Thanksgiving-tide

It has been a week since I have been in the Ship Smith Shop in Mystic Seaport. The reason? THANKSGIVING. My break started early Sunday morning with a drive to Boston to pick up my mother who then stayed with me in Mystic for Monday and Tuesday. She had never been to the Museum before so I figured it was my job to see that she got the full experience. More than that, I wanted her to enjoy herself but also come to understand why I love being here so much and, if I may be needy, get her full approval on the spot. Now, my mom and I usually do not do museums together. Honestly, we are both a little bit too ADD for it and when you put us together our patience with static exhibits drops to a hair above nonexistent. Luckily for us most of the Museum is not static! True, there are some exhibits that act more like art museums than interactive maritime play havens but we did not focus on those.  In the end, we did not get to see much of the Museum but we DID spend quite a bit of time in the Ship Smith and in the Print  Shop.

 I leaned a few things over those two days- 1. The terms uppercase and lowercase for lettering come from the actual placement of cases of letters in a print shop. The capital letters were kept in the “upper case” and the normal letters were kept in the “lower case” 2. Type setters did not look at the type they were setting for printing, much like a person who is good at typing does not look at the keys 3. I get many of my “I’m excited” mannerisms from my mother, including but not limited to exclamations with silent clapping, quick repetitive nodding, and talking out my thoughts about what is going on audibly to myself. 

By the time we left I think she was truly excited about what I am learning here and does want me to continue learning for as long as I can make it work; an act of encouragement that, coupled with my father’s enthusiastic support, means a lot.

But anyhow, more on that and my life decisions later. It was then off to Lowell Massachusetts to see the rest of her side of the family (except for an Uncle and Aunt who live back in Florida). I am sure that many of you have done thanksgiving or some other holiday with family or a family of friends so you know how that goes. No need to detail my family and our craziness here. But I do want to let you know the many different reactions I got from people when I told them that I am learning blacksmithing.  I learned to be ready for the seemingly mandatory but always stressful question of “so, what are you doing now?”

Responses: confusion, pride, excitement because I could make them something cool, happiness that I seemed happy, surprise, “why?”, a blank stare, “well what are you going to do”?, whole hearted appreciation and support because I need not do this forever and perhaps will not do this forever but the possibility and applications are endless and heck it makes for a damn good story, telling me that this is my niche so I really had better realize that and stick with it,  “Oh my gosh don’t get hurt!!”, “A what? Those exist?”, and one of my favorites- the guffaw followed by a few slow appreciative head nods.

I can understand where most of those reactions came from and, weirdly enough, I think I am thankful for getting them all. The responses to what I am doing ran the gamut and in doing so made me ride an emotional roller coaster  I experienced everything from seriously considering that I should just pack up my bags and leave the forge if I know what’s good for me, to wanting to stay for as long as possible learning everything I can about everything I see here. At this point I am leaning in the latter direction. I have basically decided that, even though my time on the Sprightly Fellowship will be ending in a few weeks, I am going to try to stay around learning for as long as I can. I am applying for a job in the Ship Yard to work on the Charles W. Morgan, which may or may not pan out, and am looking for a place within walking distance of the Museum to stay in for at least a few more months.  This decision is not final for me just yet, I might figure something else out or need to do something else for whatever reason, but my Thanksgiving taught me how much I missed being in the shop every day and how much more I have to learn. I hope that my almost choice is not mediated by a fear of not knowing what to do next but rather by excitement for what I am doing now, but there are moments when the lines between the two are blurred. I hope that what I said to my good friend Stephanie this morning was true, that choosing to stay in a place is not the same as getting stuck in one. What I know is that I am excited by the prospect of learning more about this craft. I am excited about the people who I am learning from and the people I am meeting. I am excited to, potentially and if all goes well, to learn more about boat building and other essential maritime crafts as well as how they are being passed on. And sometimes, if I think hard enough, I am excited about this life on land with my body in work and heart contemplating the sea, solid in some ways but wafting hither and thither in others, turning my head to the sun and gazing at the horizon. 

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A Lesson in Twists (Chapters I-IV)

 Given the past few posts, I think it is about time for some straight up fun metal work again!

This is a lesson in decorative twists from the lovely Mike Bartles, who is an amazing teacher, whether he will believe it or not.

