On a rainy morning I am sitting on the sofa in our spare bedroom. A year ago two thousand miles to the southwest I was entering San Diego Harbor, ending my sixth circumnavigation and the second part of my life, which I have called ‘being’. I glance up and see on the wall a drawing of me made by the French magazine, VOILES ET VOILIERS, more than forty years ago. I don’t often notice it. That is what I was. Here is what I am. Or at least was recently.
Same smile. Same mustache. Considerably less hair under the hat.
So what I have done in my first year of Dying, other than expend 366 days of my diminishing time?
I have written four magazine articles, given interviews, made one public appearance, refined the main site, added 178 journal entries, read forty-four books, listened to music, sailed less than 100 miles, made myself physically stronger, loved Carol, and have begun to consider the future and to make tentative plans.
This is not because I have become bored, as some have said I would, but that something innate within me is beginning to stir. I think of Milton’s ‘And that one talent which is death to lodge with me useless’. I am aware of the Biblical reference, but there are talents that demand expression.
I have observed that it often takes me a year to move on after a great loss or a difficult voyage.
If you went to the main site, on the list of quotes used at the beginning of my books you would find:
I chose those when I was relatively young. Now that I am old, do I live them?
In part it will depend on time and chance, as do all things, and in part how much suffering I can endure in my eighties. GANNET brings joy, but she also brings discomfort. There is the possibility that I will find lasting contentment in the waters and islands of the Low Country. And there is what I call the Carol Complication, a complication I gladly accept.
My plans, such as they are, are inchoate and my commitment not absolute, as ultimately it must be.
The first step is clear. Move GANNET from San Diego to Hilton Head. I had expected to do so in June, but obviously that is not going to happen. I hope it does before the end of the year.
Beyond exploring the local waters around Hilton Head—and the most enjoyable of the 7,000 miles I sailed last year were the first 10 on Skull Creek and Calibogue Sound—the open ocean calls as always and I am considering crossing the North Atlantic perhaps to Iceland and the UK. My thoughts beyond that I will for now keep to myself, but I have embarked on voyages that interested me because I did not know if they were possible. I have thought of another.
Again from the main site: