Memories From the Balcony – Out at Sea

If we want to talk about doses of nostalgia, then let’s talk about something which hits home for me.
Let’s talk about something from the depths of our soul. Speaking of depths, let’s talk about the way this makes us feel, the memories, and the pictures that come to mind.
This is my point. This is my message; but more importantly, this is my way to mend the fences in my mind, to keep me going and help me find motivation to keep my hopes alive.
Therefore –

Bring me back some of that old time feeling. Bring me to the beach. Let me see the inlet from the rocks, Let me watch the outgoing boats, or the long-liners, or the draggers, and let me watch the commercial ships as they head out to work the sea.
Bring me a memory or bring me the smell of the ocean in the early morning. Let me see this just before the sun is about to rise I want to witness this just as the sky is about to turn.
Bring me the summertime feeling of awaiting a trip to the offshore places where the sharks run or where the tuna fight. 
Let me out there. Let me go.
Or come with me (if you wish).

I understand that this might not be for everybody. The offshore places are far from anything manmade. To be clear, the only thing manmade are the boats and the ships and the things which we bring with us.
I understand that the offshore breeze and the sights unseen are not for all. This is where land is far from the eye and the view is nothing but the ocean, the sky and the 360-degree horizon, which might not be for everyone.
Either way, give me this.
Give me the dream. Give me my wheelhouse and let me cruise through the sound and break the inlet.
Let me chart a course and be far, far away from any interpersonal interference.
Give me the sound of the engines humming along as we move out to sea.
Let me drift into the idea of passing through the inlet as we make our way to the ocean because soon enough, there will be nothing around us. There will be nothing for miles. The only thing that we’ll see is the sky and the sun, the rolling waves, and the birds which fly overhead with wings outstretched, perfectly white, sweeping down to work the ocean’s surface while in search of their food. 

I have never had the chance to take you on a trip like this.
Then again, I have not been able to go this way either.
Just in my mind. 

This is not to say that I’ve never been offshore before. This is not to say that I’ve never drifted above the deep and fished for giants.
I have.
I’ve been here before.
But not like this.
I’ve fished for shark. I’ve fished for tuna. I’ve trolled the canyons. I’ve fished the wrecks and the buoys. I’ve fished from the Yankee to the Virginia, to the H.A. Buoy, to the Texas Tower, the Hudson Canyon, the Oregon, The Fingers, The Dip, and I’m sure there’s more.
I’ve had trips that were successful and trips that were a bust.
I’ve had rides in smooth seas and trips where the ocean turned angry and out of nowhere, the sea became rough.

I’ve fished the inshore spots. I’ve trolled the beach east of the inlet passed the Pink Motel.
I’ve hit the Cholera banks too, where the lobster pots are.
In fact, I picked up some big sea bass and some fluke that were the size of doormats. 

I remember the time at the Cholera; we were about nine miles out – nautical miles, that is.
I was with a friend of mine. We were fishing the bottom as well as chumming for bluefish at the surface. All was perfect.
The day was packed with action. So much so, that this was the first time I ever reeled in a small Mako shark. 

I wanted to share this with you.
I want to try and create a vision here. At least that’s my goal.
I want you to see something that I’ve been thinking about since my youngest memory.
There’s a reason for this too. There’s a connection here for me.

I’m not sure why this touches me so deeply.
I’m not sure how this began.
I’m not sure where the fascination began. Or, maybe I do know.
Maybe this is more cosmic than we think.
Maybe this is some weird connection to some past life regression – and maybe, if anything like a past life exists; maybe this was me in a different life.
Maybe this is my old life folding into my current one.
Maybe . . .
Perhaps this is where my chemistry comes from and why people unite with each other.
Perhaps this is why our fate is unshakable – because we can change our places. We can change our clothes. We can change our associations but we can never escape the fate of who we are – or who we are to each other.