Last week Mike told me that we would do a twisting workshop the next time we were in the Smith together again. Little did I know that there would ACTUALLY be a workshop format to the day! So without any more hesitation we have…Lessons I-IV

 *Note- to make any of the following twists you need to have square stock metal, a vice to clamp the metal in, and a wrench to twist the metal with. You cannot see the change in the face of a circle when you spin it around, and you cannot twist the metal using only your hands .*

Chapter I- The Simple Twist

For this twist you heat the metal to a yellow orange heat, place it in the vice perpendicular to the ground, clamp the wrench to the metal and rotate the wrench 180* keeping the handle of the wrench perpendicular to the metal and parallel to the ground/the top of the vice.

For an example see the picture in the banner at the top of the blog!

Chapter II- The Wave

Step 1: Choose the total area you want the twist to cover

Step 2: Heat your metal and clamp it in the vice. You will want to place your wrench ½ of the way between where you want the twist to start and end because the metal with twist ½ way between where it is clamped in the vice and where the wrench is.

Step 3: Twist the piece 90 or 180 degrees. Remember the way you twisted and how much you twisted! I always twist clockwise, so that is fairly easy for me to do.

Step 4: Put the metal back in the fire. When it is hot again remove it and cool the portion of metal you already twisted from the bottom up by dipping it in your water trough (mine is at the end of the forge). Do not cool the part you want to twist.

Step 5: Clamp the metal back in the vice and place your wrench so that you be twisting the same amount of metal you did previously starting at the top of your cooled twist.

Step 6: Twist the metal the same amount you did previously only in the opposite direction.

You will end up with something like this!

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Chapter III- The Accented Twist

For the following two twists you will need, in addition to the wrench and vice, an anvil, a chisel or cutting tool, and a dog or other clamp that will hold your metal stable and flat on the anvil as you work on it.

Step 1: Heat your metal. While it is heating get your tools set up. You will need a soft hammer and whatever tool you will be using to score your metal handy along with a dog (a tool you will see in the following picture) or some sort of clamp.

Step 2: When the metal is hot, move quickly. Remove it from the fire, lay it flat on the anvil on the long axis and stabilize it. Choose how much you will want to twist and, with the cutting tool, make a straight line mark along the middle of the flat face of the metal along that length.

 

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Step 3: Repeat for all remaining three faces. The scores do not have to be deep, they just have to be apparent.

Step 4: Twist the metal as you did for Lesson 1!

Here is the outcome!

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Chapter IIIB- Accented Wave

You can make an accented wave by doing steps 1-3 and then continuing with the method for Part 2 rather than Lesson 1. Sorry, I do not have a picture for this one!

Lesson IV – The Pineapple Twist

Step 1: Begin with Steps 1-4 of Lesson 3. You will have a completed Accented Twist!

Step 2: Heat your metal and bring it to your anvil. With a hammer flatten each of the four twisted faces. They do not have to be completely flat, in fact they shouldn’t be, but they should be flat enough to provide you with a stable surface to clamp to the anvil and score with the cutting tool again. Because….

Step 3: Heat your metal again and score each already twisted and newly flattened face as you did before. Make sure your scores are equally long the second time around.

Step 4: Heat again (Heat is your friend!!) and clamp your metal in the vice in the same place you did for the first twist. With your wrench twist the metal back in the opposite direction as your original twist for ½ the amount it was already twisted. For example, if you twisted 180* to the right before, twist 90* to the left this time. If you twisted 90* to the left to start, twist the metal back 45* to the right.

*** In order for this twist to look right, only do your first twist in multiples of 90*. It will make your life a lot easier.***

You will end up with a finished piece that looks like this!

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If you want you can brush the surface of the twist with a brass brush that leaves the raised bumps with a golden sheen, making the details stand out more sharply.

Chapter IVB- The Squiggle

Mike and I realized that this was a cool twist together in the shop that day. Basically, it is the same as the Pineapple twist only you do not score the sides a second time as you did in Step 2 of Lesson 4. By removing the second score, but still flattening the faces and untwisting ½ way your are left with this interesting looking finish—

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You definitely want to finish this with a brass brush as the fun abstract waves on the twist are barely visible without the gold to highlight them.

I am so excited to keep making things now that I actually know how to do these finishing touches. Now I can make sets of hooks that progress, personalize small trinkets, and move forward with more complicated design work. 

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From the Mouths of Babes

When I was in the shop today a mother came in with four young girls, I do know if they were a family, but I guess it doesn’t really matter. I was working in the corner of the shop at a hand cranked drill press cutting a hole into a coat hook I had just finished for a friend’s home-made scarf rack. They came over to me after looking around the far side of the shop and asked what I was doing.

