Some thoughts on Sailing, and being a woman at the Helm
So…we went inland for the Easter holiday, to see family in La Porte. Funny how we’ve blended into the weave of fellow IBC’s (Islanders by Choice) here on our Gulf Coastal Island home. Even still, we long for the water, the rocking back and forth of our sailboat, the clinking of the masts in the wind. We visited with a local marina the day after Easter, after we got back to the island from a second trip to La Porte in two days because Nico left his phone at his Mom’s the day before. I have to admit, that day was a good one: lunching with Nico’s dad (the baby’s only living Grandpa), the lolly-gag-of-a-drive back to the island, the visit to the marina…and the smell of the water…down along the slips.
My wanderlust is really getting to me these days, and I miss our sailboat more and more. If…
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It seems like finding our ‘true north’ is near-impossible at times. The harder we try to find our way…to chart another course, the more we tend to get stuck in the mud of the monotonous…everyday life. I know there are many others out there in the world, like us, who long for la Sprezzatura; as the Italians refer to that certain ease of life and making difficult matters seem easy.
As I observe the norm of the majority, I see that…like us, most folks in America and abroad tend to box themselves into a way of life that is rather impossible at times to maintain. Like trying to escape quicksand, the more they make the more they spend. I ask myself: why? It really makes no sense at all, yet most of us just keep on keeping on, like robots programmed to do something over and over and over again. Where’s the fun? Where’s the adventure? Where’s the…life, in that? Still…I see no reason to work one’s life away (the only one we get) for stuff and material possessions one might never get the time to enjoy. It’s the sad truth–the American way! For us, me and my family, it’s the wrong way.
Yesterday, my husband got up…had a bite to eat–a taco I had just made–and he went sailing. It was a beautiful morning to be on the water, moving along under power of the invisible. To me, there is nothing more exuberating than when the wind is coaxing us along on its wings, when we are being carried on the water by the mysterious force that has never been seen with the naked eye. Sailing is beautiful in-and-of itself; so peaceful, so powerful, so intoxicating. To me…sailing is really living!
Looking back through history, sailboats were a means to another seashore, the mode of transportation, the only mode of transport. The captain would chart his course, hoist the sails, and let the wind take him to where he needed to land. It wasn’t a sport, it was a way of life. I feel that modern way of life has lost its luster to much extent. The passion is gone, that certain ease of life is missing, we’ve yet to find that certain Kefi, the Greeks know so well. Like sailors of long-past-days, we have-yet to find our True North.
It’s really not as hard as it seems; all we must do is sit…think…feel. You see…? If you sit and allow your mind to wander, relax and see the things you love to do–a past place visited, a place you’ve been, something you’ve done or experienced–you’ll know you’ve found that one thing, or your true self when it all lines up. First the thought comes to mind, then your heart starts to race…you feel a rush of excitement, the adrenaline starts to pump, and you feel more alive…even younger! THAT is the thing for you; your true North.
When you find it…never let it go. For if,or when, you do…you will cease to live in a sense. Your world will turn several shades of gray; it will lack color. But then, if you allow yourself, you’ll let your thoughts find your ‘happy place’, and you’ll chart your course…no matter the obstacles in your path. You will look back on your former life, the robotic…monotonous…for-naught lifestyle you’d been accustomed to, and you’ll feel a sense of relief that you did it; you stepped out of the norm and you found your Kefi. And…you’ll finally feel free!
*This life we’re in, it ain’t worth living. The life we love is worth fighting for* — The Big Seashore by Gypsy Vin Rose (http://www.gypsyvinrose.com)
Each day, I try to wake up with a brand-new perspective on life–I love to see the sunrise on golden pond. And I must admit, there are many days I awake to find myself not seeing the brighter side of things; like yesterday…when I had allowed myself to become downtrodden from events in the past
which no longer matter in the future. I tell myself, ‘I cannot change what has already come-to-pass’, but I can alter how I cope with such adversities of life.
I know it sounds rather cliche’, but Each Day really is a New Beginning.
Many people wait for the New Year to bring change to their selves or surroundings, but I choose to make it happen on a daily basis. I have to…because I am the only one who has to live in my skin.
So…if I don’t like something about ‘me’, I chisel away at the unacceptable part of myself and start working on molding the new & improved ‘me’ into shape. Sounds a bit funny I guess, but if you sit and think about these words I write…you will see that we could all use a bit of molding, chiselling, reshaping from time to time.
I find, following close examination, that sometimes I scrutinize myself and everyone around me way too much. I have no control over what others do, but how I respond to things is all on me. I realize I am too sensitive; as my mother always told me. I need to develop a ‘thicker skin’, so to speak. We all do, I guess…every now and again.
In the end…all we are really left with is the very thing we came into this world with–ourselves and the ones who love us most…if we’re lucky.
Which brings me back to what really matters to me in my immediate life; I see my children…their beautiful faces–two of whom I miss so much my heart feels like it is bleeding. I see my husband–the man who wakes up daily to trudge off to a job he hates more and more each day…for pay he sometimes doesn’t even get on time. I hear our daughter say “Bye Daddy”, every time he opens the door.
It makes me sad. Day after day, my time is spent without him; except for weekends; which fly-by in a glance. Day after day, I miss the rhythm of our old Volkswagen Camper Van humming down the highways and biways, looking forward to the next town…the next new discovery or adventure. I miss the sunrise over a new horizon, though I love the one I see on cloudless days. I miss the feel of tiny grains of sand, sifting softly between my toes; the big seashore is calling.
