latest tattoo- fish hooks in the shape of a heart. No matter where I am or what I’m doing, it’s just a symbolic way for me to keep grungy fishermen close to my heart at all times.


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