Country music in
The Salmon Bay Cafe,
boat talk, bored waitress,
a home of sorts,
men who filled their boots
or tried, claimed to, anyway—
they would die with
their hammer in their hand,
feel no pain in Luckenbach, Texas,
see blue eyes crying in the rain—
we’re having breakfast,
grateful, don’t you know…
my grandfather used to say that
with a quiet Virginia drawl,
“Don’t you know…”


By Foster’s Island

By Foster’s Island
beneath overpassing highways
floating on the mirrored reflections
of their gray cylindrical legs,
a young heron waits
near a tangle of brush,
wings folded, head tucked in,
dubious of two in a canoe.
It has eaten recently,
or the spear fishing is poor.
It waits. We drink wine
and watch. Half an hour
passes. It straightens, lifting
and stretching one wing,
surprisingly large, the underside
gray and pure white, bringing
stone to life,
the immaculate arch
of angels.


One at a time
she covered me
with layers,
red, orange, yellow,
blues & greens, crocodiles
chasing giraffes,
sunbursts, little people,
elephants, palm trees,
riotous birds, quilts
stitched and appliqued
both sides, life, loose
and detailed, color
freed; she gave me
color, and I had
only peace to trade.


laminations for Auk’s apron (inner stem)

Above is a test clamping of the laminations for the auk’s apron. Now it’s time to disassemble, cover the inner surfaces with epoxy, and re-clamp. Painter’s tape will cover the two broad outer surfaces and the clamping blocks and surface.
The stem is laminated in the same way, except that it uses the apron itself as a clamping jig. They will be married for life—the apron holding the bow ends of the lapstrakes, the protective stem turned forward to face the waves.
The wood is from the northwest, yellow cedar (a cypress, actually). It grows slowly in the cool moist climate, reaching 40 meters in height. The oldest stands, according to wikipedia, are found in the Caren range on the west coast of British Columbia; the oldest tree found so far: 1834 years old!
The wood is pale yellow, clear, straight-grained, and strong for its weight. It is resistant to moisture (natch) and a pleasure to work. When cut, it gives off a warm, pungeant, peppery smell.

Fair Lines

molds for the Auk

I’m presently living on Finn & Shannon’s Nicholson 35 while we build a dinghy worthy of the boat—an “Auk,” designed by Iain Oughtred. To begin reading lines, numbers, and words on six large sheets of paper and end with a boat that is functional and beautiful seems remarkable, an experience right up there with planting an olive grove, something else I’ve never done. Shaping fair lines with a chisel and spokeshave …

Fair lines are where beauty and function meet. Also, where the ideal of the plan meets the reality of wood and hand. I think a fair line is made, not found, although it must pre-exist buried in our consciousness, else we wouldn’t feel the lift of recognition and relief when we see one.

I’ve cut the inner molds. They will be removed when the lapstrake planking is done and the boat turned rightside up.

Forty Stories

warmly lit violins,
cellos, violas, basses, middle school
concert, students in concentric
semi-circles, faces down or
looking around, elbows bent—
the teacher/conductor in black slacks,
black top, bends benignly forward,
straightens, bringing her hands,
and theirs, up—Purcell’s music
about to begin, as
forty stories blend