We are nearing the finale of a wonderful autumn. The weather has been superb. There have been weeks of flawless clear days and nights. The fall leaves have been spectacular. We have had only two or three frosts and now the rains are beginning in an almost textbook manner. The rivers are rising right on time for the salmon to spawn. I’ve been busy with my cameras so this blog will simply be another series of local graphics. Why ruin a good thing by writing polemic thoughts and observations? We are all aware of what horrors continue around the planet on a daily basis. Perhaps the joy of the moment is the best offering I can provide.
Remember that images can be enlarged by clicking on them.
“The wise man learns more from the fool than the fool learns from the wise man.”
Once again I begin a new blog while aboard ‘Seafire’ and anchored in Silva Bay. I’m here to work on ‘Aja;’ that lovely little wooden schooner I’ve been helping revive.
She’s moored on a lee shore at low tide in a brisk wind. I need to raft alongside of her. There’s no room for a mistake and so I’ve dropped the anchor to wait things out. Sometimes it is best to use your superior judgment to avoid demonstrating your superior skill. Prudence is a good thing. There are times when a lifetime of experience allows me to show off a little. Today is not one of those. So here I sit with the wind moaning a dirge in the rigging, the anchor burying itself in the mud while I tinker at the endless chores on a boat. I’m half a cable off an islet I’ve named “Dog Rock” because this tiny island is where the summer yachters bring their pooches in the morning. Jack and I use it too. Mind where you step. This area is an archipelago known as the “Flat Top Islands.” The islands actually form and protect this bay nestled in the shoreline of Gabriola Island. I have many memories of this place, both bitter and sweet. It keeps calling me back. The surrounding small islands provide several narrow, tricky entrances. Careful chart study is required of the newcomer. The old shipyard here is a clear warning of the rock-studded passages. It sits like a spider in its web waiting for the next victim. Every year there are a few hapless skippers who can’t read their charts or GPS plotters. Crunch! Gotcha!
The following morning I get up in the dark and put on some coffee. The blackness is palpable. All night I’ve lain in my bunk sleeping lightly, tossing restlessly, craving for a sound or a bit of light. The sky is now overcast and in this corner of the bay the blackness is multi-dimensional. ‘Seafire’ is a cozy refuge, a storm shelter and a wonderful time machine which has transported me to new realms and wonderful adventures. On nights like this, it is also a prison. So now I seek distraction sipping at my mug and battling with the computer. It insists the paragraph I wrote last night does not exist. I finally find a back-way to sneak in to the app and add these words. I was weary when I crawled out of the bunk, this little cyber battle leaves me feeling exhausted already. The day awaits.
And, it proved to be a long but successful day. ‘Aja’ now has a reliably functional engine and among other things, a dependable bilge pump. I’m weary of repairing and rebuilding boats but there is something special in the seams of ‘Aja’ which leaves me wanting to dig in and begin the restoration. The boat is a shrine of all that is sacred to me. The full refit of this old beauty will be a career for the new owner but, I think, a worthwhile endeavour. I meander homeward with ‘Seafire’ wondering what lays ahead. I have no money and no prospects, only dreams. It will be an interesting winter.
Meanwhile the weather is fabulous and I’m well aware that these golden days must be savoured fully. I know what lays ahead in regard to weather, and it ain’t pretty. Good weather is never paid for in advance. So here are some pictures of the fullness of autumn.
“Summer ends, and Autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night.” …. Hal Borland
I’ve found myself in a spot for the moment where I have no cash, nor any more credit, (Which is why I have no cash… a vicious circle!) not even for part of a tank of gas or for groceries. Clients haven’t paid me and the ripple effect spreads out. [ Dear Sir: ” The wolf which sniffs around so many doors these days, delivered herself of pups in my kitchen. I sold them. You get some of the money I owe you”] It’s a temporary shituation and may as well be regarded as an adventure instead of an ordeal. A little dose of humility is good for anyone. So I walk. It is sunny out.
I remember a time when all I owned could be stuffed into a back-pack. Out went the old thumb and away I went. The next adventure was always just around the corner. I was in much better financial shape. I had no money, but I had no debt. I was free! And I walked a lot but there was little romance in hitch-hiking Northern Ontario in January job-hunting. I once sat with my flat belly beside a road for over forty-eight hours in a minus forty degree blizzard waiting for a ride. It did not come until the wind eased and the roads were cleared. I know my present situation is temporary but it is still very humbling. I look at the tent camps of the allegedly poor and disenfranchised and reckon that perhaps half of these characters have a legitimate story. The trailers and motor homes among them don’t qualify.
Sorry. I know that some of the people living like this do it by choice, not dire need. I believe I’m qualified to make some judgments based on my experience long ago as a kid on the winter streets of Toronto and the north country. Thankfully there were some kind souls who saved my (then) sorry skinny ass and I have lead a reasonably productive and constructive life in the decades since. I also understand how quicklythe blessed may fall when bad luck and circumstances turn against you. It can’t happen to you? Ha! Yes it can.
This morning I was on the phone with a friend. I misheard him say synchronicity. I heard “thinkronicity”. Turns out a new word was born which I’ve refined to “thinknicity”
Synchronicity was coined by the German psychologist Carl Jung. It was a term for “meaningful coincidences” and as a vague allusion to the paranormal. Thinknicity is a word, in my mind, which describes the wilful direction of mental energy to create an event, or series of events, which first begins as a simple but focused thought. For example, I have been repeatedly able to will myself a parking spot in a busy traffic area simply by focusing my thoughts on that specific need or desire. I am not able to bend spoons, or levitate, but I know there is a tangible result which comes from clear concentration. I suppose prayer is another word and concept that is a similar thing, but I refuse to introduce even a hint of religion to any aspect of my considerations or spirituality. I am talking about the internal ability to create a desired effect with simple brain power.
