It is the second day of July. Last night the holiday fireworks resolved into a mere two huge explosions. Then all was quiet. I hope there were at least a few survivors. This morning it is raining, a beautiful steady warm rain. The doors are open and I listen to the music of water gurgling in the downspouts. There is a lovely aroma of freshness. We need this, desperately. There were a few hours of precipitation last week, the stream beds did not swell at all. Now this. I swear I can almost hear the parched earth soaking it up. More please! This blog will be a simple photo essay about life in my little patch here on Vancouver Island. Rain or sun, bring your hat.
“ For nothing is fixed, forever and forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have. The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other, and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out. James Baldwin.
It is happening for the third morning in a row. A sunrise! Clear skies! Only a light frost.
It has been a most reluctant spring so far. A daily E-bulletin board from Mexico to which I subscribe now has banter about the best border crossing to use on the spring trek home and what the flowers will be like in the Sonora Desert. Clearly, I’m not going to make it to Mexico this winter.
My beloved ‘Seafire’ has long been the focus of my existence and the tangible evidence of a wonderful dream. This blog has its foundation built on that idea, the dreaming and scheming, the preparations to realize those notions and adventures, both inner and outer. Now comes the reality that due to poor health and finances, ‘Seafire’ probably should be sold. I’m trying to convince myself that this will be a step forward into a higher state of being that has nothing to do with the stuff I possess or which tries to own me.
During the time I’ve been writing this blog friends have sailed their boats almost around the world and continue their voyage even as I write. Another good buddy set out on his boat and sailed many of the perimeters of the Pacific Ocean. They both deserve a big note of gratitude for their inspiration and their achievements. I’m still here. ‘Seafire’ has never sailed out of sight of these shores. I have logged thousands of miles up and down this coast, often in stormy winter weather and all on my own. The boat has also been my home for many years so there is nothing to regret as I arrive at this moment of painful decision. Yet I acquired the boat and refitted it for a voyage south and then on to Britain and Europe. None of it will ever happen. That leaves a very hollow feeling and the only way to make sense of it is to find the window that this journey has led me to. Wanna buy a really nice boat?
Someone once told me that there are many ways to interpret the same script. The folks at Bombay Gin held a short film competition, the results of which can still be seen via Google.
The rules were simple. Five minutes was the time limit, everyone had to incorporate the same script. The five finalists each produced an entirely different film, including one animation. They are all wonderful, with the winner being titled ‘Room 8.’ It is amazing to realize the diversity of human creativity, even when forced within narrow parameters. Not only can we interpret a script any way we want, we each have the freedom to write any script any way we want.
I remind myself of this as I write while the sun reflects off my neighbour’s wall and through the narrow window beside my desk.
A television documentary last evening inspired me again to travel the back roads of Mexico in exploration of that country’s huge cultural history and wonderful natural eco-system. I have my little trailer which is perfect for that. I also have my blog to carry forward. Each week there are more new subscribers. Your comments and criticisms underscore your support and I sincerely thank all my readers. I can commit that the blog will continue no matter what.
In the meantime, ‘Seafire’ is having a good spring clean-up. Jack and I are also exploring local places that we have been passing by for years. Isn’t it amazing how we can look at so much and see so little? Here are some local photos and a little piece of my writing.
The little town where I live was built on a hillside
above the docks
where there are now more yachts than fishboats.
To go down there you must pass
through a four-way stop
where the oldest building on main street stands.
It is built of local stone and brick
thick walls mortared together
with high-arched windows
and apartments above.
There was once a newspaper office there.
They called me from among their list
of handymen advertisers and wanted me to look
at a job rebuilding their entrance.
Someone had almost fallen through the old wood.
I proposed replacing it with concrete
then took on the project alone.
The work had to be completed in one afternoon
after closing time
and ready for next morning.
I’m no concrete man,
but I was broke.
Of the values that come with working on boats
is a portfolio of diverse skills
a deft bravado that comes from incessant poverty
and often being somewhere with no-one to help.
I hung out my shingle
when work on the water was scarce.
The cement truck arrived while I was still cleaning out old wood
and building a new form with plenty of rebar
because I wasn’t sure how much was required.
The August sun blasted that entry way like a bake oven
I worked like a fool to get the mix in place and trowelled out
but in the heat it began to set
and I kept adding water to stay ahead of the game.