Contentment

photograph and text by Jonathan Ives

content

Standing at the edge of the float, watching my diamond jig dance in the black water was making my neck hurt. “You gettin’ a few?” a man asked, and I turned to see Kendrick standing beside me. He was short, with a small brown mustache. Despite the summer heat he was dressed in a red flannel shirt and blue Dickie work pants, his hands buried deep in the pockets. The oversized baseball cap he wore made his head look small. “Just a few Pollock, but no Mackerel yet,” I replied and went back to making the silver hook dance in the darkness.

We stood together in silence, me jigging my rod and Kendrick looking with a calm stillness down the harbor. Eventually I reeled in and picked up my tackle box, ready to call it a day. “I’m headed back up to Damariscotta,” I said and turned to walk up the ramp. “Damariscotta,” The old lobsterman said, as if he were saying it for the first time. “I don’t think I’ve been up there in twenty years.”

I stopped in my tracks, surprised by his comment. At the top of the Pemaquid Peninsula, Damariscotta was only twelve miles away from the harbor, and was the one town that separated it from the rest of the state. I was shocked. “You haven’t been uptown in twenty years?” I asked.

His face became as surprised as my own. “What do I need to go up there for?”

His question stuck with me as I drove away, thinking about staying in Bristol for the next twenty years of my life. There was a grocery store, post office, gas station, library, lumber yard, and ice cream stand. What else does one man need to be truly happy?