With the concept of positive thinknicity, there is also a negative force. I am, I confess, much more capable with dark will, or as I once heard it, “Stinkin’ Thinkin’.” I can will things to go wrong for myself and in turn that creates a black spiral where nearly everything goes wrong like toppling dominoes. We all can do it and often do.
Using Newton’s theory, while a body at rest tends to stay at rest and a body in motion tends to stay in motion, thoughts can indeed create their own momentum. When a tendency for things to go wrong (“I knew it!”) is unleashed, it becomes a runaway cat and takes a lot to stop. Also, when you’ve ground yourself down in such a way, the energy required to reverse that tendency is enormous. I think it is a much stronger energy than positive thinknicity. So, food for thought at least, it would be nice to hear what you think.
The following quote is a fine example of which I speak. I found it while thumbing through the notepad at my elbow. Meanwhile, as I write I also watch a program about the city of Riga, Latvia. They’ve taken several huge concrete zeppelin hangars and turned it them into a fabulous public market. Swords into plowshares. Thinknicity!
“A negative thinker sees a difficulty in every opportunity. A positive thinker sees an opportunity in every difficulty. “… Ritu Ghatourey
Two days back was the first real day of autumn here. When I stepped outside early in the morning the sky was a velvet black and the stars were brilliant. They seemed to be moving until I realized a bright satellite was passing and creating my first illusion, or perhaps delusion, of the day. A thin film of frost formed on the windshield as I turned on the wipers to clear away the heavy dew. First frost! At the beginning of October! Here on Southern Vancouver Island! Proof! Global Warning! Meanwhile fellow bloggers send brilliant posts from their exotic travel locations. Bugga! Now, as we stumble into Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, it is raining furiously, intermittently drizzling as it will for the next six long dark months. The good thought is that it is not snow. Yet.
Life goes on as I try to resolve technical issues on friend’s old boats. They’re people I like and their boats are wonderfully unique; character vessels worth special attention. I’m an older character with the experience to see a project through but I really would rather be done with resolving challenges. Poverty, however, is a powerful master and I find myself grubbing for the next dollar while sliding backwards. I know there are lot’s of of folks my age in the same state of financial duress, but it doesn’t make life any easier. A former tugboat dispatcher used to say, “ She’s all bluebirds, just freakin’ bluebirds!” Yup I can hear the flutter of their little wings. A shoe maker told me this week that his business is booming. “People,” he said, “are repairing their shoes again instead of just throwing them away.” That is a good thing, but also a sign of how the middle class is being eroded. Enough said.
Some times things just go in streaks of bad and good. Like the bio-degradable dogshit bag I found stored in my jacket pocket from months ago. No, no, it was an empty bag. The little green sacks have a shelf life after which they start becoming earth once again. I discovered I had a pocketful of ragged green confetti which fluttered everywhere and stuck to everything. I’ll have little green bits appearing inside the boat for months to come. They don’t like being vacuumed up and they sure do not want to wash away. They just stick harder. On the trip back across the Strait from Steveston the boat took an especially nasty roll. The kettle, which I had not bothered to stow, leapt off the stove. It landed on its spout and the whistle vanished. While tidying away the green stuff, I finally found my beloved kettle whistle. Some days, life indeed seems predestined. At least I leave no loaded little green bags tied neatly and sitting on the edge of paths or even hanging in trees. Why DO people do that with their dog’s do?
There is no poo fairy which comes along and gathers them up. Ya packed it in. Now pack it out.
The weather forecast for the weekend is a mixed bag of sun and then rain. What a great job; to be paid for being correct once in a while. Certainly here in Coastal British Columbia where the entire North Pacific slams against a barrier of jagged mountains and tortured inlets, the local geography often makes its own weather. What is happening in one place can be entirely different than the weather even ten miles away. Any one of the Gulf Islands can have entirely different weather occurring at the same time on opposite ends of that particular small land mass.
I do wish that people would stop being so arrogant as to believe we alone are responsible for Global Warming. We certainly are not helping and urgently need to clean up our act, but hard, clear evidence shows a warming/cooling fluctuation that has gone on for millions of years. Our existence is a gnat’s fart within that history. Long after the passing of the virus that is us, the weather will still vary wildly as it always has.When I was in school, there was speculation about the impending doom of the next ice age. Wherever the profit of paranoia leads, we follow. Remember the Ozone Layer? We need to remove our heads from where the sun never shines, give ourselves a good old dog shake and indulge in the available joy and beauty of the moment. It is all we truly have. And go ahead, be brave, ask questions!
“ We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don’t know.”
Well, a week and a half later I’m writing the next paragraph in the middle of another sleepless night. I’m back in Ladysmith after a very successful gig and back to frantically scratching around for survival dollars. The movie scrum is gone. A few remained to repaint the shops and put things back the way they were. Did it ever really happen? The fall rain and drizzle are back and life settles into a dreary routine. Only six months till spring. Southern latitudes are calling loudly.
Once in a while I find a media item that I feel is worth mentioning. A friend mentioned a BBC series on YouTube called ”Great Canal Journeys.” It is hosted by geriatric British actors Timothy West and Prunella Scales. You do remember her. “BASIL!” Say no more. They’ve spent much of their fifty year marriage touring the canals of Britain aboard their own narrow boat. This series is beautifully filmed and presented; a welcome and refreshing interlude. Also prescribed by another friend, and also on YouTube is a series by Philomena Cunk (Hmmm, two lugubrious English female names!) She too is utterly delightful with subtle humour and charming wit, a master of Elegant rudeness.
I think I’ll make a cuppa and watch some more canal yachting. I always find myself wondering how they manage to find all those sunny days in England.
“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.” ….Thomas Merton