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  • Decades ago, fishermen used to tar their lines and nets in order to preserve them and make them more resilient against Maine’s abrasive rocky bottom. They would build a fire under a large tub of some sort – on occasion, old try pots from the whaling years – to liquefy the tar and then dredge their gear through it. It was a messy business, and over the years I have stumbled across a few dozen old tarring sites , invariably right down on the rocks by the shore.

    A few years back I was on a morning walk on the outermost inhabited island on the coast of Maine. You can read about another image I made that morning if you look for “The Source.”

    In any event, it’s a place I hold especially dear in my heart, and I always feel particularly alive there for diverse reasons. So on this morning, I was poking around the tiny, snug harbor when I came across this.

    It took my breath away…..the question is, can you read it?

    (A pause while you really look at it…I have discovered that about 60% of those who see this cannot read it right off. Perhaps you’ll be in the 40% who can?)

    Imagine, an offshore fisherman on this most remote of islands took a moment to drip out “true love.” Nothing Yankee practical nor frugal in this. It had to come from the heart…but whose? And for whose heart was it intended? A lovely mystery, charming but unsolvable. Finest kind.

    Tomorrow I am taking RAVEN out to see the special friends I referenced in “The Source.” Of the aging couple, he is very ill. This may be his last time on their beloved island and this may even be the last time I see him. I love them and they love me. They changed my life in many ways, including when they got me photographing again after the six-year hiatus that followed my brain surgery.

    The whole island is having a pot-luck dinner tomorrow night and I would not miss this one for the world. There is nothing that could keep me from being there. I have made them a print of this image and they will take it home with them when they leave after what will be a necessarily brief visit.

    Sad, sad times. But, as has been said, and as I truly believe, to die loved is hardly to have died at all.

    God knows, these dear friends are much loved, and true love endures, as have these words, through countless tides, and winters and storms.
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