I left the mid-coast in 1975 for grad school as my first marriage dissolved. I didn’t return until the dissolution of my career, as an applied anthropologist, completed and a rebirth as a carver began.
Never really being satisfied as a flatlander, I had found ways to work boatbuilders, marlinespike people, and lobstermen into the cultural programs on which I worked.
Then I got involved. I was drawn back in. You couldn’t even call it a seduction because I dove in headfirst.
I helped hang planks on a dory with a boatbuilder. I started working at my friend’s booths at boat shows, explaining to the uninitiated what a mast hoop was. Then one day, someone walked up to the booth looking for a transom banner and was referred to me.
Soon I was running my own small shop. I was ‘Yahd Cavah” at a boatyard, and I even ran ads in WoodenBoat magazine. An offer spend a week in coastal Maine teaching a Maritime carving course was not an offer I’d turned down.
The first morning I decided to walk the two miles to the shop where I’d be working. I had never been to this particular community, this specific island before. As I walked down the road, the scent of spruce came to me. Being not far from the water, the salt scent of the sea surrounded me. Not too far away, a tidal flat gave off that distinctive odor of low tide.
Off to the west, a small road led to a cove. I could almost see the 34-foot ketch Psyche swinging at her mooring, my bane, and pleasure. The Cap’n would be shoving his pipe full and agitating to set sail.
I shook free of the hallucination. It had been years since I thought of any of that. I hurried on to shop.