We’ve been fishing like crazy, going so often I walk around in a fog even on days when the sun is high and bright.
We’ve been catching lobsters like crazy, too. You’d think that would make Dad happy. But when we were driving back home after going to the co-op the other night, he wasn’t exactly jumping for joy.
Dad (pulling out onto West Island Road, the one that takes you out to our part of the island): Figures. The bugs are practically jumping on top of the traps to be caught. But I’ve never seen the price any lower.
We drove along for a while, the dusk settling in earlier than it has been. I felt myself starting to nod off.
Dad: Get some rest now, Eddie. We don’t have any choice but to fish as hard as we can. Weather or no weather.
I have to say I don’t mind fishing back-to-back-to-back. Sure, sometimes I get the feeling when we’re hauling and hauling and hauling that I’d like to be back ashore, snoozing, or maybe bumping into Hallie Ryder, or going out bassing, or doing something besides banging around on the boat.
But you know what?
As soon as I get back ashore and we’ve unloaded the catch and put the boat away and we’ve eaten and cleaned up and maybe grabbed a few hours of sleep, I’m itchy. It’s like an itch inside my belly. Itchy for the sea.
Itchy to feel those dock planks beneath my boots again.
Itchy to feel the boat bow under my weight when we climb aboard.
Itchy to feel the vibration of the diesel practically rattling my teeth.
Itchy to plunge my hands into that stinking herring and start baiting the bags.
Itchy to feel the boat’s bow rise up and her stern settle down as Dad throttles up and we head out toward Fog Island Light.
Itchy to steam into open water and watch the flash of the lighthouse or the boney finger of dunes on the barrier beach start to drop away behind us.
Itchy to spot the first buoy and feel the water flick on my face as the hauler whips the line up and the trap rises out of the dark green depths.
Itchy to snag the trap and open her up and toss out the weed and the rocks and the little crabs and shorts and find two, three, and, this summer, sometimes four or more keepers.
Itchy to feel that fatigue from working all day picking and rebaiting and resetting traps and riding up and down on the swell.
Itchy to look out at the endless horizon and listen to the chatter of the other lobstermen on the radio, to watch the birds and the whales and the dolphins.
Itchy to feel that sense of satisfaction from cleaning the boat as the sun turns to a pink ball and melts on the horizon and it’s cool and you’re steaming home with another load.
Yeah, I get itchy.
I get itchy to be back on the water, no matter how tired I am or how low the price of lobsters is.