“C’mon Boyd, the day’ll soon be gone!” my father calls from outside my bedroom door in his matter-of-fact tone. He is neither upset nor impatient; just simply reminding me that at 5:10 AM we should be nearly ready to go. “Yeah, I’m coming,” I say as I look for my clothes. We meet in the small kitchen that overlooks Conception Bay, NL and prepare a simple lunch of bread and molasses, homemade raisin tea biscuits and tins of pop and Vachon Buns to take with us. The rugged hills that dominate Upper Island Cove are alive with the chirping of birds that, like my father, believe in getting an early start. It’s July, 1985 and the cod fishery is in full swing. My father, a World War 2 veteran has spent a lifetime on the ocean. It is my firm belief that salt water runs through his veins. I can see features emerge from the shadows as the night loosens its grip on this side of the world the farther along the coastline we go in our 18 foot boat. The air is moist and fresh and leaves my lips salty and parched. We go to a place called Crab Ledge, his favourite fishing spot, and then Mickles Ground a little further to the Northeast. An hour or so passes, not much is said and we have caught plenty of fish. It’s been a productive morning. The sun is well launched into the morning sky, making the calm waters sparkle like diamonds. My father is staring off into the water, captivated by some memory no doubt. “Some clear isn’t it,” I say. “Hmm? Oh yes. Great mornin’ fer it,” he offers. “I remember when we went in through the Mediterranean. Made three or four trips in to Malta supplyin’ her with provisions. We were the only thing keepin’ her goin’. Germans bombed her day and night for years. The water was so clear you could almost drink it.” I feel like I am pulling something sharp and jagged out through the soft belly of his soul so I change the subject and we get ready to head to the wharf and ‘clear away’ our fish. After we have salted them, we take a fresh one and head for home and have lunch. The Federal Government, after decades of allowing foreign overfishing to take place here in our waters, closed the Newfoundland cod fishery in 1992 due to dwindling stocks and, in so doing, changed a way of life forever. Nowadays, for a couple of weeks each summer and autumn, they reopen the fishery to let people go out and jig a limited number of fish. These restrictions, born of resource mismanagement, have been a bitter pill for many to swallow, especially the older folk. As a province we continue to change- to evolve- as the new generation grows up, for the most part, without the pleasure and privilege of life on the ocean.
by Wayne Chan | May 3rd 11:55 am
My daily commute is like a small gear of mechanical time, of epicycles upon epicycles, where days turn to months and to years, and the seasons cycle through. The rhythms of time are constant, but the changes they bring are not.
by george ilsley | May 3rd 1:44 pm
The neighborhood of Broma in Vancouver (around Broadway and Main) used to have salmon streams and a temperate rainforest. Now it has hipsters.
by Brendan Harrison | Apr 12th 12:54 pm
When white supremacists moved into my neighbourhood, I was forced to reconsider what community meant to me.
by Monica Meneghetti | May 2nd 11:45 pm
Queer Banffites come in every stripe but, like other wildlife, most of us are well-camouflaged.
by Christin Geall | May 3rd 10:16 pm
In my neighborhood, houses float out to sea. They’re jacked up from their foundations, lifted onto trucks, and barged away.