Jason Hawkins: Drive to coast is time to take it all in

May. 24, 2014 @ 03:31 PM

It is now one day following a recent journey which overshadowed my goal of catching fish.

During the five-hour drive to Frisco in the company of an angler friend, I realized five hours is just not enough time to make fishing tales grow and a friendship grow even more.

I noticed that it is possible to identify a box turtle from your common snapper turtle, while traveling the posted speed limit of 70. I noticed that it is necessary to look at every boat and wonder, every truck with fishing poles and comment, and every bait and tackle store and feel an urge to stop.

I noticed there remains a kid-inside-me feeling when, even though I am driving, I still want to ask, are we there yet?

I notice the dunes and I wonder about time and wind and storms with subtle female names that changed lives forever and sometimes desolate a place.

I noticed twelve surf-rods perched on sixteen-penny nails on the east wall. Some are four decades old and I wonder about the hands that held them and the fish as an afterthought.

I notice the weathered, salted, sun faded, wind stripped, sand massaged, decade after decade after decade sign, advertising crabs and croakers, and I think about what it was like and is like to bring bread and good butter to the table from crabs and croakers.

I notice dialects and if it is the wind or the salinity of the air or if it is something us inland people will never understand of those that are lucky (read lucky, again) to live on an island that is almost desolate and sometimes actually.

I notice that everyone notices when a vessel leaves for the sea and returns from the sea.

I notice that some houses have widow walks, as it remains never a guarantee of a return from the sea; and widows once walked these places too frequently.

I notice the Albatross fishing fleet; such history is here and the boats are slow and nostalgic and the fish caught on Saturday are still being caught as they were, from this storied fleet, decades ago.

I notice the planks on the walk and the birds perched on each column and the moment is always photogenic and so again, just like the day before and the year before and the many images before, I point and focus and capture the image, again.

I notice that man that cleans the fish and he wears white bibs and a blue shirt and his hat is a faded pink and the tattoo on his left forearm is faded like the sign advertising crabs and croakers and this man and his knife make easy work of a day’s catch.

I notice the tide and the moon and the magic of their influence on this place.

I notice the chatter on the docks and I think about the random moments of truth told, here, and how we all return for more randomness. I notice the course taken and where the shallows threaten and the green and red buoys and the cool air and the sun is a baby surrounded in blue in her first few moments of life.

I notice when my eyes are closed and all is still and I am neither on a boat nor a dock nor a place where boats and docks are found, that I move. During this movement and the miles between and the weathered signs and the journey, I notice I forget about the fish caught.

Enjoy your time outdoors. hawkinsoutdoors@msn.com