Imaginary Postcard

Ulleungdo, South Korea

The locals tell a sad myth here—of a little girl petrified into a sharp, jutting rock visible from where we're staying. This after her fisherman father didn't return from a sea voyage.

The seafarers I've met are alive and well, cheery, sunbaked faces. This is an isolated place, and only a few of the shops that cater to tourists have a person or two who speaks a little I can understand (my Korean baby-words are shy and halting), but I managed to find a squid fisherman patient enough to interpret my elaborate hand gestures and air-sketches.

Yesterday somehow convinced him I could help out on his rickety boat, and we went chugging out in the waves. Sun glancing off the sea. He showed me how to wrestle the squid from his nets, some longer than me and cold and pulsing.

Tonight I can’t fall asleep. Tired from a late hike up and down the foggy volcano, but somehow restless. A mournful undertone on the wind. I just opened the blinds and the fisherman is still down in the harbor winding his nets, his deck light greener than the others.