Maybe there is a different connection here.
Maybe there is a memory; albeit faded from when I was small.
Yes, I can see how this would be so.
I can see this as a connection which stems from a moment of success or a recognition between myself and The Old Man. 
I can see this as a moment of acceptance during odd or unacceptable times.

I have this tiny picture in my head. This is perhaps one of my first memories.
We were in a little aluminum rowboat. I was holding a little fishing rod.
I reeled up the line and there was a little starfish on the hook.
This was the very first time I ever went fishing.

I am told this rowboat had history with my family. I do not know much about this; however, I do remember there were a few winter’s when the little rowboat was in the rear corner of our backyard.
I was about three or so. I used to sit in the boat with a twig as my make believe fishing rod. I would sit there for hours. I’d be dressed up in my winter clothes, bundled up with a coat and hat that was knitted for me by my Grandmother. I wore little mittens, which were probably huge on my tiny hands.
I wore boots and double socks to keep my feet from being cold. I’d head out into the backyard to sit in the boat – and I’d sit there for hours, imagining that I was somewhere out there in the ocean’s deep.

I suppose this was any parent’s dream because I was self-contained, safe and out of harm’s way.
I was entertained and distracted and perfectly content to pretend that I was fishing.

There is a connection here with me. The water is my church. The ocean is my sanctuary. This is my place of worship and where I go to find supplication between me and the powers of creation. This is where I come to find myself. I can be here at any given day or with any given weather. I could be here, either in days of sunshine when all is bright or I’d be fine to be here when the clouds cover us, thick as ever in a beard of gray where the sky could be lugubrious and melancholy, but somehow, this is all calming and beautiful.

I want you to see this because this is part of my everything.
I want you to see this because sometimes, my waters are murky.
Sometimes, they are dark. Like the world around us, I come with my own conditions.
I have my own weather too.
I have tides and like the moon affects the earth, I can be altered by the axis of our existence and churned like an ocean gone mad.
This is me and these are the waters of my soul.
They run deep. Sometimes my winds are mild and the sun is kind.
Sometimes, my ocean churns like the ones from a perfect storm and while lost at sea, I am not seeking any port in the storm.
No, I want to find my way home.
I want to find my truth, my light and my the hope. I want to find my forever, following seas, where life becomes easy; where I can take the ride and sit in my wheelhouse, looking outward at the beauty of our ocean.

I have this wish and it’s just a wish that can only happen in my mind.
The wish is this – to be out at sea with The Old Man.
Just he and I, on our way out towards the offshore grounds to fish for giants. 

I wonder what he would say about the world we live in now.
It’s been a while since The Old Man has been around.
Everything is computerized so the navigation and the systems on boats like autopilot were probably unthinkable to him.
When I pull off my trick, I know the boat I’ll have will be perfect.
But still, I wonder what The Old Man would say if he saw the systems now.

Either way, I’d like to be out there beneath the sky.
Either moonlit or sunlit, there is nothing quite like this.
There’s nothing like drifting across the ocean. Lines are in the water. The giants are swimming below and then out of nowhere, you can hear the sound of your reels screaming as the fish takes off. 

What’s my biggest?
300 lbs. blue shark
Biggest tuna is probably a 70 lbs. yellowfin. 
My best bluefin was about 50 lbs. 
The biggest I’ve seen was a 618 lbs. thresher shark.
This was brought in on one of the boats that fished the shark tournament.
Needless to say, I didn’t win anything that day.

I’ve seen great things on the water.
Beautiful things. 

I made my peace here, out far from the shore.
I looked up to the sky.
The ocean has always been very kind to me.
I come here when I need a moment – to settle up with The Old Man and find closure with some of the past that hasn’t gone away.

See – I don’t do cemeteries.
That’s where dead people live.
I do the ocean – because, to me, that’s where The Old Man lives.
He’s out there, somewhere.
Out at sea, sitting in his wheelhouse and steering his ship to offshore places where the wind is fair and the water is kind. 
One day . . . I’ll be out there again.

It might not be now and this might not happen as soon as I’d like.
But one day, I promise.

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