A new curve leads to a fresh path

As I sat in my boat recently, fishing for the first time in five years, I felt a peace and sense of ownership I didn’t know I had within me. Not just ownership of the boat, but ownership of my own time and emotions, and of my decisions.

The boat and I have a long history. My husband and I had bought the Corson boat together, fixed it up to our liking with an elaborate canopy with side curtains and carpeting, dubbed it “Rosie” after our beloved dog who has since passed on. We enjoyed many hours fishing from it.

With Jim’s passing, I have stripped the boat down to its basic form again, and although I am using the same boat and the same fishing equipment, it is a different experience because it is mine alone.

Early morning on the lake.

I enjoyed thinking about other days — time Jim and I had spent together — but I also enjoyed making new memories. I listened to the low gurgle of the 35-horsepower motor and watched the fishing lines cut through the still water as I trolled along as close to the shore as I dared go.

Eagles and ospreys fished around me to feed their young. Loons called occasionally and just popped up here and there, while hungry fish fed on the plentiful insects that had landed on the water’s surface.

I checked the rods — one on a downrigger and the other a fly rod secured in a rod holder clasped to the side of the boat — an action that brought whichever of my Brittany dogs I had with me to the back of the boat, eager to see if we had caught anything.

The length of time I spent on the water was up to me. The area I fished was up to me too. And the fact that the game fish weren’t biting and the most I caught was a couple of yellow perch — trash fish — really didn’t matter at all.

I talked to the dog and to God. I thought about my future more than my past, but didn’t want to miss the moment either and basked in fresh air and the distinct smell of lake water.

I was content to just be and not think at all.

And there wasn’t a single teardrop — just peace.

The reuniting with my boat was a major step for me. A monumental step where I could feel a shift in my life. We never really leave our past behind because it is part of us, but we can evolve to a point where it does not rule our every action.

I think that is where I am.

I know there will be days when I am melancholy or something will hit me just wrong and I will slip a little toward the past. It happens to all of us. But my eyes are clearly trained on the future.

My dog Bullet fishing with me.

I desperately needed a Plan B after my husband’s death, and what I found was that its formation is a gradual thing that has pulled me out of a state of total grief and devastation and is making me into a strong, vibrant, capable, single woman.

It has brought me to now and this place with all of you — still a widow but not defined by my widowhood.

You see, there is another curve in the road ahead of me and I must follow it to find out where it takes me. My journey through widowhood will continue, but this is the last installment of BDN’s When Life Gives You Curves.

I will continue to write a personal blog on life and widowhood not affiliated with BDN called Shifting Sands, which will be found at https://shiftingsands.blog.

Thank you for walking with me through “Curves”, and for the caring and support you have given me on this part of my journey. I look forward to reuniting with some of you around the next curve at Shifting Sands.


Julie Harris

About Julie Harris

As a longtime employee of Bangor Daily News, I have served many roles over the years, but I now have a dream job as Community Editor. I live in Hermon with my four Brittany dogs: Sassy, Bullet, Thistle and Quincy, who keep me busy in various dog sports. I was widowed at age 51 when my husband, Jim, died of pancreatic cancer.