31 May, 2005

i repeat
roger that.


30 May, 2005

New Happenings

Last night I experienced my first "Schwanker" -
a German bar-b-q essentially.
My neighbor invited me and I had a good time, a nice fire to be sure.

But this morning, Sunday, two friends, also neighors, beckoned me to come with them to Seattle. The Folklife Festival is going on.
Free music.
Music from around the world and lots of it. All free.
How could I refuse?

And what a time indeed. Every musician in Seattle must have been there. Fiddlers and mandalin players playing in the grass,
inprompu druum circles., young kids with violins.
It was amazing. All the sound simply melded into the next. Sound everywhere.

Lots of good drumming. Some good rock-a-billy. I have never seen more washboards and wash tub basses.
We ended the night sitting near a stage smoking apple tobacco out of a hookah, listening to a big group of East Africans laughing and singing at the table next to ours. We all clapped along and laughed after every brief song.
It was what the whole day was about.

19 May, 2005

Out with the Flip-flops at Last!

Spring is here in the Heart as well as the Weather.

I’m inspired and know not what for. I feel alive and energized. I’ve left the cave for civilization again. I am no longer the hermit, alone in the belly of his boat. I have fallen in love again with Port Townsend.
It is spring. The farmer’s market was this morning. Flowers and food of every sort, colors and smells behind the soft sea breezes. I have friends, people that come to coax me out, people who want me around. Once again, I feel initiated into a place.

There is a certain aesthetic ambiance to Port Townsend. Everyone is an artist here of one form or other. Everyone values health and it is part of the community dialogue. There is no business which is more valued in town than the Food Co-op, which is nearly entirely orgainic, strongly local grown, ect.
The community fights, wins and loses, again large chain stores. We beat Rite-Aid, but are currently loosing against Hollywood Video. (HV is coming, but will anyone give them business??)

This morning was a most gorgeous morning, unusually so. Being Saturday and having worked well all week, I slept comfortably into the morning. I have some friends who are hauled out right across from me and I asked them if they wanted to go to the farmer’s market with me.
We walked around and took it all in. There was a band playing soft bluegrass music. A developmentally disabled lady stood there swaying to the music. She wore a metal around her neck.
Being such a day, I couldn’t help but ask her to dance. She smiled and we swung about to the music. I asked her about the metal and she said she won it in the Special Olympics. That took me back to Missoula in my mind, riding the van with Jon and Corina up to Lost Trail to coach for the winter Special Olympics.
So many good times in Missoula.
But now I find myself attachinig the same emotions to a new place and a new time. Of course, the fall was one of the great times of my life—the beginning of this new adventure, but it was a solitary sort of experience.
I’ve had lots of help and received more time and energy from strangers than I could ever have hoped for . But at the same time I was mostly alone. I never went out. I worked. I read. I slept.
Then, or course, the fall led to the winter. With the winter started the sailing and the beginning of the trials, one problem followed the next. I waited a lot. I worked more slowly and with increased frustration at myself. The weather deteriorated and hindered my getting out of my cabin.
It was a slow time. Projects moved but often to slow to really appreciate. I found new encouragement with the budding interest into nutrition and diet. The weather didn’t affect my eating, after all. So I felt productive, at last doing something positive for my body. This study took me through to the spring. And all along I have been myself and meeting people.
Slowly my presence has become natural here. I have become one of the community. A few days ago as a band played in the port brew pub, a friend of mine, a captain and shipwright, introduced me to someone with, “This guy gets out nearly everyday to sail.” I can’t say how it made me feel to have someone I respect like him
compliment me on my effort and determination to sail. I don’t always feel like I am working as hard as I could.
But again, just now as I was heading back to my boat from the farmer’s market. I stopped to talk to one of the guys who runs the travel lifts, the big moving lifts that moved boats to and from the water. He said, “I think it is great what you are doing [ie – my own work] This is Port Townsend, you know. People are always gonna stop by and help you out.”
To be noticed and approved of. I’ve had some down days here, to be sure. But knowing that these men, my superiors in the boat world respect my efforts encourages me. I’m doing so bad.
I often feel like people see my worst. It took me almost two weeks to get my fiberglass work done. I know a guy who could have done it in an afternoon. I had to spend so much time staring at the damned thing. The staring and the doubt gets me down. Bur, in the end, the jobs get done.

Right now, my engine is fully disassembled. I started the job without a clue and not but a prayer. But it seems people like engines. An old neighbor from the marina has taken to stopping by every morning. Ed, or the “Boatyard Bullshitter”, also has taken to stopping by and offering me little bits of mechanical genius.
The best, however, was the day I started lifting the engine out of the boat, my friend Bob, the original mechanic for my engine (from the previously owner) swung by. He had been living in Seattle for the last year. It turned out that he was moving back to town.
When I told him what I was up to he said he would help me through it. When I asked if I could pay him for his time, he said, “No, no, I really like your motor.”
Who says that?
Over the last week I have slowly gotten a hold of what it is I / we are doing with the engine. God, it has been fun. I am still anxious to get back in the water and start back to sailing, but this is an education I have ben tentative about, even apprehensive. I was avoiding it. And now it is here and it is great.
I feel so lucky. I have learned fiberglassing and engine repair in the last two weeks.

What is more I feel more a part of the community than I ever have before. I have real and true friends now. Ben and Meg and Ozzie and Brian and Jen, Rob and Tilikum, I could go on—but a few of these have become close already.
We share mutual ambitions, but we share similar hearts. They are good, good people. I feel so lucky. I feel at last that I understand Port Townsend. The Victorian beauty is easy to see, the size and slow lifestyle. But now I have entered into the heart of the community, not just the boatyard, but the community as a whole. I know the librarians by name. (Well, I should anyway.)

It seems that today is one of those days when you feel love emulating from everything you touch. Everything is sacred today. I received the sweetest most loving email from Carmel today.
Even as we face realities that will likely keep us apart, I cant help but feel so blessed to have her in my life. She has a way of making my heart glow.
I feel like calling Wendy and hearing her voice as well. My dad too. I want to connect with all those I love. Perhaps this letter is the best I can do.

Well, it is something. Where ever you are, I am thinking about you. I really believe that I am nothing but the compilation of all those experiences that you and I have shared. Where would we be without each other?? Somewhere different. And here is not a bad place at all. Thank you.
I hope it is clear by now how much the love and encouragement of my friends actually mean to me. I feel like I owe you everything. I would be nobody, no where, knowing nothing.
The dream to sail was offered to me by a friend.
The courage to love was taught to me by a friend.
Don’t be afraid to offer yourselves as mentors to those you love. They can only gain by it. I feel I have. Immensely.

Today may be a good day for some ice cream. Indeed it is.

12 May, 2005

My boat is on the hard.
My engine is in many small mysterious pieces.
My love life sucks.
The future is uncertain.
Life is great!

(It must be spring...)

11 May, 2005

It is time to refigure my dreams once more.
Life constantly turns and returns back upon itself.
Each day we learn a little more about what is real, then apply it to what we know, or thought we knew - then we recreate our worlds with a little more truth, a little finer focus, a bit more pristine understanding of who we are, where we are going, and what really matters after all.

Our understanding is never complete; it always must turn back upon itself and be reforged and reshaped.
Nothing is eternal but eternity.

I have been shown an elaborate mirage.
Or is it??
Likely I'll never know. It doesn't matter, but I have learned that no matter how precise our technic for deciphering the symbols and symetry of the world - we can b thrown tricks or faints. Or, at least in the short term, they can appear that way.

My aspirations with Carmel will likely not become what I had once hoped - and all seemed so perfectly in line. It is almost enough to make you laugh, the idosynchronic way the universe works.
Throw your hands in the air and shout, "Who knows?"
Anything is possible and the more likely a thing is the less probable it becomes. Ha

So again to the drawing board of dream and image. What can I see? What can I conjure?
As always there are strange things working already, some I am aware of and some which will jump out at me in their time, just in time.

But I have no idea what that future looks like. I am in the darkness of uncreation once more. But again I am free to let my heart soar. I am not tied as I have been to a painful and doubtful hope. What a rough two months I've had.
What will the next two bring me?

I am still under a good deal of strain. I have heavy questions slowly resolving, some still waiting there time on the floor of thought.
I hope I am as healthy and strong and creative as I need to be to be up to this challenge. I feel I am but then at times I feel weak and low, like I could stumble.
And I can not affort to stumble now. I am too close to the edge, too much is at risk. I have not enough margin to last it.

But perhaps this recent change will envigorate me. Perhaps the wave is rising to a crest and I will again see futures and possibilities glistening to the horizon. The words on the page are now working there magic and lifting me there already.
I can feel the energy again soaring. What an amazing thing this life is, how every moment acts like an eternity, seems never ending, holds you so tightly. It is only when it passes that you remember what else life can be.

I am opening again, for the moment.
Here's to you Carmel, you have all my love.

09 May, 2005

I, the Pendulum

Feeling back to normal.
I took my engine out and now it is sitting on a table next to my boat. A new toy!
I’ve been cleaning it all day. It is old and mysterious and I am loving getting to know it at last.

This is such a very strange time of life. Crazy ups and downs. Nothing sure. A lot of stress and a lot of bliss. But I think I am coming much closer to knowing where I am going and who I will become. I want to envision it. I want to see it so I can consciously walk toward it. I don’t want to leave my destiny to chance.

As strange a time as I’m having, I think somehow it is fundamental to what the future has in store. This is idle time, chance encounters and occurrences. I am trying to discern the pattern and learn it and trust it.
Is it old or new?
Certainly this is a new place, a new time, but certain things seem to be the same. Why, then, are they challenging me so??

(Sorry for my aloofness and secrecy. It is by design.)

07 May, 2005

From an email:

I am totally stressed out.
I'm losing all faith.  I don't know what it is.
Everything is confused.  I have nothing safe, nothing secure.  My mind
is tied all in knots.  Fitting!

I was so so excited to see the repair work done.  I was on top of the
world.  But no sooner had that glory passed when the next item arrose:
my engine.

Do I put back in the water now and deal with the engine later?
Can I afford to stay in the yard and work on the engine here, with is
really the best way, if  not the only way?
Do I rebuild the whole engine or just change the head gaskets?

Where is Carmel?  And why can't I get her on the phone?  (Not your
fault, or course.)
Why don't I wake up to the reality that she doesn't feel the same way
I feel, doesn't want the same things I want, isn't in a place to go
and do the things and feel the way I want her to feel?
Why do I keep holding on?  I feel and fear I am slipping?

My dream is all I have, but making it manifest is so tedious and tricky.
Today, it is the only thing in the world I am sure of.  Everything
else is in the air, illusion, mystery, a tease and a daunt.

I need to get the hell out of this town for a few days.
I need air and space to look at my problems with circumspection.
I need to talk to you and again try to learn your heart and where it
is and where it is going.
Has it changed?
Have I am more reason to hope?

I'm not sad; I'm not angry at anything.  I'm simply stupified and
confused, aggrivated by constant relentless pressure.
I haven't been exercising enough.  My lazy work pace is not enough reprieve.
Ben is my sole companion and solice.
No one else will ever answer their phones.  (no fault, no fault - not
just you, C.)

Holy Shit am I on a tirade.
I have to vent.  Letters and words are all I have anymore.
Earlier I got a hug from a friend and it felt like such a rare thing -
what a sad shame.

This too shall pass - as soon as I can form a plan.
Today, as it happens, my faith is in a deep low.
Tomorrow will be different.  Likely I will regret my words, feel silly
and ashamed and apologize.

But for today this is my muddled heart, my staggered mind.
Here it is and what of it.
I wish you were here.  I wish lots of things that aren't.

06 May, 2005

I was happier yesterday than I have been in sometime, over a week, two weeks anyway.

I looked at my hull and it looked the way it did when I last left port.
It is repaired. It is amazing.

I am so ectatic. And it was Cinco de Mayo. Perfect timing. A beautiful day.

I still have painting and odds and ends to do.
I have serious concerns over my engine which are better dealt with now on dry land.

One think only leads to the next.
I love you guys. Thanks.
((This was originally a private entry - oh, well.)

The Last Samurai

The Seven Values of the Samurai:
Duty and Loyalty
Justice and Morality
Complete Sincerity
Heroic Courage

Are these not my own?
Of course, I like to trim them down, compact them. Loyalty and courtesy stem from compassion, honor and morality out of sincerity, and sincerity out of love and honesty.

It does my heart good to see such a pure reflection of what I feel in my heart displayed so clearly in a movie. Death was but an act of life, to be feared but not despised. Life was art, grace, attention. What a beautiful world!

I want to live in Japan now, but I know it is not what it was. But to have such a simple, intense worldview be as prolific as it seems to have been there is amazing to me. Perhaps the Native Americans were little different.

But not with such grace. The N.A were unbridled in the way the Japanese were meticulous and disciplined.

They also represent what I am not: They strive toward perfection and practice patience, slowly moving toward what they seek. I explode, accelerate toward my destination and tire, become disinterested, and then lose focus. I turn my attention elsewhere before completing my original task as astutely as I otherwise could.

