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Women Mind the Water: Katherine McMann, Maine

As told by Katherine McMann
Waterboro, Maine

Story Narrative:

A woman with long brown hair and a red bandana smiles at the camera.

Submitted by Katherine to the Women Mind the Water digital stories project, in conjunction with the Smithsonian's Museum on Main Street storytelling website and traveling exhibition "Water/Ways." Find earlier stories from the WMW initiative by searching for "Women Mind the Water" on this website.

Katherine McMann (00:01): Some of the earliest memories I can recall spending time at the Kennebunk beaches are at Mother's Beach with my mom sitting on a blanket, reading, while my brother and I would play on the rocks. We'd make mud pies from the tide pools and try to ride the waves.

Katherine McMann (00:20) My father's greatest passion was the ocean, and he worked as an oceanographer for many years. He and I would go fishing off the breakwater many times while I was growing up in Kennebunk. We'd sit there in silence with our coffee, cocoa, and muffins, just listening to the ocean sounds; the waves crashing on the rocks, the boat whistles, and the cries of the seagulls.

Katherine McMann (00:45) Down to the beach would be a place I would go throughout my life to recharge, regroup, reconnect, and it would be one of these times when I had gone to meditate, essentially I was looking to hear a message that would surely come from the stillness. At the water's edge, I stood while the tide came in and would go back out. I would have to readjust my footing each time.

Katherine McMann (01:11) It took a few times of this before it came to me like a gentle wave. This was the message, a message about life. We are always striving to find and maintain our foothold, but life, like the tide, has its way of moving us out of what's comfortable perhaps and requiring of us to regain a new foothold each time we are rocked by the water.

Asset ID: 2021.02.08
Themes: Water, family, mothers, fathers, life lessons, ocean, meditation memories
Date recorded: January 15, 2021
Length of recording: 1:42 m
Related traveling exhibition: Water/Ways
Sponsor or affiliated organization: Women Mind the Water Digital Stories Project, Maine
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