|The Poisoned Ink Well|
Friday, February 13, 2004
Repost from last year (I'm still working on this!)
(this is a piece that I continue to work on, it grows, evolves, and changes daily)
Ed and I boarded the Ferry that takes passengers from Port Clinton, Ohio to Put-n-Bay Island, a tourist destination on Lake Erie
I sat at the back of the boat on a metal bench, I propped my feet up on the rail, and surveyed the immediate area
From my two story vantage point, I could see a grocery store and a seafood restaurant where we had just eaten fried walleye filets
across from me was the garage that Ed's great grandfather John Zetzer had owned; the parking lot still had the old man's name etched on the brick wall
and then I looked at the harbor with its sailing vessels, mahogany cabin cruisers, fishing boats, and small black and white dwarf lighthouse
A raucous crowd began to gather on the deck, a whole group of corporate kids (middle aged business men and their underlings)
in their matching red company blazers, around 20 of them, laughing, leering, stumbling, intoxicated, flirting and chatting with all the women.
grandmas, grandpas, and teenagers, in Hawaiian shirts, tank tops, blue jean shorts, straw hats, flip flops and tennis shoes, all laughing and going to get drunk.
The ferry powered up and began moving across Lake Erie's, grayish-white wave tossed waters; I stared at the whisps of cloud against a blue sky
and the disappearing, storm faded, old city buildings of downtown Port Clinton and the docks and pylons alternating with the wake of the boat
I wondered why he’d ever left a place so beautiful, then I thought about a time when he and I lived in Louisiana at Head of Island on the Amite river.
He was exasperated with me as I tried to direct him in the proper boarding of a Batto as we piled in to go to Lake Marepaus to fish for our dinner.
He was so much fun; he woke up every morning and stood at the end of our pier in his undershorts and sang the Banana Boat song at the top of his lungs.
Our neighbor across the river was a chef from Detroit who cooked Cajun food at a local hotel and he would come outside and sing with him.
I would listen to their voices mingling with the fog and the sound of splashes as they checked trot lines and hauled in our meals for the day.
I turned and stared at the sun, closed my eyes for a minute, and let the wind blow at my hair, beating against my forehead in a wild pattern
Ed tapped my arm and hugged me, placing his chin in the curve of my neck, before he took his Harachi clad feet up the metal steps to the next deck
to talk with a pretty brown, wavy haired, dark eyed, girl of sixteen who was all dressed in freckles, laughter, and a white halter top sundress.
I looked back at the Victorian style, prohibition era, summer homes with their gazebos and the ivy crawling lattice work and the red and yellow rose bushes.
and the wild grasses of the islands dotted with red cardinal flowers, orange trumpet creepers, white bone-set flowers, and acres of hardwood;
cottonwood, green ash, juniper, dogwood, oak, maple, and elm, growing along and beyond the rocky banks of the meandering shoreline as we sped past;
I felt the misty foam touch my face like early morning dew and I looked in the distance at the faint bluish purple traces of the Canadian shore.
It occurred to me that I was lucky to be there. That if I had never believed in Ric, or his music, or his poetry, or his life song
I would not have a curly headed teenage son who laughs, cries, sings, and shouts with the perfect timing of his musician father
I can hear his father’s voice echo in the many mansions of his mind like a haunting melody in the dance of his footsteps, his life, and in his voice.
I thought about our ferry ride and I stared deep into the shimmering blue-gray waters of Lake Erie; the wind continued to blow my hair in a carefree way.
I imagined his soul in the moist breeze on the ends of my eyelashes
I imagined his soul through the vibration of the motor on the pads of my feet
I imagined his soul smiling inside me like a sated feeling in the bottom of my stomach
I imagined his soul in the waves that rocked the ferry and moved my shoulders back and forth
I imagined his soul in the rhythm of my heart as it beat faster when the boat picked up speed
I imagined his soul like a dolphin dancing in the waves splashing along behind us in the lake
I imagined his soul on the tip of my tongue like something I’d forgotten to say; the last time I saw him hair damp in the rain
I imagined his soul in the refracting, shifting, and changing beams of sunlight that rippled and sparkled on the water
I imagined his soul laughing in the green tree tops of the hardwoods and pine growing along the gray craggy cliffs
I imagined his soul flying with the sea gulls swooping down to the frothy swirling water up to the clouds and finally free
I imagined his soul singing with the birds; I could hear his strong sad life song enduring in their cries, and chest beat of wings
I imagined his soul in the steady damp breeze that tousled my hair and blew at my dress and touched every inch of my skin
I imagined his soul in the rustling of clothing and footsteps and in a dozen different conversations in the crowd around me
I imagined his soul in the eyes of our son as he smiled at me and leaned over the rail to feel the foam-born splash of water
I imagined his soul in the gusts that billowed and powered the sails of a passing ship
I had a long friendly talk with him and in my head
I talked to the sky and the lake and the wake of the boat and the seagulls trailing along
I talked to the houses that lined the shores and sail boats docked in the harbor.
I talked to the clouds, and the sun, and the spirit that was Ric
I said thank you to Ric and thank you to God
Thank you for giving me this day, thank you for this healthy son
Thank you for the chance to be here
Thank you for the chance to see what you saw when you were growing up
Thank you for the chance to meet your family and your friends
then I knew, it was so obvious, that I almost missed it.
God is easy to see, so easy that sometimes we overlook the blessings that are abundant in our lives.
Our trek, our journey, our visit, our pilgrimage to Port Clinton and to Lake Erie
to visit the grave of my son‘s father was all meant to be.
I may work on this some more, it might become something else. I haven't decided.