Midnight July 21
There has been a bit of rough water here.
Seems every time I plan to go out in boat… the rest of my life wakes up. Weather. Nephews birthdays. Wife’s birthday. A hole in the deck. Life. It raises the question… how does one make life more of what they WANT? How do I make life more boating, and less deck repair? Tonight, it was my 12 year old son who tried to blend his finger. We bought a blender last night… today with a babysitter at home.. he decides to make a slushy of some sort. But the ice got stuck so he reached in and basically blended his finger. That was when I walked in from work, early so I could get the boat ready for our planned overnight in the local river. Spent the afternoon getting my son to doctor and helping him through a couple of stitches. He has had literally hundred of stitches due to all his operations on his head. But for those he was under anesthesia. Here there was only a local… and getting the local was the worst part. Sigh. A mixture of love, concern, caring, and…. oh… a touch of crankiness for yet another day of boating gone. My daughter could see it in me. She is nine. Here I am, 44, and SHE is the one who notices my…. oh…. crankiness and tries to comfort me. Pulled me back to what was real.
Hmm. Is the question… how do I make my life more of what I want and less of what I must?
Perhaps the question is a different one. Life includes it all… guaranteed. Decks will need repair. Wives will have birthdays. Rain will fall. Inquisitive boys will blend their fingertips in the new blender. I guess the effort is more one of balance. How do I balance all that is my life?
But there is one more question lurking in there as well. How do you make all that is your life… a natural part of your life? Meaning… when the weather turns wet… do you really want to spend your life wishing for something different? Isn’t there a way to make that part of your…. part of your life?
The plan tomorrow is to motor over to the Sammamish River. Slough really. A couple of weeks ago I made it to the river, but only had about twenty minutes to explore before I had to run to get my son from sailing camp. I was in total heaven for those twenty minutes. There in the midst of this big city was a stream right out of Tom Sawyer. A slow meandering river, cat tails, heron, king fisher, willows falling like a curtain into the river. One of my dream rivers. Back in one of my earliest posts I talk of the Sammamish River, give a few links to images of it. I have driven over it on the way to work for years. Dreamed of floating on it for just as long. And now I was on it. And the reality of it was better than the dream. The unseen portion of the river I explored….. unseen from my commuting to work vantage point…. was truly heaven.
The river was slow and narrow and a series of slow turns… with each rounding something new. Giggling girls fishing from a kayak, who when asked if they had caught anything seemed to not understand my meaning. “Have you caught anything?” “Oh”, they say suddenly seeming to remember they were also fishing while they talked and giggled. “No. Nothing”. They are of the age where giggling talk of boys is so much more interesting than… oh… anything. The fishing is just an excuse.
On the river my boat seems at home. It seemed as much a part of the river as anything there. I leaned forward resting my head on the curving roof … just an occasional nudge of the rudder with my foot to keep me on course, the engine running at idle and moving me at a speed that matched the pace of this new world around me.
Around this curve there was a mobile home park, but the homes seemed luxurious in their 30 year old premanufactured way. Their modest size allowed them to nestle in closer to the river as though they were part of the riverbank itself. They seemed a part of my river dream. An old man slept at his post… slept in his somewhat tattered La-Z-Boy as he must have done for years now. His wife nudged him excitedly at the sight of my boat passing by… she seemed to recognize my boat as being a part of the river that had been long missing. He didn’t wake up.
The next corner had a dock to nowhere. Docks like that always strike some strange chord within me. They were someone’s dream once too. Built to capture some of the wonder of the river, but now merely a graying ghost…. with mere shimmers of a long gone couple stealing their first kiss…. of little children and old men fishing, bamboo poles, or perhaps mere long sticks with a string, a float, and a few drowned worms. Shadows of those who always seem to come to the water… to dream… to hope… to forget. Now there are pilings, broken and splintered boards… the only life the blackberry vines that seem to be trying to pull the ghost back into the river.
The riverbank is still living though. As the river widens a beaver has made his home. Probably most of this massive dome of sticks and branches comes from the careful plantings of the occasional river front home with a tended yard.
There aren’t a lot of boats on the river, just enough to remind me that this river is not my private domain. Amongst the dinghies and canoes and kayaks there are a few powerboats. Most are the latest expensive high powered plastic made today. Boats popular with those who prefer to continue the too fast pace of shore life, on the water. But with every other bend or so you see a boat that seems more at home with the river. Everyone seems weathered by disuse. One is a once happy blue, virtually a pickup trucks camper shell from the early sixties perched atop twin pontoons. Again, clearly someone’s dream… a dream of families playfully shouting, jumping into the water, falling asleep snug in their bunks at the end of a long beautiful day.
more later must go to sleep.