institute for documentary studies

{the work: Nancy Forsell Augenblick}

A Life Lost

Lubec, Maine, the northernmost town on the east coast of the United States, is separated from Canada by a 275 foot channel called the Lubec Narrows, which has some of the highest tides in the world, ranging from 18 to 25 feet. This is especially dramatic given that the depth of the channel is only 12 feet at low tide. The tidal water must pass through this tight passage between the ocean and Cobscook Bay, creating currents of four to five miles an hour or more.

Hearts and Bones

The woman on the other end of the phone spoke to me in a normal tone. She asked, “Would you be willing to donate your husband’s bones?” She explained how his bones would be surgically removed and replaced with some kind of artificial bones so that his arms and legs would look normal in the casket. I felt ill. I wanted to hang up.

The woman pulled my attention back to her. This time she asked, “And we’d like to know if you’d be willing to donate his eyes? Someone who can’t see might really benefit from them.”

The Venerable Sea Urchin

Two pieces of sushi sat artfully arranged on a plate by a tall, slender Japanese American chef named Hirotomo Ishii, at the Benkay Restaurant in Portland, Maine. The sushi consisted of yellow-orange uni, or sea urchin roe, and white rice wrapped with thin, dark green seaweed. Hiro commented, “Seaweed and urchin is a nice combination, because the sea urchin eats kelp in the ocean. It’s natural.” It’s unlikely that a diner would think about how the urchin, fancily known in Latin as “strongylocentrotus droebachiensi,” made its journey from its rocky home in the bay of South Addison, on the northern coast of Maine, to their plate in this gourmet restaurant; instead they would likely revel in the creamy and mildly salty taste of the uni.

About Nancy

After working for many years as a physical therapist in outpatient orthopedics, Nancy grabbed the opportunity to come to Salt and cross improving her writing off her bucket list.


Nancy Forsell Augenblick
Spring 2012

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