I miss my Mom…I miss my Dad; though they have both been gone too long. Losing your ‘Life’s Blood’, the one’s who gave you life, leaves you feeling like you have no home, like you belong to no one anymore, like you are only half-alive. God forbid, if-ever anyone has ever lost a child; well…I can’t imagine that. I only know that such a loss…to me, would leave me barely alive at all.
I know I ramble on a bit, but that’s just how my thoughts have always worked. I write and write and write…hoping I’ll find the feelings I bury so deep within myself. I’ve never really learned to cope with some of my deepest pains. Perhaps…I never really have grown up after all.
*Never Lose Your Inner-Child*
Here’s a little something I put together for the LWSC–to remind us of the good times!
Many more to come!! Fair winds and see you at the club!
Another Sunday morning…waking up at the Sailing Club, and all is peacefully quiet in this lakeside world we only-just discovered a little more than a month ago. It is here, in this place, where I feel most alive; having felt a bit numb for the past year we’ve spent within the confines of the dungeon we are soon to vacate. Not soon enough–I might add. I am so happy to be waking up here…and not there.
This little ‘escape in the city’ is a pure joy to us. Nico loves tinkering with Peniki II (our newly aquired San Juan 24 sailboat), and I love making coffee the ‘more primitive’ way with my campstove; enjoying the view from atop the peninsula as I stir…then sip. “Aaaaah! This place is a pure gem.” I feel a rush of blessings as I turn toward Peniki (our trusty old VW Camper Van) to see that Nico and Baby are still sound asleep inside. ‘Wow! I really do love this.’ I tell myself.
The sun casts a glow over the port side of my face, as I realize this moment will soon end and day will overtake morning. But that’s alright with me, since we’ll be heading back down to the docks to work some more on Peniki II, while I work a bit on my tan (to cover my forty-something flaws…no doubt).
I sip my coffee…I look around just to make sure I’m not dreaming. I tell myself that this is my new reality, and I am thankful even more this minute than I was just a moment ago. Looking over at Blanca–our little schnauzer–I see she’s been playing in the briar patch again, and has sticker-burs dotting her fir to prove it. I have to laugh when I think back to yesterday, remembering when me and Baby went for a short swim and how Blanca swam out to us…only to discover that she couldn’t touch bottom. Not only did I have a toddler clinging to me, but also a little white ‘scaredy dog’. *heh um*
The music of birds chirping is now being joined by the morning stirs of Baby in the van, waking up and looking for Mom. My time for ‘me’ is fast-coming to an end–this I know. I hear her cries–it’s time to wrap it up. To whomever takes the time to read my words, I bid you Happy Sunday. May yours be magical too.
My mom used to say “It’ll all come out in the wash.”, if ever I had a problem I couldn’t seem to solve. Well, this week has been riddled with life’s little adversities…but it has all worked itself out in the end.
One challenge I faced was over this past weekend when we went camping; Baby didn’t take quite so well to sleeping in the van fold-out bed. It’s been almost a year since we set up camp in Peniki (our old VW Westfalia) and it seems she’s forgotten the drill. Last year when we were out there on the road, giving in to wanderlust, Baby was much smaller and was easily managed by placing her in her play-pen and giving her some toys and such.
This year…? It’s a whole different ballgame! She is our little explorer (she comes by that rather honestly) and she wants to see and be seen, hear and be heard…even in the middle of the night. Which gets me to the root of the problem: she didn’t sleep…at all! She screamed, kicked, and thrusted about the camper van like a rabid rag doll. Needless to say, Mom and Dad did NOT sleep at all either! Instead, we ducked and guarded ourselves against Baby’s kicks and jabs; I got it a few times, and I have the bruises to prove it!
So…we ‘somehow’ made it through the night–Baby finally went to sleep after I rocked her in my arms, while I was half-asleep…standing up…in the drive-away tent. Then came the dawn on Father’s Day. Here we go again…!
Just as the sun was about to make a grand entrance to our lovely, peacefully quiet, and breezy cool morning…Baby began to stir around, then came the screaming! ‘Why me…?!’ I wondered silently.
Before long, Nico was awake and we were once again being punched and kicked by a half-awake toddler with a really bad temper. Ugh!!! I was fast losing my cool, so I enlisted the help of a much more ‘patient’ soul than I myself. Daddy to the rescue!!! Yippee! I didn’t want to land Baby in Nico’s lap on the dawn of Father’s Day, but it was my only choice.
So…that was the start of our Sunday, and I won’t go into details exactly…but I finally had to take over again and enforce a bit of discipline once I ‘knew’ Baby was aware of her behavior, she wasn’t hurting, nor was she still asleep. A Mom’s gotta do what a Mom’s gotta do sometimes. And, just as my Mom & Dad would’ve done, I nipped it in the bud.
The crying stopped, I received good morning hugs and lubbings from the very same little girl who’d been kicking me just minutes before, and all was right with our Father’s Day. We got through the rest of the day without incident, visited with our sailing club friends, worked on our boat a bit, and baby took her very first nap on our new/old sailing yacht ‘Peniki II’ while the rain drizzled lightly outside the stern hatch.
We invited a few club friends onboard Peniki II, had a few margaritas from what was left of the mix that’d been enjoyed the day before, rolled up camp then headed back to the city. I look forward to doing it again…soon!
*Taking the good with the bad*