Salted and True
by Kristin Vantrease
The beautiful girls I know don’t need to wear makeup. They are beautiful when they’re covered in hydraulic oil and fish scales. They radiate confidence and competence. Orange raingear becomes them. They know beauty is not a size zero, or any size at all. The beautiful girls I know don’t spend time contemplating what beauty is; they define it by their own standards. They start their own trends and design their own clothes. They wear paint splattered Carharts and stiff sleeved, salt fringed, sweatshirts. But that doesn’t mean they can’t shop at J.Crew and Anthropologie. They like working with their hands so they can’t wear fake nails. There is nothing fake about these girls: they are brave and honest and unapologetic. The beautiful girls I know are windswept and wild; they are rare as a sunny day in Seward. They are passionate and vital. Their lives intertwine with the created world, so they dig their hands into the dirt. Deep. They eat close to the earth and enjoy delicious chocolate. They love salmon, and know how to fillet them, too. And that is not a conflict of interest. They speak the language of salt water and understand how the ocean’s tides intersect with their lives. They are fluid and yield to change because their lives move with the water and they draw their livelihood from the ocean. The beautiful girls I know are disarmingly generous and kind. They do not flatter people for compliments, but they will look you in the eyes and speak truth. They contain love like the mountains: arresting and spectacular. They also love down at sea level: observing the salt speckled, kelp laced intricacies of the tideline and putting the feathers in their hair. The beautiful girls I know splice lines and pick fish. They pilot skiffs and drift boats. They conquer triathlons and mountains. They bake pies and write letters. Their smiles are not perfectly white and their teeth are not perfectly aligned, but they are perfectly gorgeous and beautifully sincere. The beautiful girls I know are mothers, teachers, bakers, travel agents, nannies, artists, nurses and fishermen, and life scatters off of them like the breath blown seeds of a dandelion.
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Kristin Vantrease is a young writer and artist and fisherwoman from Homer, Alaska. She has fished for many years in Bristol Bay with her family and this summer seined for the first time in Prince William Sound.