Immigration + Boat Beauty











There's something that happens when you become truly intimate with a place.  Something that happens years past the initial impression, beyond the honeymoon, through some nightmarish moments & the everyday.  You realize - I am home.  I am in a place that has absorbed me so completely that I am now able to look at it through both old & new eyes at the same time.


I have been soaking up a place & become overwhelmed by it.  


I watch my boys, tying the ropes, driving the boats, bailing the kayaks, taking off their diapers & putting on their lifejackets first thing in the morning.  I realize that this place is in their genes.  And I am an immigrant.  I can barely swim.  I have these mini fear-surges every time I drive them over a wave.  They scream, "faster, faster!"  They can't tie their shoes, not even the seven year-old, but both older boys, 7 & 3 years old, can throw the ropes off a docking boat, jump out of said moving boat, & tie the ropes onto a post or cleat.  As can the thousands of other children who live on this lake.  


I am clumsy with those ropes.  They fall in the water.  I have to reach out to grab the post with my arm, stretching it long, as I remember to turn off the engine.  And yet.  This year.  I can do it in my sleep.  The neighbors watched me with the unconditional love they reserve for immigrant islanders, as I smoothly docked the little work boat, A Whaler, they call them out here (Boston Whaler).  I felt so proud inside, it was my first smooth docking this year.  Then I missed my moment to tie up & the boat floated off towards the rocks, me with hands around the post & one toe pulling in the boat railing.  A large cruiser sent me 2 foot-waves, so I was at once flying & balancing, up, down, up, down.  At the next dock they played the ukulele while saying, "Now she's doing tai chi.  Hmm.  Tai Chi."


I am home, & yet I am really of another place.  I will not go back so easily.


I am always at some random cultural intersection.  Where are you?