When I talk about my reasons for going on a long hunger fast, people often look at me like I’m crazy and I’m reluctant to correct them because fasts are difficult to explain. But I will explain, again. Before the hunger strikes, my life belonged to the bay. My dad and his Dad and his Dad were commercial fishermen so I was the daughter of a son of a son of a son of a fisherman. Then, too, growing up on a Texas bay and having a Cherokee grandfather who liked talking with the dolphins and spotting moon signs in the sky before night turned to day made me into something of a mystic. I remember being out on the shrimp boat with my daddy and feeling my skin stretch and thin like fog, leaving gaping holes that the waves and wind would run into and the sea would fill until my blood was so thick with salt that I could taste it on my tongue. At night, we anchored in a far bay where sea horses hid under the rocks and pink sea birds dined on oysters and I’d lay on top of the wheel house with a blanket up to my nose, and it was like going to bed with a hunk of seaweed and deck load of shrimp and fish and crabs. I didn’t need a sleeping pill. The smell knocked me out.
I learned a lesson or two on the bay. How to spot shrimp from a mile away. (Look for the sea gulls!) What does a watermelon smell on the bay mean? (trout just threw up) How to tell if a squall was gonna knock your boat over or lay down as harmless as a kitten. (anybody’s guess) But the best lesson that came home to roost was that boundaries were lies. There was no separation or division. No brick wall that divided San Antonio Bay from Esprito Santo Bay. Nothing to keep the sky from the water or the wind from the sea. Nothing to keep one person from a billion others. There was just flow and continuity of water and moon and dolphins and ratty ole captains in ratty ole shrimp boats hauling boogie across the bay to find those most elusive shrimp.