“What are you doing?” (Asked the tallest, and I believe oldest, of the girls)

“Well, what do you think I am doing?” (I responded)

We had a nice little exchange about drilling holes while I quickly finished the project and knelt down to show it to them. This is when the smallest of the girls, she looked to be about four years old, looked at me and asked something.

“Are you a girl?”, she chirped quite sincerely.

She did not seem to be joking, although I did give her a few seconds to start giggling just in case. Nope, she just actually wanted to know if I was a girl.  Her mother gave her a little shove in the back and scolded her under her breath as she had done earlier when the same girl told me that I have crazy hair (which admittedly, I do). But the child just looked at me and waited for my answer.

Which was, “Yes, I am.” And then I looked at her the same way she looked at me. Waiting. Expecting.

“But this is a boy job.”

Ok. I get it. This is not the time or place to go on a rant about sex and gender, gender norms and expectations, the problems with the assumptions underlying her question, or even my problems with answering. But that does not mean that I am going to let everything the question made me think about slide.

 

I cannot fault the girl for assuming that I should be a boy, or choosing to ask me outright If I am. I can, however, fault a telling of history that depicts women as absent from the craft of blacksmithing and engage with my own thoughts on the subject.

The truth is that a substantial part of why I wanted to do this job was because blacksmithing is often assumed to be a boy’s world and I wanted to prove that a girl can do it just as well or better.  I enjoy the surprise on many people’s faces when they come into the shop and are introduced to me as “the apprentice” and I smiled when a group of older women came into the shop and told me that it was “nice to see a lady in here”.  In my happiness at being acknowledged as a woman I must concede that I am complicit in a culture that defines blacksmithing as male. It took a little girl asking me whether I was a boy or not to make me realize that fact.

 There seems to be something that screams “MAN” about swinging around a hammer and slamming it on hot metal. I am of the mind that this has at least something to do with media representations of blacksmiths in which they are usually big burly men with beards, hands like dinner plates, and gruff attitudes (Orlando Bloom in Pirates of the Caribbean notwithstanding). Blacksmithing, however, is not a single sex craft by nature, design, or historical fact. The talent of a smith does not hinge on his or her strength but rather on technique and learned skill. Yes, sometimes I think it would be nice to be stronger, but this only comes when I imagine working on a very large piece of metal for a very long time with a very small hammer. Sometimes I actually surprise myself when I am working and in a fit of frustration swing my hammer harder than I mean to. As it turns out, I rarely use most of my available mechanical energy and have not yet felt that I could not do a job adequately because I can’t do a pull up. So that rules out the apparent gender bias on a physical basis. And as far as history goes, I still need to figure out how to use the US Census records perfectly to get the exact numbers, but I have been told that there was something like 200 women who reported their occupation as “Blacksmith” in the 1880 census. I know that is not many, but they did exist, and that number does not include the many women who could blacksmith and worked in the shops of husbands, brothers, or fathers. So there goes history too.

I am proud to be a woman learning to blacksmith and here I acknowledge the place I have in a much un-talked about legacy of female crafts people. I tip my hat now to those women who work metal today and who have made their way in this craft in the past. I am not ground breaking but I hope to do something by at least bringing attention to that fact.

I hope that sooner or later there will be no need to ask me if I am a boy.

The short exchange concluded with me telling the girls that they can do anything they want and the oldest responding that “maybe she would be a carpenter” when she grew up. The others giggled at her when she said it, and she almost seemed embarrassed as she left, but I feel for her and I hope she doesn’t get scared away from learning if she actually wants to try.

When I was in kindergarten I got in trouble with my teacher because, on “Countries of the World Day” (each class was a different country and paraded around the school in costume…my class was Spain) I refused to be a “boy matador” and would not let her draw a fake mustache on my face. There was a parent teacher conference and everything. So you could say that I have been thinking about the topic of gendered jobs for a while. It took a little girl asking a not so silly question for me to address it again. Her sincerity and confusion was abrupt because there was a clear disconnect for her between what she saw (me) and what she thought “boys” and “girls” do, and perhaps what the terms “boy” and “girl” even mean.  Maybe I am thinking too far into this short interaction, but I don’t think so.

I could go on for days if I let myself, so here I will make myself sit. Forgive me for being abrupt. Perhaps I will pick up again soon.

Here’s, to you Lady Blacksmiths of the past and future! May you never be forgotten.

