Monday, August 19, 2019

Somewhere Over America: a wine bottle; harsh reality; new videos


        We are halfway through the three hour flight from Phoenix to Chicago and five or six miles above northern Texas or Oklahoma.  Maybe Kansas.  Though written Sunday, this won’t be posted until tomorrow.
        Carol and I enjoyed our days in Sedona, Arizona.  We drove to the Grand Canyon on Thursday and flew over it yesterday.  The Grand Canyon is the Grand Canyon, one of the great natural wonders of this world, although on Thursday views were lessened by smoke from wild fires.  Yesterday was clearer.  But what has been most surprising is the dramatic and spectacular beauty of Sedona.  The red rock formations and mountains are almost otherworldly.

        We had clear views of them from the windows and deck of our resort cottage.  We watched the light change in the morning and at sunset, and Venus and the first stars appear in the waning light, followed by the full moon.  Last night I saw Scorpio just above the horizon to the west.
        The resort consists of cottages not hotel rooms.  The land is an incline from beside Oak Creek.  We were on the highest level, but enjoyed sitting beside the creek, watching ducks, listening to the babbling water, reading.

        At this time of year the resort restaurant has open air tables beside the creek.  We had our anniversary dinner there Friday.  After dark we could not see the creek, but we heard it.
        Usually I prefer for others to choose the wine to accompany dinner.  Carol did that night and chose an Argentine Malbec that as you can see carries the words “Red Schooner” and “Voyage 7” on the label.  I am quite certain she did not choose the wine for those, but because it was one of the few bottles on the list that cost less than $100.  Two notes:  several bottles were more than $1000 and a few more than $3000; and some years ago a reader sent me the great line:  ‘’I refuse to drink anything that costs more than my first car.”  But how unlikely is it that a wine labeled “Voyage 7” should be offered to a sailor who has just completed voyage 6?  
        I like to believe that though frayed by time, I am still good.
        Yesterday I was confronted by harsh reality.
        Between the flights to and from the Grand Canyon, we had a ground tour in a Hummer.  There were four other people on the tour in addition to Carol and me.  A married couple in their 30s and a man and his daughter who is 21.
        The guide took us off the main paved tourist paths and I, with my failed vision, could not follow.  My compromised depth perception is not comfortable with uneven surfaces and precipitous edges without guard rails.  I am not around other people under those circumstances much, but here it was obvious that while I can do things almost no one else can, I cannot do things that any ‘normal’ person can do.
        I know that some of you have much greater impairments than I, but I am not used to being the one who cannot keep up with the group.  I am used to being the one the group cannot keep up with.
        Some have been impressed that I made the GANNET voyage in my 70s.  Age never entered my mind about the voyage.  I have written that the ocean does not give senior discounts and if it did, I would have refused to accept one.  But my failed vision and hearing are significantly affecting my life.  Among other things, I am not good in complex spaces such as airports and I can’t see in the lighting in big box stores.  I am tired of apologizing and saying, “I am blind in my right eye and did not know you were there.”  I am best alone and in limited familiar spaces where I know where everything is.  GANNET obviously.  Our Evanston condo.
       I don’t have a conclusion, but I am troubled.
       All the more reason to return to the sea you might think.  And you might be right.

        I have just posted the two videos I made a few days ago on GANNET in her new home.
        They can be found at: