Saturday, January 19, 2019
Skull Creek: an enviable madness
A second post in one day.
Almost 9 PM. Wind increasing. Shaking GANNET.
A few days ago when I unfurled the jib, I moved the spare jib halyard, the spinnaker halyard, and the vestigial spinnaker pole topping lift from the bow pulpit where they are secured in port to near the mast where they are secured at sea. Near the mast in wind they rattle against the mast. So I went out a while ago and pulled them away with shock cords.
I love the increasing wind. I like having a minimal membrane between me and the natural world. GANNET is certainly a minimal membrane and as I have been sitting here, listening to music and sipping wine, I have thought as many times before that she is perfect for me. As is Carol.
I look around this tiny space and I love its simplicity.
As I have written before I can fit every important part of my life on GANNET, except Carol, who does not want to fit on GANNET. I can write. I can sail. I can read. I can listen to music. That and Carol are all that are essential.
Of Carol, I have sometimes thought that we are almost perfect for one another, but not quite. Maybe 95%+. Surely enough that no one but a complete fool would seek in this imperfect world for more. But I have come to realize that we are perfect for one another, at least she is for me. Both complicated individuals who came together a quarter century ago in love and lust and have evolved and accepted differences that have allowed both of us be who we are.
There are those who over simplify me and think I am only a sailor. That I am a sailor for the ages is quantifiable. But I am also a monk, a much married monk, which historically is not unknown, and while I would gladly leave the land behind, I would not leave Carol behind. Recently she said, “All those other women were merely practice for me.” And she is right. They were rare and wonderful women from whom I received and believe I gave joy--forget the despair--and learned to be Carol's husband. That she would have the wit and wisdom to say it is proof that she is right.
So I seek perfection and don’t believe that I, or anyone else, often achieves it. I believe I have with words achieved perfection in a few limited passages. A few sentences. Poems. I have not reread ‘Sailing to Africa’ for a while, but when I last did I would not have changed a word. In the past year my Blue Water Medal acceptance speech might be perfect, as might be ‘A slice of life’—with the aid of the title being provided by Steve Earley, and part of the journal post ‘Some of us are.’ Not much. But perfection is difficult. A billion selfies are taken every day, but a true self-portrait rare.
I am often called mad, usually with a smile of respect, but sometimes with spite by those whose efforts I have eclipsed. Yet I suggest it is an enviable madness in which not by chance I have survived long enough to become a legend, have connected a few perfect words, and have ended with the perfect boat and perfect woman.