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Fiddling and Fixing

This past weekend I went back to Williams College for Homecoming. It was, exciting might be the word, to go back to a place that I love(ed) so much. I was only able to connect in depth with a few people, for better or for worse, but I was able to have so much fun responding to the question of “So, what are you doing now?” with the answer of “Blacksmithing.” *pulls piece of metalwork from pocket * Many of my classmates showed really great support, or at least pleasure, in the fact that I was doing something a bit out of left field.

While at Williams I saw many people who I clearly cherish and others who I missed more than I was previously willing to admit. There were even a few people who I did not expect to see, but who, as a product of being just who they are, gave me exactly what I needed. I was surprised by certain peoples’ warmth; warmth that I probably did not show full appreciation of, but if any of you read this, thank you in retrospect!  With this in mind, I wish I had hugged more people more often, but there might be next year, and the year after that, far into the future. I had an absolutely amazing time (do not forget that!) but  If it were up to me, there would be a way for me to go back in time and fiddle with the weekend- tweaking just a few interactions and choices, shaping the moment in the way that I do metal every day. I would make different choices and fix the things that did not go exactly as I wish they had. That realization, along with my frustrating project today, led me, at least in part, to this post.

I went into the shop today (Monday) after a forge-less weekend ready and rearing to do something great. I wanted to live up to the vibrant persona I tried to present over the weekend! That purpose, to me, meant doing something new, creative, and exciting. It meant twisting iron.

So, I set out to make a hook with a double twist and a heart. This involved tapering and bending one side of the ¼ round stock of metal bar into the shape of a coat hook, doubling over the rest of the bar, welding it together, twisting it around itself, cutting the end, and shaping it into a heart. None of this happened the way I had planned, and I was pissed.

The day began pretty perfectly, really. I made a beautiful round eye for the end and shaped the rod it into the bottom of what I thought was a pretty beautiful coat hook if I do say so myself.

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But that happiness did not last because, while bending over the top half of the rod and trying to weld it togehter, I burnt the darn hook off!  It is not a happy feeling having to fish through a fire for the remnants of something you were once so happy with (yes, please make that applicable to life if you so choose but at the time I did not!).

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The rest of the day was one snafoo after another. While I did get the metal to twist into a salvageable shape it took me hours of fiddling with fire, pliers, and hammers to make the top of the twist look anything like a heart I would be happy with.

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“How the heck do I even hold this thing!”

 

And when I say hours, this is not an understatement. HOURS.

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This was my first attempt at making symmetrical sides of a heart. Did not quiiiiiiiiite work out.

But again, after all of the fiddling, I was happy with this—

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The pointed end at the bottom is where the original hook shape was meant to be

So I decided to scrap the hook idea since, in blacksmtihng, as in life, sometimes you do not end up with what you thought you would. I decided that this hook would become a skeleton key in the same way a friend can become and enemy or a love or nothing at all. Or, how a night you thought would be a boring turns into an adventure. I can be flexible, I told myself! This will be great!

But again, nothing quite worked as planned. The weld at the bottom of the twist had not taken and the point ended up being too thin to weld a piece of flat stock (what would have become the teeth of a key) onto to. My teacher Owen and I found that out after something like four tries at welding it together.

So plan C emerged. My project would not be a hook, and it would become not the romantic “key to my heart” that Own and I had come up with. It would instead be a letter opener, a glorified dull knife with a heart on it. But hey, I get letters that need to be opened don’t I?! It would be great!

Then this happened

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All of the welding attempts had weakened the metal so it cracked along one of the previously (and apparently poorly) welded edges. By this time it was 4pm and I was so fed up I wanted to throw the piece against the wall. I held myself back (barely).

The day’s project was a failure, and tied up in that failure was a sense of worthlessness that I could not quite get past. What was wrong with me this weekend that I couldn’t make everything go just right? What was wrong with me that I couldn’t create a beautiful piece of art? Ok, now I know you are probably thinking that I need to get off of my little pitty party horse right this very minute but this was, and still remains, a serious thing! Think and try to tell me that you have never gone back in your mind and tried to figure out how you would have fixed something or done something differently to provide yourself with a different, and “better” outcome?

I got rid of that project and with it I am trying to throw away my need to be as close to perfect as possible all the time with whatever I do. Its not going very well, but even the thought is a start! I am coming to realize that sometimes mistakes become great final outcomes, but sometimes they are simply mistakes. Sometimes they just have to be thrown into the river and washed away.  

