Friday, December 16, 2022

Hilton Head Island; guardian angels; feel; wakes

 I doubt you ever expected to see guardian angels in this journal, and your expectations were correct.  I do not believe in angels of any variety, and even if they existed, I do not believe I am deserving of a guardian one.

Yet when I consider my life, a strong case could be made that I have had a guardian angel.  I have come so close to dying so many times.   Sometimes of my own doing,  But often not.  

I am not going to repeat the survival stories that appear in my other writings, but there were countless other instants of which I have not written in which I came close to dying.  As I have written:  Almost dying is a hard way to make a living.  In truth I did not push limits to make a living, but to be myself. 

And there is the timing that brought Carol and me together in the only narrow window in which we could have met and for months feasted on one another.

I don’t have any conclusion to reach from this.

I have through whatever strength and intelligence I was given at birth, and chance, grown old, which presents problems I never anticipated.

I very much need to go to sea.  To enter the monastery of the sea.

You would think not having had a ‘real job’ for almost fifty years, that would be easy, but it isn’t. 

In this part of the world the hurricane season blocks many months and there are holidays to spend with Carol, and deliveries, and other mundane interruptions.  I have hopes for March of next year.  

That I re-enter the monastery of the sea  is of great importance to me.  I must.

I read that the Internet does great harm in amplifying false information.  I have no social media accounts or experiences myself, so my knowledge is only second hand.  An example is the report that after the Saudi Arabia upset of Argentina in the group stage of the World Cup each Saudi player was going to be given a Rolls Royce worth $450,000.  This was picked up and published by many newspapers and “news services”.  I put news services in quotes because the only basis for this was social media posts.  No Saudi official ever said this was true, and it was not.

On the other side of the Internet I am grateful that it enables me to know you, most of whom I will never meet in person.  I hope I enrich your lives.  I know that many of you enrich mine.  An example being that Kent, of his and Audrey’s Armada, mentioning a book by Nathaniel Philbrick, SECOND WIND.

I have read and enjoyed many of Philbrick’s books, but did not know of this one, which is about his returning to racing Sunfish in what he considers his middle age.  He was a former North American champion in the class. 

I have no interest in racing.  Often I get emails that have a variation of, “I sail, but of course I have not done anything comparable to you.”  And a couple of days ago, after at a request to relate my experiences while adrift when CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE was pitchpoled in the South Pacific, a woman friend who is leading an usual life said, “I feel like a wimp.”

This might be the most egotistical statement that you will ever hear, but I am not competing with any of you or anyone else on this planet.  I have ever only competed against myself.  And I don’t know whether I have won or lost.  And I never will.

To go back to Nathaniel Philbrick, he is good at the sailing he does, which is very different from the sailing I do.  Here is an excellent passage from the book about feel.


 I hope to meet Kent and Audrey sometime.  It is unlikely I will ever met Victor who lives in Chile, though I would like to.  He is a sailor and has made me aware of Spanish language poets I did not know.  I thank him for that.  I wish I spoke and could read Spanish.  Growing uo in the Midwest when I did, Spanish was not even thought of.  I took Latin in high school and French in college.  Yet now Spanish is the second language in the United States, and the first in parts, and I like a lot of Spanish music and wish I understood the words.

Victor sent me a link to a music video of a song based on a poem by Antonio Machado, “Caminante, no hay camino”.  I think Victor is a kindred spirit.

Here is a link to the video: 

And here is a translation of the lyrics in English.

Countless times I have looked back at the vanishing wake of my boat and thought how quickly I have passed without a trace.

A poem written forty-one years ago:

I like to believe that I am more than a once pretty face.


Andy said...

I can't speak for others, but you do enrich my life. I check your blog every day, and I think that the randomness of when you post adds pleasure to the enrichment. It's like a gift that appears at unexpected intervals.
Thanks for being you and writing about you.

Webb said...

Thank you, Andy.

I live by choice and perhaps conditioning, a mostly solitary life. I would have done whatever I have done--words, voyages, women--if no one else had ever known. Once I wrote of the "If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears, does it make a sound?" a slight variation: the tree knows. And the tree's experience is the only one that matters. It is possible to be defined only by yourself, not as is almost universal in our species by others. Yet though I am still feeling my way forward at an absurd age, I am glad to know that a few others are touched by my words and voyages.

CPSMarine said...

There are three sorts of people:

those who are alive
those who are dead
and those who are at sea.

Maybe Aristotle, maybe Anacharsis.

David Hoiland said...

Hi Webb

I also continue to read all your posts and continue to feel enriched by them. Keep up the good work and happy solstice. Christmas and New Years. There’s so much ancient wisdom wrapped up in each of them.

David Hoiland