Monday, June 13, 2022

Hilton Head Island: fortunate


Not spectacular.  Nor need it be.  But it is what I am seeing at this moment.  The water is so close and I am so fortunate that it is.

At the bottom of the photo is a glass.  It contains 10 year Laphroaig.

Because of the heat I Ubered to a supermarket and nearby liquor store rather than biking.  I am not a fool who exposes himself to unnecessary danger.  I only expose myself to necessary danger.  At the liquor store, which seldom has 10 year Laphroaig, I hit the jackpot.  Three bottles.  I bought them all.

I look up and in the few moments I have been writing the sky and reflections on the water have changed.  Both now a subtle shade of rose.  And the water, my element, is closer.

I have lead an extreme life.  Extreme suffering to which I choose to expose myself.  Extreme joy.  At this moment I am surprised and grateful to whom or what I do not know that I still am in the presence of beauty.  Probably time and chance and the gifts I was given.  To have been an animal who in countless instants of survival always leapt the right way.

It is inexplicable and perhaps unparalleled that one like me—and of course there have been others—even originals have their different original equals.  There were I am certain Polynesian Webb Chiles.  You don’t get from what is now Hawaii and French Polynesia to New Zealand repeatedly by chance.  But I wonder if any of my peers have been alive at age 80.  Slocum disappeared at  65.  Amundsen at 55.  Captain Cook at 51.  Do I dare compare myself to them?  Of course I do.  And so at 80, having made voyages they may or may not have been capable of making, having loved women beyond their wildest imaginations, and having written words beyond their abilities, I face what a friend calls a conundrum that few, perhaps none of our species ever has.

Suppose you have done more than you ever thought possible.  Made voyages no one else had ever done or even imagined.  Loved women of charm and beauty.  Put words together of grace and meaning.  And somehow, against all odds, found yourself old and healthy at age 80 and with a woman you like, love, and can count on. Yet some fundamental part of you says you still must do more.

It is not a common problem.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello, Webb,

I sent you a poem, though I don't consider myself a poet, that compared or likened you to Columbus, Balboa, Magellan, Slocum, Dumas, and Moitessier. So it sounds like sort of a conundrum being 80 and healthy -- sail on Cosmos Mariner...

Best Regards,

David Lackey