I am going to focus on small meditative projects tomorrow—making nails, making chain, ect. While doing that I am going to practice a mantra one of my best friends taught me at homecoming. I will ask myself, “do I feel awesome?” and if the answer isn’t a rousing “YES!” I will figure out at least one reason why I should feel awesome, hold on to it, and allow myself to learn from my mistakes rather than hold onto them and so allow myself fiddle with them into forever.  

Here’s hoping,

Ali

 

 

 

 

 

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Coal, Coke, and Clinker

I realize that I wrote a post early on in this project about how to light a fire, but I have decided to do it again, this time with pictures! Really, who the heck understood what I was saying earlier anyway? I barely knew what “clinker” was, so how could I expect you to?

The fire is the most basic thing you need when you are trying to do forge work. This may seem obvious…that’s because it is; but obvious does not necessarily equal silly.There is a big difference between a good fire and a bad fire, and if you do not take the time to start your morning fire off right you will be kicking yourself whole day long! If your fire is not tall enough, hot enough, or clean enough you will not be able to heat your metal quickly and fully nor will you be able to do fun things like weld.

Everyone starts off their fires a little differently, so this description is by no means the end all be all of “how to” guides. It is, however, the way that I am the most comfortable with after just shy of a month in the shop—So here goes!

When I get to the shop in the morning my forge looks like this-

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Notice that it is full of stuff. I can’t do anything with that, so the first step is to clean out the firebox (the indentation where all of the coals are sitting).  

***NOTE*** DO NOT SHOVE YOUR HANDS INTO A FIREBOX WITHOUT KNOWING FOR CERTAIN THAT IT IS COLD! Items on a forge that look black in color can be over 1000*F so do not, I repeat DO NOT, trust your eyes. I know that my forge has been out of use for over 12 hours so I have no problem diving right in a cleaning it out with my bare hands but please please do not just go up to some random forge and attempt to move things with your hands willy nilly. You will be burned. Your skin will sizzle. It will not be fun. Trust me, I know.

Anyway, since I know my forge is cold the next thing I do is take everything out a separate the contents into piles of green coal (left), coke (middle), and clinker (right). For the longest time I could not actually tell the difference between these things so…well, I just guessed and got a face full of smoke and ash every morning in return.

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 Green coal:

Soft bituminous coal or “Green Coal”, gives off an acrid yellow green smoke when it is burned. That smoke is made up of the impurities burning away, so its creation is necessary, but it is not the best stuff to fill a room with. Additionally, green coal does not light easily, and takes a long time to heat up so, clearly, you do not want to start your fire with this stuff. However, you do need it to keep your fire going all day long. You can tell green coal by its dark grey or black color and glisten to the surface. Coke (green coal with the impurities burned away) does not glisten in that way. Another identifying feature is that prior to burning, green coal comes in clear singular pieces that sound like a rock with you tap on them. This may seem like a strange thing to point out, but it does come in handy later!

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Yes, those are my purple and gold fingernails! Not ashamed.

Coke:

This is what you want to use to start your fire. Coke catches fire easily and radiates the heat necessary for forge work. Unlike green coal, coke often remains in clumps. It also is usually lighter in color and sounds like Styrofoam when you hit it with a pair of tongs. Sound is important since none of the visual cues I have listed can be trusted 100% of the time while the chemical structures of coal, coke, and clinker relate directly to the sounds they make, making hearing a more reliable sense that sight. 

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Clinker:

Clinker is what is left after coke burns to ash and smoke. It is made up of nonburnable waste such as silica so, while it looks red hot in the fire, it is actually absorbing heat and cooling your fire down rather than heating it up. Clinker can look like this-ImageSee how it has a smooth shiny surface?

Or like this-Image

This looks like a mixture of dirt and mulch to me.

Once you know what you are looking for, clinker is easy to pick out and throw away. Far FAR away.

Now that you have your piles it is time to ball up newspaper into a large ball. This is one of the best parts of the morning because you get to take out any excess anger left behind from the  day before AND you get to read the comics if you are lucky enough to find them

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The rest of the fire building goes pretty quickly. You light the bottom of the paper ball with a match with it in the fire box and pump the bellows to feed air to through the forge until it is well caught.

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Then shovel your pile of coke on top of the burning ball while continually pumping the bellows and shoveling your green coal onto the back 1/3-1/2 of the fire pot so that it can start turning into coke. Eventually the ball of paper will be burned away and collapse in upon itself leaving a nice bed of burning coke in its stead.

