Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bottled rabbit and sweet tea

The weather this morning reminds me of a morning waking up on deck. I used to long-line fish. We would set out at five in the afternoon, steam for three hours and start dropping in line. Eight tubs of line held one thousand, two hundred and fifty hooks.  These lines were baited on the wharf earlier that morning and put aboard, covered up so the gulls wouldn't get to them. It took a couple of hours to run the gear, then there was supper. On this one occasion we were treated to bottled rabbit. There were four of us this trip and the man from Newfoundland brought Mason jars full of rabbit. He had trapped them the winter before and preserved them in a mild brine with garlic and onions. With the water boiling and some potatoes and carrots peeled we filled a large pot. Gently easing three jars of the rabbit into the pot alongside the vegetables we made tea and waited. This September evening was dead calm, the water a sheet of glass reflecting a purple sunset, a very beautiful night. While waiting to pass the time we jigged for cod to no avail. Another hour later and we are all sitting on the rail, our plates filled with supper. The rabbit cooked in its own gravy was wonderful. The aroma, I am sure, hit land. Tea with sweet milk, as we sopped up the gravy, was like a dessert. I had not felt so satisfied with a meal. As it does though, a supper like that makes one tired. Checking the anchor and the forecast we were ready for the bunk. I opted to sleep on deck and curled up with a sleeping bag. I didn't sleep much that night, the stars so brilliant, the gentle lap of a changing tide against the stern. When I did it was in increments of maybe thirty minutes and on waking each time the sky had changed. It became overcast and a light rain fell. When dawn arrived the rain had stopped. The cool moist air had washed my face clean of salt. We hauled back and set for port. I can't remember that catch but what will stick to me like bottled rabbit to one's ribs, is the feeling of an affinity with  this planet and our insignificance as we occupy this large space - just a blip on the radar. 


  1. makes you wonder...there must be something out there, or are all these precious little moments just flotsam in some cosmic eye?

  2. Tom - Or maybe ligan tied to the buoy of my past.

  3. Bottled rabbit. A tiny microcosm in itself. Wild behind glass. Big and small: "the feeling of an affinity with this planet and our insignificance as we occupy this large space - just a blip on the radar."

    When you allow yourself to slow (I can see you now) you speak it out as though you are a French woman unknowingly blowing precise smoke rings, and the story itself is the metaphor.

    I see you in the morning pulling the wet from your triangular face, releasing it and yourself.


  4. I reading this, reading you opening up. I do love all the poetry and the photos, but I am a girl of stories, and I relate most to stories. Thank you for sharing this with me. I can only imagine what a night like that would feel like... Marvelous.