Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fishing at Sunset

"So let me get this right, we are fishing with Canadian worms, grown in Michigan and trucked to Maine?" I said as if pondering the ins and outs of space travel. "Why the fuck wouldn't they just grow them in Maine or at the very least, call them Michigan worms?"

"Not sure, perhaps Canadian is some mongoloid earthworm bred for fishing" Tucker chirped, distracted by the writhing worm lanced by his size-4 hook.

"Regardless of its etymology, it's not like worms give a shit about where they are grown. I mean, mangoes only grow in the tropics, but worms can grow any where there is fucking dirt, right?" I swore out of the corner of my mouth as I untangled the bird's nest surrounding the end of my fishing reel.

"Yah, not sure," Tucker quickly dismissed. "Leave it to Walmart, they were the only place open," he said, pulling back the bail arm and clutching the line with his forefinger.
With a cast and a plunk, the question of origin of the name and need to import fishing worms was laid to rest as our attention transferred intently to the orange bobber swaying to and fro on the evening's waves.

Casting and then reeling in as our patience flowed in a wave-like motion, Tucker and I watched the sun slip towards the trees and vacation houses on the other side of Messalonskee Pond.

Contemplating the cloud formations, what we will be doing in five years and the origins of various bird songs, our conversations meandered with no agenda. Focusing on our bobbers, time slid by as we watched for a much anticipated movement of signaling a curious fish.

The Canadian worms; grown in Michigan and skewered in Maine.

After an hour and a half, an overzealous cast snagged a sixty-foot pine tree hanging over the bank. Tugging and swearing, the line snapped, ending our evening of fishing. Other than the tree, we caught nothing. Not even a bite. We will be back tomorrow.

Here are some more links,
Fishing at Sunset (Picasa).

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Stay Curious

Staring at the yellow club bow tie resting just below my teacher's scrunched chin, I sat listening to his systematic dissection of my final high school paper. "Sentence five on page three uses the passive voice, you should know better," the infamous Clint Darling said stroking his immaculately trimmed goatee. Years earlier, as lore had it, Gus Van Sant had sat in the exact same chair, enduring similarly pedantic conversations. Inspired by these exchanges, Gus based the teacher's character in Finding Forrester after this very same English teacher.

Having been accepted to Colby a few weeks earlier, I sat pleasantly disconnected from the well-worn editions of Homer's Odyssey, Romeo and Juliet, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn stuffed into the built-in wooden cabinets. Like a snowboarder looking down from a fast moving chair at the long lines of Camelpack-wearing yahoos waiting their turn below, I glowed with a naive sense of accomplishment having made it through the gauntlet only to wait in a similar line after a brief ride down the mountain.

As if bringing a comma splice to my attention on page four, Clint chimed, "I don't think you're going to graduate from college." Pausing to look up from my paper long enough to capture the look of disbelief on my face, he added, "You are too used to getting by on talent alone and haven't figured out how to put in the work."

Before he could continue his would-be monologue, I fired back "Why do you say that?" buying time to formulate my pithy defense.

"As I said, you have figured out how to get by by relying on talent and perception more so than genuine hard work," he asserted, removing his wire brim glasses from the tip of his nose and letting them hang loosely from between his index finger and thumb.

"Excelling in the limited range of ability of academia is barely a test of one's hard work and resolve," I said, rocking forward and dropping the two front legs of my chair back on the floor with a thud.

Four years later I sat in my last class of college at 9:15 on a sunny Friday morning. Oscillating between hungover and my default school-time daydreams (perfected after 17 years of practice), and rambunctious at the prospect of leaving lecture for the last time, I felt the minutes drag on like a seven year old boy's sleepless Christmas Eve.

Viewing college as a much needed four years of excused unemployment necessary to explore passions more than the time needed to find a significant other from a painfully similar background and hopefully make inroads on a lucrative, consistent career, I set off from the onset to experiment. Not in the 1960s, Fear-and-Loathing-at-College way but in the what-keeps-me up-at-night-scheming way.

I tried trading stocks. I tried surfing in 36° weather. I dated blond girls from prep schools. I tried running a student laundry business. I tried selling shoes through Flight Club. I even tried to be a student. I tried taking pictures. I tried rowing. I tried to get better at telling stories.

Despite getting a handful of C-'s on both my academic and extracurricular endeavors, I kept going with the stubbornness of a poorly trained Jack Russell terrier. Slowly but surely refining my area of search, I continue to explore.

These photos were taken on Friday, May 7th with my iPhone 3Gs and Canon 5D Mark II.

Mark Twain once said, "Never let your schooling interfere with your education." I like this quote not because it takes a shot at academia but because it suggests that education is a long-term endeavor, limited by curiosity, not by time spent studying at a respected institution.

Stay curious.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Out of Reception: My Last Month of College

I sat in my kindergarten classroom distracted by the other ruffians, the possibilities of the cloudless sky outside, and my teacher's shoulder pads. Idly playing with my hands, I picked at a patch of road rash from a bike accident a week earlier. Quietly ticking over Mrs. Basham's shoulder, the big hand crept towards 9 and the promise of wall ball and the creaking swing sets. The moment the bell rang, I knocked over my chair as I scrambled to the door.

Seventeen years and 3,300 miles away from the linoleum floors of my cold war era elementary school, I pass time in the final classes of my conventional education, checking my watch with the same eagerness as an ADD five-year old. Excited by the prospect of new experiences and a faster pace of life, I kick back in my chair. Instead of staring into the depths of my small hands, I flick and tap on the screen of my iPhone taking pictures of my last month of college.

Colby's woodshop in Sidney, Maine.

My last field trip, Belgrade, Maine.

Spending an afternoon in Sheep's Meadow, Central Park.

Subway maintenance, New York.

Riding my De Bernardi, Waterville Maine.

Master's weekend, Middlebury, Vermont.

Apartment searching, West Village.

Sitting by the Johnson Pond, Colby College.

Enjoying New England's oysters.

A Frito Bandito in Vermont.

Hopefully this time, I won't knock over the chair.

All of these photos were taken with my iPhone 3Gs and filtered with Colorcross from Camerbag.