Saturday, August 08, 2009

Shot of the Day #220: Oceanic Closure

Shot with iphone, click to enlarge.

My father loved the ocean. For a gearhead biker-type, the last place you'd expect this chopper-ridin' badass was on the open sea, yet some of my fondest memories of my father truly happy was on our old boat he shared with his best friend (and our Uncle) Paul. They would go out fishing or just take us around the island, cutting through the Long Island Sound in their sea-ride, enjoying the salty wind in our hair. Such fond memories that always resonate whenever Im near open water.

So after my father passed away, we all decided that the most fitting place to spread his remains was in his favorite nautical coordinate, which was the water surrounding Block Island, which is a small body of land between the tip of L.I. and Rhode Island, a pretty little place indeed. I remember my dad saying, jokingly in the past as if Death would never land on his doormat "I wanna be buried at sea!". Now that what was left of him was in a box, we actually had to make the decision to honor that wish.

Shot with iphone, click to enlarge.

So my Mom and Paul chartered a boat and we all set sail early after hitting typical Hamptons traffic (fucking rich people), Remy being the usual smiley chap and my brothers filling the cooler with beer. It was a beautiful day, a perfect hue of blue and the wind not too crisp. The mood was reserved but bright, all of us keeping it light and airy as Charlie the Captain sped us over to the Island, which too about an hour. There, we dropped anchor as my mother pulled "the box" out of a bag. Holding the leather-bound box, which reminded me of those cases for old cameras, it was surprisingly heavy. "They told me Dad has dense bones" she said, which made sense.

With the ship idle (and inconspicuous as its supposedly not kosher to be doing this), we all took turns taking handfuls of Dad and spreading it over the water. It was such a strange sensation, knowing that only a few months back I was hugging what was now mere particles in the palm of my hand, collecting with the ocean breeze and the water beneath us. We all took turns and it was a pretty heavy, sobering moment, but looking back, it felt right. It felt proper. It felt good.

Shot with iphone, click to enlarge.

Afterwards we spent some time on Block Island, spreading the rest of his ashes in an old graveyard he always liked that had an amazing view of the ocean and held families past which dated back to the 1800's. Knowing he would be here too would have made Dad very happy.

On the ride back not much was said, although we were all starving too so that might have factored in the pause of conversation. But it might have just been that everyone was silently saying their final farewell's, as I did. What did make me feel better was the notion that now I have a purpose to come back to this spot someday, once Remy is older possibly, now that we've dropped an emotional anchor here. It was a little bit of hope that my father is truly never gone or forgotten...just part of the elements.

Good tidings and Happy Sails, Dad. Till we meet again.

"Seeing death as the end of life is like seeing the horizon at the end of the ocean"
-David Searls



Blogger Adam Barnick said...

Damn, Joe. Choked up reading this and seeing the image. A great tribute though. :)

Only got to meet him once, but he was quite the cool cat.

7:51 AM  

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