02 August 2011

Who's the Brave One? Bristol Bay Journal Part 4

That first Sabbath afternoon, we go walking along a beach, one my husband remembers well from childhood. The bluffs above have a "new" owner, who happens to be there camping with his sister for the week. They are friendly, and don't mind our exploring.

"Run as fast as you can in that direction!" my husband shouts.

He and his brothers aren't afraid of much, so I am instantly suspicious about what may happen to me if I do. I answer that I'd rather not, but that I'd be happy to watch him do so, which he gleefully does.

Then he disappears (translate drops or falls) into a pit.

But the grass is tall and deep and pads things well, so he isn't hurt. I still meander at my pace, glad not to fall into any pits. I am not the brave one of the two of us.
Later, back on the boat, we call my sister-in-law, the pregnant one in a foreign country who has been getting used to all new things and even using words from a new language.

It's a new thing, this calling people from the F.V. Ingolf--the cell phone only came on board as a useful item last summer, but already we are basking in the connections this device allows us to make with the outside world.

As only sisters-in-law can do, she and I discuss the ins and outs of being a girl on the fishing boat: the bucket, the lack of showers, the close quarters and where-to-go-when-I-need-introvert-time sorts of issues.

"You're brave!" she concludes.

I disagree. She's the brave one. Every time I feel overwhelmed in life, whether on the boat or not, I think of her and all she does and is and feel sheepish that I could possibly allow my heart to be discouraged when I know she faces so much more, every day.
We start out of the harbor as the tide allows, which is somewhere in the middle of the night. I stir from my sleep, and wonder if I should wake up completely for this moment, this first for me. Then I decide I will need to have rested, and fall back asleep.

The water treats me well on the first day. It doesn't make too many waves, and I don't get sick. I learn a little of how to steer the boat (at least, I think perhaps I began learning this the first day, but the days do so run together), and I squiggle and curve a little around the bay.

I do not learn how to stop and start. Steering is enough of bravery for the first lesson.

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