Coming in from the Storm; or, On Friendship

In keeping with the zeitgeist, I’ve been struggling with enjoying Bay of Spirits by Farley Mowat about his ten years spent sailing around and living in the southeast coast of Newfoundland, the endless storm-ridden weather and wonderful stories of the hard and fun-loving people he met in the tiny settlements in the deep, craggy bays of that coastline, as the whole tale is told against the barely-mentioned backdrop of his having cheated on his wife then abandoned her and his two young sons to take up life with a young woman who joined him for this life at sea and by the sea. The bastard tells a good story.

At any rate, I was struck by this quote by a fisherman in one of these tiny hamlets that foundered for years in the boom then long bust of the fishing industry in Newfoundland. He said: “Stormy times as might make a man wonder could he do better on a different voyage…The truth on it be, me sons…I don’t believe as he could. We shapes our course as we wants to, with them as we wants alongside…”

This struck me, as I read it the day after my latest birthday, and the day after I spent a lovely evening with friends, and anticipated a coming evening with my husband in a second evening of birthday celebrating, and feeling rich with birthday calls and cards and well wishes and the riches that have happened upon me on this voyage whose twists and turns I sometimes had a hand in, but sometimes was driven by winds and tides I could not control.

Ahoy, me mateys. Drop ye an anchor and abide a while. Glad to have ye alongside.

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