My fiberglass work is teaching me what I can accomplish with time and focus. “Just a little farther.” I think of the artist, how the more he works, the longer he stares the more he finesses, the purer the work he creates. I think of Narziss, working at his statue of St. John for over a year, working in fits and starts—but never quitting or changing course. ("Narziss and Goldmund", a novel by Hermann Hesse)

What ever happened to my naval reading?
I haven’t read seriously in months. Brian has read through half of Calder’s tome. I need to learn engines and such. Where is my discipline?
Granted, Brian doesn’t even have a boat yet. I could say, to each his own path, but the point is to improve and intensify my own.

How can I be stronger? How can I be more myself, purer, more purely me? What the hell does that mean?
That seems to insinuate that I wish to bring something out of myself that is innate, not socially constructed. I am trying to unlearn social mores and find my unfettered self.

I don’t care what this me is or where it comes from—so long as I am me. I believe being ME is the best life I can live. That’s what I want. I believe that the closer I am to self-realization, the more I can give, the more beautiful my life will become, the more important, the more powerful, the more vital my life will be. I don’t have a clue what that means.
Will I die a perpetual sailor and hedonist? Or will I lead a new health and spiritual healing movement? (Ha!)
Will I become President of the United States? Will my legacy be only a child, and through him all my loves and desires will manifest more perfectly than I could hope for?

I want Blonny to be proud. I want everyone to be proud of me. I am ashamed of how much the respect of my peers means to me. I use Blonny so much as my inspiration, my light to help me through sufferings and trials. I want to serve, that is my deepest wish, that my life will somehow mean something.

It is ironic, because I feel like I am the happiest person I know. My life seems to serve itself. I am the wealthy hedonist on the perpetual vacation. Often it feels that way too. I can’t believe how lucky I am. I am thankful every single day. Life is a miracle.

So how do I reconcile this?
Sometimes I don’t. I can be awfully critical of myself. I doubt, I criticize. But I try to remember what this is all about. This is my path of self-discovery. Being happy is not a sin, perhaps it is a sign of success. It would, and is, ridiculous to criticize yourself for your own happiness.

Yet, I cannot forget my goal. It isn’t happiness; it is realization. I am an artist. I am sculping a life, a life as beautiful as I can make it. Out of beauty comes utility. My life will find its function out of its clear and fine delineations and suppleness.

I don’t need, nor expect, to ever know what my success was, if I ever reached it. Honestly, I find a deal of satisfaction from making people smile. Perhaps that is the best I can do.
Not such a bad life is that.
Being happy and making others smile. If that is my life and my truest calling I accept it happily. Of course, I sort of doubt it.
I’ve always prepared myself for a gruesome sort of life, always dreaming of prisons and violent deaths. But the older I become the more accepting I become of what I have: happiness.
Why fight it.

Only last night did I come to a realization concerning my preoccupation with suffering: I don’t. The grass is always greener. We crave what we don’t have. I yearn to suffer because I don’t suffer.

I like to think I suffer, but my sufferings are so superficial, so physical in nature. What is a little cold and discomfort?—nothing. Nothing compared to the existential confusion of being lost, having no path, no passion, no lovers, no loved ones, no god, no self-love.
That is real suffering,
Suffering I haven’t known. I am very lucky indeed.


However.......since writing this piece, I am again confronted with glimpses of destiny: I call myself Jonah, the single most cursed sailor's name, the worst omen. A "Jonah" is someone who brings misfortune onto a boat by his presence.
I've been calling my boat, "The Grim", a reference to death, the Grim Reaper, to the dark side, the feminine, the Yin.
What's more, as I just remembered, my email address is Bellyofthewhale--this is the mythological hell, the place where all heroes must venture on there path.

I am totally infatuated with the inferno. I WANT to experience it. I know that is terrible somehow. But everything I have suffered has made all else in my life the more vivid and beautiful.
I love being able to truly appreciate water because I have experienced extreme thirst, or the taste of simple foods because I've been hungry.
Suffering adds so much to the ordinary experience of simple things.

Of course, it is debilitating. In some ways, you are never the same, you never recover, you are reforged for better and worse.
I know this. And yet I can't help feeling it is my destiny somehow, though I am aware that I am consciously making it my destiny by my preoccupation with it.

What a world.

03 May, 2005

No more hole in my boat.
Now to the paint.

The epoxy has been laid... Hourray.
The weather was great. I can almost feel the water Flowing back under the boat.

This is sort of strange. what I see on the screen are only boxes and triangles - no letters. I am blind.
So pardon the errors. I son't hae a clue why it is like this. Too bad the key board is sticky, which makes it real tricky.

II saw a beautiful movie, The Lasat Samurai. I loved it.