Let me flash back to 1981. It was mid-summer, hot humid and I was 20 years old. I was a crewman on a Coast Guard small boat training for search and rescue. There was a helicopter over head. I remember thinking that it didn’t seem far enough overhead. Seaspray was buffeting about cooling us off and the downward prop wash from the chopper seemed to cause a minor maelstrom around our 41ft rescue boat. It was loud. It was exciting and yes it was memorable. I looked over us toward the source of all that incredible power and energy and watched the crewman on the helicopter send down the rescue basket. I wondered what he saw. That though was quickly buried as training continued. And as has often happened for me, buried was not forgotten
More than 3 decades later, I found myself on a foot bridge on the coast of southern Maine watching day trippers returning after a day at sea. I stood above the calm water inhaling the salty air, listening to the seabirds calling to each other from across the channel and remembering those times spent training under the helicopter. The thought, buried, or filed away back in 1981, came to the fore of my mind. My persistent muse doing her job. I thought, this is the view I wondered about. Although there is no adventure to the view, the perspective was a new one to me, and because of the whispered memories, inspiring as well.
I watched as the boat disturbed the placid deep blue water, creating ripples that worked toward the shore. Two men in wet gear stood in the pilot house area, the decks had already been cleaned. It was the end of a long work day. The interplay of color called to my creative side, and marked a place upon my memories in the same way my experience with the helicopter rescue training had.
It amazes me how memory is linked. Side by side unrelated events join each other and spark my creativity.
The Return is my poem for both the journey of that small day tripper and the journey of my memories across the decades.