15 April 2012

what else

There are sewing needles in my camera bag. Yesterday as we were looking at old pictures, Theo picked a packet of them up off the dresser and said, "Do you want these?" I showed her the sagging pocket on my sweater and told her I'd been meaning to fix it, but didn't have a needle. Well there you go, she said and put them in my hand.

I've been spending long days driving up to Swan's Island and back lately, even staying the night one time. I know the dog, Georgie, who hangs around the dock in Bass Harbor and asks you for peanuts. I know the ferry worker, Gordon, who's originally from Charlottesville, Virginia and used to work on the research vessel Columbia. I know by sight the clammer who lives in his car and goes back and forth to the mainland in muck boots that roll down at the knees.  I know that the last boat to the mainland on Saturdays this time of year is practically empty and that the one going across on weekdays at 6:45 am is packed full. I know that at that time of day, the moss and seaweed on the rocks by the ocean look fluorescent orange and the lakes in Acadia are like silver.

It's been almost two weeks since I first visited Swan's to (re)create this story. I say recreate because that's what it feels like. The pieces are all there and will still be there after I leave, it's just my job to splice it all together in another place for someone else to see, hear, and understand. I'm the funnel.  I shuffle things up. When they come out, hopefully it will be true to what's really there. We hear a lot, at Salt, about "getting" the story.  About asking the right questions, capturing the perfect moments, digging deep into somebody's words to pull out what's really being said. But the thing they don't tell you here is that there's more to the whole process than that. There's a lot more. There's Gordon and Georgie. Silver lakes and ferry rides. Muddy boots and homemade applesauce. And when you get back, sewing needles in your camera bag.



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