Words by Aaron Wood
“I got a mayday out,” lobsterman Tim Walsh reflects on the moment his boat set fire in a state of panic. Shortly thereafter, six boats appeared on the horizon, gunning in his direction.
That moment further emboldened Tim’s faith in his community of Hull, a peninsula on the south shores of Boston Harbor. “You grow up with these people. It’s a small family—it’s a brotherhood.” Tim took to the water’s calling early, and while the days of being a deckhand are a long way gone, the determination and grit remain.
The fishing day begins with the grumble of engines calling out in the moonlight. Four hundred traps await him and his mate, the mere suggestion enough to make your average man press snooze. Each trap is maintained, baited, and harvested by hand, and when the fishing is good, they go out every day. When the fishing is slow, they repair the boat, assist another captain, or help keep the local dock in prime condition—another small gesture underlining the beating heart of a tight community.
But tomorrow morning will come early for Captain Walsh, when he awakes in the dark with four hundred traps ahead of him. Four hundred, one at a time. Afterward, he will clean his boat, sell the lobster, and return home with the same list of chores we all must accomplish, before resting in preparation for four hundred more.