29 December, 2004


Back in SC. Finally relaxing. Family stress. Holiday stress.
Sleeping tons.

Need to make some short-term future decisions.
Some great long awaited phone conversations, and more to come god willing.
Love you all.

16 December, 2004

Good projects moving forward.
Trying to tidy up loose ends before leaving for home. I'm a little anxious about leaving the boat for a few weeks, but I am far more excited to eat and shower more regularly, go with the brothas for some sushi. Meredith - always invited.

Last night, lacking wind, but itching to get out on the water, I rowed the dinghy out of the marina into the channel. I drifted out into the dark water. The rain drizzled so little that you wouldn't know it was raining unless you looked at the water.
The water was unrippled, slowly undulating waves rolling along with the tide. I sat out there and studied the gps a bit, watched the traffic lights changed. I rolled a cigarette and enjoyed it thoroughly.
I was out on the water again!
It was wonderful. I felt so comfortable and confident. Half a mind egged me to strike the docklines and take the BIG dinghy out to Mystery Bay for the night. It occurred to me that nothing prevented me any longer.
I can go anywhere. I am free as long as I have wind and water and food. I can't say I've ever been in such a position. I can leave this computer right now, strike my lines and sail to Hawaii, to Russia, to Polynesia – whatever, wherever.
What an amazing freedom!

I have broken off my plans with Brian. It seems we have too many variant interests and aspirations. The cons outweigh the pros of a partnership. Now anything is possible. I can slow down, get more of an education. I can stop as I please – I can turn around, anything.
I feel so liberated, when I didn’t truly realize I was burdened. For me, this is an exciting revelation and change. Time again is on my side.


"I may not be that smart,
but I can lift heavy things"
- quintessential port-a-potty graffiti

13 December, 2004

The day of truth – and I passed!
I sailed. At last; after all this time; I sailed my own boat!
It was marvelous. I am having trouble describing it without melodrama dripping from the letters.
I screamed regularly as we went, pumping my fists in the air, gritting my teeth as the wind passed by the beam. It was a dream.
And it all went so wonderfully. I saw a shooting star the night before we set out.

Unfortunately, the library is closing.
Let it suffice to say that I am excited and very much in the Christmas spirit. Everything happened so naturally.
Brian came up from San Fransisco – we talked about the trail and the potential future we are conjuring for ourselves. So many doors seemed to open. I have so much to think on.


“Get yourself a girl and go south”
-My dad, the quintessential warm-blooded southerner,
at the end of our talk today. I love it.

07 December, 2004

From the Shipyard to the Marina

Wow. Funny how little steps at up over time. I have moved at last. Now my home rocks in the swells, well, what swells are in a marina anyway.
I didn't sink. I didn't wreck. This is all good.
I am almost ready for sea. I bought a dingy. Still need oars. My engine is running, how well still remains to be seen.
I am tired but exuberant. I love the work, the process, the progress. I shot take a few days off every now and again. But I don't. It is hard to stop when there is more to be done. I feel healthy, not great, but okay. The effort produces such noticeable results. I put on bottom paint before going in and washed down the topsides.
Wow. She looked so brilliant. I can't believe it is my boat, my home. How did it come to this? I am becoming a sailor. How? Has anyone in my family been a sailor? We're not sailors, we're aristicrats. These are not the same.

This is an excerpt from a letter I wrote to Rob Fargason and Jamie Blythe, two of my greatest friends. Widge would read it if he could; maybe Jamie will read it to him. He is included of course.


It was about time for that email, Rob.
Of course, Iknew you were well, but it is great to hear it in yourwords.
As always, in everything, you have your same passion,same drive, whether climbing ravines or plantingplums.
I love it.
Plants that fruit at different times; what a great idea!

I moved yesterday - from the boatyard to the marina!
Excellent; it is so great to be in the water at last. Two months went by in an instant. Such a simple thing, to move, but I am so so excited. One more step in the progression.
The boat loves the work. She responds so well. Every project has been fruitful; I haven't uncovered anything ugly or fatal or even unseemly.
The engine needs some work. It's old, an old Ferrymandiesel, German, 1 cylinder, 15 hpr. It didn't want to start when we hit the water, but as fate would have it, a mechanic I know, who is working in Seatle, came up to me in the marine supply store. He was in town for a day and was interested in how the engine was doing.
When the engine wouldn't turn over he swung over and got it going for me and helped me get the boat in to her slip.
Interestingly, the slips number is 128,
the same number as the address to the home of my younger days, 128 Holliday Rd.

I noticed I have creases on my forehead now – work or age??

It's blowing pretty hard out there now. The boat rocks in the seas like she’s meant to do. I love it.
Just finished installing my second solar panel. SinceI use so little energy, the two of them may balance my system. Every night I get my little Dickenson diesel stove piping hot and play the guitar and read Nigel Calder.

As in Alabama, and Alaska, life in Port Townsend is grand. Amazing how far from our one little cabin on Deep Woods Rd, one fellowship of two men, one woman and a mighty fine dog, we have found ourselves on such divergent and equally worthwhile paths, while maintaining such similar ambitions and pleasures: we all lovesimplicity, beauty, adventure, serenity, family, nature, visceral experience - yet we all make sacrifices in various places to accommodate others: Jamie and I are farther from family than Rob; Rob and Jamie are preparing themselves (possibly) better financially for the future than I am.
Yet all in all, we all have the same daily vitality, find the same pleasure in each step, as it is a crucial step in the constant becoming of ourselves.

Rob's letter brings this to mind, how he passionately loves gardening, because gardening is what he is doing. No use pondering mountains or oceans when they are not present – love what you can do and love doing it.
It is all the same, everything in its time.

Now, I accidentally got a bit philosophical, but I caught a hold of the memory bridge from now to those Sewanee days, I got caught up in all that has not changed and found it more interesting than what has. Both of you two, and Widge, have taught me so much.
Rob, you alone encouraged me to sail.
Where would I be?....likely somewhere less humid doing something easier. You showed me the value and possibility in taking small steps toward a goal, how daily effort and concentration are the ingredients in realizing dreams and goals.
Jamie has always been my boon, my confidence. She always believed in anything I bent my mind or heart upon.

We had so much fun. We are so fortunate to have had those days.
I still relish the tomato gravy.
Perhaps after anearly morning duck hunt we can cook up a bit, ah? It has been a while, and brief when it was.

It is fun just having one email aimed at both of you. Give Widge a belly rub (of course) for me please Jamie. Your skiing and Rob's redfishing make me jealous (an hour and a half?? holy...) (My Mom was aMaster Gardener). -


01 December, 2004

I can't remember the last time I ran in the daylight. It gets dark around four-thirty. Who's got time to stop work that early? I love running in the dark, just the corridor of trees to guide you. The surf seems louder at night, the sea more magical.

I am still eating leftovers from Thanksgiving. I stayed late on Sunday to help clean up and, under threat of the garbage can, I took thirty pounds of pie, stuffing, pie, banana bread, pumpkin bread, tatters, turkey, and more pie. My lord what a take!

Within a week the boat will be in the water. The alternator may be a flop. There may be a story there. We shall see. Now just the final preparations. I'm nervous. Everything is coming to a head, at last.


I read this somewhere:
He who goes to sea for pleasure,
would as soon go to hell to pass the time.

Something like that, by somebody.