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Sassea Sails

SAILING, METAPHORS, ADVENTURE,

I Believe

          It was about two hours after I arose from a tumultuous night’s sleep when I sent a text to Norine, a new found friend here in SOCO (Southern Colorado). A few days ago we talked about sharing a home-made pizza. I wanted to confirm the plan. Her reply included a reminder for me to go water the sunflowers she taught me to germinate, then plant.

About two weeks ago, under Norine’s guidance, I began the process of germinating sunflowers seeds I bought for feeding the birds. A week later 20 little plants emerged from the dry dusty dirt where I planted them. Keeping a watchful eye, I continued to water them in the morning sun and the evening sky. Two days ago I was sadly surprised. With an angered curiosity I studied the area where the healthy looking green sprouts werethriving just a day before. That’s right I said where the sprouts were. Overnight they disappeared. Gone.

Using what Ron called my Sherlock Holmes detective skills I bent down to examine every inch of the dirt within a 3-yard radius. “Who ate my sunflowers?” I whispered out loud. Two indentations about 4 inches wide were noted. Each indent had loose dirt pushed to one side. There weren’t  any claw like features ruling out the possibility of a bear. I wasn’t sure if those were my prints from previous days when I was tending my seedlings. Still, I was dismayed.

When Norine stopped by later that afternoon for a tea sipping visit, I lamented about how the baby sunflower seeds sprouted then began to peek up through the dirt. I shared my joy of experiencing the miracle of growing flowers from seed to the disappointment of another example of life’s bitter sweetness. To soothe my soul we turned our thoughts to the belief that nature follows the little fish get eaten by the big fish theory. Still, I want to know who ate or stole the seedlings. How dare????

As this sunny Sunday progressed my consternation over the demise of my sunflowers erupted into a pleasant surprise. After Norine reminded me to do my morning watering I almost believed in God, or Jesus, or something. Just as I do every morning I filled my red watering can and strolled down the driveway. I stopped to say good morning to my garden size ‘Train that Could.’ Pausing to primp up the petunias growing in the coal car I said a silent prayer thanking mother nature for blessing me with this awesome 4 acres in a high plains desert far from the sea life I am still passionate about.

Moving along in body and spirit, I tilted my head toward the eastern sky, I swear I thought I saw a miracle. I couldn’t believe my eyes. How did I not see this sunflower growing? How can a sunflower go from its germinated shell, to 3 feet high overnight? WTF, , ,

Reminding myself to exhale I came to my senses when I was overcome with another uncontrollable bout of tears. Without further thought I garnered my sadness and appreciation, then, sauntered back to the house.  Inside I rolled out Bob’s Gluten Free Pizza Dough, put some Michael Martin Murphy tunes on my i- phone, cranked up my Bose speaker, and climbed what Ron and I call our home’s stairway to heaven, kissed his picture, and wrote this for my blog.

Late in the Day

Does anyone know who wrote and/or recorded this song? It reminds me of a ballad by Loretta Lynn or Patsy Cline or maybe even Willie Nelson.  The words in italics are my version.

Late in the day, When the shadows start to play

On our back door and up and down this mountain way.

I think back on the times, with our hands entwined

We sat talking low, late in the day.

It seems I was lucky to know, you were a good thing from the start

            Still you slipped through my fingers, the price we had to pay

Now on my own, doing the best I can each day

Now I’m alone without a plan, late in the day

Now I pour tea, without any ice

Put my feet up, close my eyes

Try hard to listen to what our heartsmight say

Try to find the rhyme that will take us back in time

And be with togetheranywhere, late in the day.

As I look out over top, of the houses and Spanish Peaks

As the sun sets, and another day winds down

My life is till the same, My heart can’t hide the pain

And my lips still call your name, late in the day.

My life is still the same

My heart can’t hide the pain

And my lips still call your name, late in the day.

 

 

 

The Little Train That Could

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A friend from Everglades City, Judy, posted this comment in response to my last posting about changing WTF from its use of the f-bomb to an alternative mindset, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. She stated:  A creative mindset for making a positive reversal in life’s endeavors!

After reading Judy’s comment I was encouraged to change my thoughts and behavior. It seems my mind has become scattered. My goal to write a memoir keeps slipping down the priority list. There are so many things to do. To seriously write I need a clutter free desk. I need my kitchen table to look like it is ready for a meal and not for an  array of photos to be sorted.

 I want my backyard to look more inviting with the trash can and air conditioning condenser hidden by a nice concrete wall, I want the deck in the front yard to be adorned with selected stones taken from other areas of my wooded 4  acre lot. I want to socialize with friends who are going out of their way to keep me safe to enjoy life’s little pleasures. Then, there are the daily OM lessons I subscribed to. For pete’s sake I need to take the time to learn what OM stands for. Lastly, I need to stop thinking about buying the 40  foot trimaran I have my eye on until I get more information about it.

While thinking about what to think about I went downstairs to warm up my cup of joe. Peeking out the kitchen window I saw the little wooden train my friends, Debbie and Richard, convinced me to buy for $5 at yesterday’s garage sale. Since I first read the classic book, “The Little Train That Could,” it has been a favorite. During my career as a school counselor I frequently read it to students of all ages. Now, that great symbol of encouragement sits right alongside my driveway leading to my door.

While staring at the primary colored train my mind did make a positive reversal. With a  few deep breaths I made a mental list of my priorities. First, tidy up my desk so I can spend two hours focused on writing my memoir.  Second, go outside to put more blocks on the wall. Third, experiment with a 60s hairstyle for tonight’s sock hop. Three things are plenty for one day. All else will wait until tomorrow.

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**For those interested in learning more about this classic “children’s” story, written by Watty Piper – pen name for Arnold Munk, I encourage you to do a google search. I was happy to know that “The Little Train that Could” is ranked along with Alice in Wonderland as one of the top 100 children’s stories.

 

 

 

WTF — A New Meaning

Photo taken by Ron Ouellette of Hiking Friends Polly n Chris on  4/27/18  West Spanish Peak Mountain

I stand corrected regarding my three previous blogs on WTF. Rather than continue to curse the injustice I felt when Ron did not wake from his sleep, my focus has shifted to a more tenable response. Last Thursday at high noon I was standing above the tree line on West Spanish Peak. Instinctively I shouted What the Fuck while remembering this was Ron’s last stand on our beloved mountain. With tears rushing from my eyes, down my cheeks and soaking my shirt I was enlightened by fellow hiker Debbie Gregory’s wry sense of humor. “WTF, you are right! We are in the middle of it,” she prophesied.

Awakened from my outburst by her raucous statement, I stared at her in disbelief.  Debbie explained. “You experienced a tragedy. That was yesterday. Tomorrow things will be better. Today, you are in the middle. Today is also Thursday, sandwiched between Wednesday and Friday. So, just think of WTF as being Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.”

As dimwitted as the explanation sounds, it reminds me to find humor and a more positive spin on life’s bitterness.  It is time I stopped cursing what I cannot change. I therefore declare that from this moment forward I will take the gifts I received from my past to build a preferred future.

 

Dawn’s Early Light

A new day has begun. If I were leaving a harbor I would be walking about the deck preparing to weigh anchor. All lines leading to the cockpit would be tangle-free, the diesel would be warming up, hot coffee would be simmering. A slow 360 degree turn would substantiate the wind’s strength and direction. The drifting distance astern would be ascertained. A decision to raise the mainsail would be made. A deep breath would be taken; maybe two deep breaths or even three before pushing that magic button on the windlass to free us from mother earth.

Because I am not leaving a harbor my day will be different. In fact today will be like no other before it. Needing to be cautious while overcoming my fear of the dark, wooded terrain on my Southern Colorado four acre homesite, I shall embark outside. For the first time in my life I shall overcome my fear of seeing a bear, chasing a rat, or steering clear of a snake. Yipe, it is time to step outside onto my deck and hang up the load of laundry that I put in the washing machine two hours ago when I woke up.

Keeping my promise to change my physiology when negative thoughts swarmed in my head, I got out of bed about 2:30 am. My subconscious mind had me dreaming about a situation that made me feel badly, insecure, and angry. Despite these ideas, my curiosity yearned for details. Thankfully I had the presence of mind to get out of bed and formally begin my first formal draft of my memoir. Now, at 5:13 am, my mind is devoid of choosing the right words. Time, to get those clothes out of the washer and hung on the line. There is few joys in this world then clean clothes dried in the clean Colorado air (now that the smoke from the devastating fires has subsided)….

WTF #3

I get it; many, many, too many people have been dealt a handful of cards much worst than I can ever imagine. Yet, here I am after a peaceful day of sailing in Maine saying, WTF for the 3rd time.

Today’s welcomed sail was a gift, the kind of gift I treasure most. My friend Julie arranged with her friend Kathy to take us out for a sail. Kathy rowed us out to her moored Cape Dory 22 in an 8 foot rowing Puffin. A Puffin will make the perfect dinghy for my next cruising tri. Within a few minutes of readying ourselves for the afternoon sail we released the mooring line. It took 3 or 4 tacks to get out of Lowell Harbor. Then, for the next 3 hours we reached along Casco Bay.

Casco Bay has special meeting which brought a wave of sadness. The Friends of Casco Bay is the preferred charity for those who wish to make a donation in Ron’s honor. Lowering my head on the cabin sole I day dreamed of the stories Ron shared of his days sailing these waters.

Before leaving for the day’s sail I had learned of the growing fires in Southern Colorado, southwest of our comfortable cabin. Transitioning from Ron’s burial at sea to the tranquility of a long overdue sail was a welcome respite only to be interrupted by the notice of the evacuation order in my neighborhood.

