The Maine Lobsterman's Realm This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Each Saturday I look forward to working on the lobster boat thatrests in the small cove, a wide, white arrow pointing toward the open ocean. Istep onto the bare deck and look toward the front where the wall turns into awindow that looks out over the bow, like the windshield of a car. On one side isan elf-size door outlined in fake wood and a white bench piled with coarseblankets; on the other is the lobsterman's office. A small steering wheel sticksout from the white wall below several gadgets, adjacent to a round, saw-likeinstrument. Beside this, the side of the boat has been cut out to make a lowcounter also outlined in fake wood. Everything is perfectly in place and thecaptain and I take our spots.

We chug out of the still cove, past all theboats that sit motionless as if sunken into a mirror. The water is flat and deepand filled with millions of tiny silver fish that move in endless circles. Wepass under the jungle gym of soggy wooden posts that hold up the white drawbridgeand we are out on the open ocean. The motor speeds up and rolls with the massiveswells. The boat leans to one side and then snaps back like an unsinkable toy. Itclimbs up the great mountains of blue and crashes nose first into the troughs,spraying white foam back against my legs and sending a flash of excitementthrough my body.

We pass the rocky coastline with light and dark verticallayers of stone jutting out into the sky. They catch the light and seem to glow awarm gold. On my other side the Atlantic stretches forever, becoming one with thelight gray and purple horizon.

The sun stands high in the sky and thetips of the waves catch its glorious light. The water sparkles with ever-movingdiamonds that scatter with the motion of the waves. My eyes sting from thebrightness, yet I can't move them away. Colorful buoys float carelessly on thesurface, marking the lobstermen's buried treasure. Behind me sandy beaches linethe bay bringing the separate towns together on one sandy shore. Skinny housesstand behind, packed so closely nothing seems to separate them.

The manbeside me has a dark, creased face with eyes that are almost hidden by wrinkles.His hair is black and gray beneath a baseball cap. He wears a blue plaid flannelshirt and worn jeans, separated by a blue belt decorated with little redlobsters. He watches the ocean with dark eyes that have seen countless days atsea, and I am honored to stand next to such a seaworthy man. He holds thesteering wheel with one scratched hand, turning to look behind us where the motorseems to cut tunnels in the waves.

The boat travels toward the darkcliffs, and I look at them in awe from an angle unknown to those on land. We moveso close I can hear the waves breaking on the unforgiving rock. They splashwildly against the wall, spraying several feet in every direction before fallingback into pools of gem-like turquoise. With the cliffs looming above, he slowsthe boat and circles around a selected buoy like a hawk circling its prey. Thecloudy water in the gray tank splashes against my hand as a wave rocks us. Inotice the small, pointy forms resting on the bottom. They hold up their bandedclaws and pace, watching me with their black compound eyes, sensing me with theirwhip-like antennae.

The smell of old fish, sour and foul, grabs my noseand mixes with the warm smell of the engine and the salt air as we come to astop. The captain hooks the buoy with a gaff and has it through the pulley andthe silver circle before I can blink. The noisy hum of the silver pot-haulerrings through my head as it quickly eats up the fuzzy, wet line and spits it outon the deck. Then the sopping wire trap appears and I help pull it onto the boat.Inside the trap, lobsters fly about, flicking their strong tails, shocked andscared by the air. The lobsterman opens the trap and without needing to measure,keeps the legal-sized ones, taking away their freedom with a bander. The smallones he tosses back.

On the way home I feel the wind running through myhair like soft electricity and I watch the ocean rise and fall around me. Weleave the cliffs and the rocky inlets and head toward the bobbing channelmarkers. My adventure on the open sea is over for the day and the overwhelmingsense of freedom subsides. I travel back to reality and watch the lobsterscrawling aimlessly in their tank.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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