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I am sorry if that was repetitive. I just felt like I needed to do a better job presenting this important part of my daily life and the best way to do that was to present it again with clear visual markers. I hope you were not too bored! Worst case scenario, you can adapt this into being able to light a pretty awesome barbecue!

 

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Untitled

Though you will probably never see this—

 

To the family and friends of Claudene Chirstian,

I am so sorry for your loss.

 

To the family and friends of Captain Robin Walbridge,

I sincerely hope that your loved one is returned safely to you.

 

To the greater boating, fishing, sailing community,

I hope you are able to find some small solace in the shared pain and confusion of your shipmates. There is little that can be said. My thoughts are with you. I am sorry for your losses as well, both from this event and those unsung before.

 

To those of you who do not already know,

Hurricane Sandy did not only create devastation on land, she also caused tragedy at sea. The tall ship, the HMS Bounty (http://www.tallshipbounty.org/) sank off of the coast of North Carolina on Monday during the storm. The internet is full of reports concerning the event and I encourage you to read what you wish. I do not intend to relate what I know of the events here or to speculate about what could have been done, or even try to say that I can start to understand what is going on in the hearts and minds of those affected. I am here to pay whatever homage I can to the feelings I experienced yesterday while sitting in a room with people who I hope to be able to call friends. People who had sailed with the Bounty’s Captain and her crew on both the Bounty herself and other ships. People who, if I interpreted what I experienced correctly, were and remain confused, upset, and perhaps even angry about how Monday’s events came to pass, and who feel pain of varying degrees in their wake.  

I sat silent yesterday when her sinking was mentioned. Memories were shared, and the events discussed. The small lamp lit room was full of people, shipmates, sailors, and others who care. After a time it got quiet and I could feel the sadness of questions in the back of my throat right above my tongue. But I couldn’t ask why it happened, or why I felt the way I did. I couldn’t give an opinion, and I couldn’t even say “I’m sorry” because it wouldn’t have been enough. Or perhaps it would have been, but I was afraid that any simple showing of outward grief from me would be an insult to what had happened and was still going on. One mad said, “Heres to those who serve the sea, and to those who go down to meet her”. I do not know what I expected to happen, but no one raised their glasses, no one drank.  It was just simply quiet and then conversation and the night moved on.

 

There is a community created between people who go to sea for however long. There are times when I count myself part of this community, and others when I know I cannot. But heres to you. To those who are here and those who came before. To those lost and to the memories kept safe by the people who remain. Heres to you my friends and shipmates, and you who I do not know. May you find songs, and rest, and a full sail, and a community to call home. My heart goes with you.

 

Fair winds,

Ali

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZgOdEkOW88

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Post Sandy Update

 

I am a Florida gal and I have gone through my fair share of hurricanes, so when I heard that a category one hurricane was heading up the coast, I did not take the concern from the people around me greatly to heart. It actually took me till Saturday to even think about what I should be doing with the storm closing in. That said, I am lucky that I have a fantastic support system in the Mystic area with the Williams Mystic program, my friends who work both at Mystic Seaport and with the study abroad program, and family back home. They made it easy for me to figure out my last minute hurricane preparations. I decided to move to a friend’s house for the duration of the storm and to stay until the power comes back. In my mind, it was far better to be with close friends closer to the coast then by myself at my apartment in Ledyard. We had very little trouble at all! Our street did not flood, trees did not crush anything important nearby, and while we did lose power we had plenty of candles and lanterns to read poetry (Shel Silverstein, Sylvia Plath, “Howl” by Allan Ginsberg, Alice Walker, and others), eat sourdough bread with brie and apples (last minute provisions), and talk by candlelight.  All in all it was a well weathered hurricane for me.

There is still no power at my house or my friends so I am writing this post from a Starbucks getting my caffeine fix and charging my computer. 

Mystic Seaport was closed on Sunday and Monday for the storm after personnel and students spent much of Saturday “literally battening down the hatches” (Thank you Katie Clark for that phrase) at the Museum moving boats and benches to higher ground in anticipation of the inevitable flooding. Tuesday was a day of figuring out personal stuff and today (Wednesday) the Museum is open to staff who are busily setting the place to rights, fixing what needs to be fixed, and getting ready for visitors if the Museum opens tomorrow. I will be returning to the Shop then!

I hope everyone on the east coast is safe in the aftermath of the storm and remain safe in the upcoming weeks as post storm issues are fixed and damages are taken into account.

 

Best,

Ali

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