Thankfully, Polly and Chris, our hiking friends took the initiative to take our van to a safer area earlier in the day. With the news of evacuation our neighbor, Carla called to ask if there was anything in the house I might want her to get. Suddenly without provocation I cried. The most sentimental of all my possessions ran to my frontal lobe. Before leaving for Maine to attend Ron’s memorial I  carefully placed a picture of Ron on the left side facing right. On the right side of the mantle was Danny’s picture facing left. The strategic placement of these two pictures resulted in their facing a treasure I placed in the middle of them. The exquisitely carved jewelry and token box Ron had our friend Richard make. was presented to me at my birthday party by Richard’s wife Phyllis. Inside the box I put the diamond ring Danny had given me so many years ago.

Now, long after day turned into night, I am calming myself, by writing this blog entry. All I can think is What the Fuck! I put Danny to sea in 2010. I put Ron to sea the other day. Today, the combination of everything thing these men provided me is wrapped in and around our comfy cabin home. A quiet salt box style house surrounded by desert terrain, juniper and cedar trees may go up in flames before dawn’s early light. WTF #3.

 

Five years of Mourning –WTF

The other day I had the opportunity to turn an acquaintance into a friendship. Until I get her permission to use her name I will call her Sophie. We met on a planned hike with two other gals. Sophie was introduced to me as a nice lady whose husband also died.

Just hearing those words sent a jolt right up through the crown of my head. A few seconds passed when I reckoned to myself, “At least we have a common ground though my immediate prayer was that our hike would welcome the silent solitude I had been craving. The leaves brushing on my sleeve, the crackling sound of drying leaves beneath my feet, and the breathing of cool air tickling your cheek is what I wanted. Perhaps as mother nature intended Sophie and I broke the sounds of silence.

It seemed that as soon as we took our first 3 or 4 steps we began to converse.  It didn’t take long for me to hear Sophie’s story. Her husband died after several years of chronic health challenges. It was now five years later when Sophie decided to get out of the house, go hiking, and enjoy the company of others. Five years, I thought, I won’t mourn for five years. I will cherish the fortitude brought to my life each and every day of my life. I will socialize. I will read and relax.

I will take pride in my house and our property. I will continue my ukulele, piano and band playing. I will eat vegetables every day. I will maintain my current weight (or lose just five more pounds.) I will be kind. I will finish the slides for Ron’s memorial.

I will end this blog so I can finish the slides for Ron’s memorial….

WTF Landslide

While dawdling around in WTF land a sailing friend put grief into perspective. According to Registered Nurse, Peggy Snead, grief can be divided into two pieces of what I call the the circle of grief; honoring it or scab picking. Unlike Elizabeth Kubla Ross’s model of the stages of death, I experience the process as an iterative cycle. That is, one moves from shock, to disbelief, to anger and acceptance in a random series, over and over.

At times I am angry and regretful, though always sad. Then, I fall back into shock where the visions in front of me are surreal. The Spanish Peaks before me look like a wavering mirage. A dog barks and I am thrown into anger because as I turn my head in the direction of the sound, Ron is not sitting in his reading chair across the room. So, for me the grieving process is a painful circulatory system.

Going back to Peggy’s metaphorical way of coping with grief, my mind is eased with a definitive way to deal with the dynamics infiltrating my soul.  Regardless of how close Ron and I were, we both had 64 years of prior relationships. We had never crossed paths before that afternoon six years ago when he sailed into my heart. His string of ‘girlfriends,’ endearing buddies, colleagues, and family also have to grieve. And, I have to allow them to carry on as best they know how.

Each person deals with the death of a loved one or acquaintance in their own unique way. If their behavior impinges on mine, I have to be respectful and grateful they were fortunate to have had him in their life. Most have embraced me in a blanket of warmth that was unimaginable until the morning he didn’t wake up. I feel so connected to his family. I want to be with them along with my family and friends. I keep reaching for the phone to call them late in the day and early in the morning. Those good feelings, according to Peggy, are a way to honor the grief we all share. When we put our arms around each other,  we acknowledge that we are each grieving. We admit it.

On the other tack, negative influences that we dwell on, such as when a person doesn’t do what we want, when we want, and how we want are like picking at a scab. We need to do what we can to let the scab heal on its own. We can do this by ignoring it, taking medicine or covering it. We don’t have to answer every phone call. We don’t have to initiate calls. We don’t have to spend our nights wishing we could sleep. And, we don’t have to deny what we think of other people’s behavior. Recognizing the scabs is the first step to healing them.

My dad always said, ‘everything in moderation.’ This is especially helpful to remember during the grieving process. Whether honoring it or picking at a scab, it is acceptable and respectable to take a sip of doctor feel good, or take a toke to ease the pain.  In my world as long as you can get out of bed each day, tend to daily chores, and pay your bills, well by golly, you do what you need to do to honor that person whose life ended way before you were ready to let go.

 

WTF

No need to translate WTF. I know a gal who uses the expression quite often. Then, suddenly when the reality of losing the second love of my life the only thought in my head for the past week is WTF.

Since I was in junior high school I developed the habit of dropping the F bomb. I never did at work, at least not in front of students and their parents. Outside of school it was F this, O F, Fing thing a ma jib.

Now all I can say is WTF….

 

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