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Sassea Sails

SAILING, METAPHORS, ADVENTURE,

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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….

 

Diets that WORK

With the infinite number of books, blogs and nauseating ads for the perfect diet, even the non diet diets advertised, I am stumped to wonder why two particular diets proven to work, is never mentioned. Have you ever seen a tabloid headline with the words, BREAK-UP DIET, or WIDOW DIET.  Yet, oh my gosh how they work.

Sadly, though in order to succeed with the break up diet, first coined in my world, by my wonderfully talented friend Maryanne, you have to experience an unpleasant, unwanted divorce from a partner. Whether legally married or not I will be using the terms married and divorce to mean all actions the same without government interference. The term divorce meaning a separation to include such a parting of ways due to death.

Anyway, the thought occurred to me that my eating has slowed to a pace I emotionally prefer. Certainly, I never want anyone to feel emotional pain. That’s another subject. For now, I ask for thoughts about how to transform the weight loss of a break-up or death into a weight loss that doesn’t require these undesirable events.

Remember, my e-mail is:  sailorhiker@gmail.com 

 

Promises, promises, promises

What is the criteria for a promise? An internet search defining a promise yields an earnest declaration to either do something or not do something. Children learn that a promise gives meaning to an intent. For example, a child promises to share their candy at lunch with another child. Before lunch the child who made the promise eats all their candy. Then, at lunchtime the child who was promised candy is disappointed. Regardless of how the promised child reacts is it ok that the promise was broken.

In a more serious, yet fairly common scenario, couples promise to love and cherish each other until death do them part. Then, they divorce. Is it ok that the promise was broken?

Parents may promise their children to take them to the zoo on a particular day. The day comes and the excited child is now disappointed because the parents say something else has come up. Going to the zoo has to be postponed. What circumstances are acceptable for the parent to renege their promise?

Is any adult free from ever breaking a promise? To judge whether or not a broken promise is justified probably needs the determination of what circumstances surround the situation. No doubt ‘it depends’ will determine whether a broken promise is justified. A broken promise to share candy may not be as detrimental as a broken promise to love and cherish’ til death do us part. Is it ok to forgive someone who broke a promise?

Is any adult free of ever breaking a promise? Is the declaration to promise taken for granted? Is it used when we are striving to get agreement with someone? Do broken promises seriously hinder a relationship? To what extent does keeping a promise  used as an excuse to take an action that might otherwise cause a problem. Is it worst to break a promise to yourself? Promises, promises, a perplexing concept,,,

 

 

 

Letters I’ve Written, Blogging for Blabbing and Memoiring Maybe

Having been a blogger for about 20 years now, I finally decided to write my memoir. Writing with the intent of printing a book, though is different than blogging. Blogging, for me is way to vent, to puke out whatever thoughts come to my mind. There have been times when my blogging had a hidden theme. Themes included  a never before vocabulary word, using only 3 sentences in a paragraph, or admitting a less than desirable action.

Writing a memoir for the world to read is a little different. Committed to making others look good, to show their sunny side, and avoid any words that might upset or offend someone is a challenge. How does one bear their soul, share intimate stories, or explain deep feelings without offending?

What I do know is that I have a compulsion to write. When I graduated high school and my best friend at the time went off to college, I wrote to her every single day. A boy I liked, Frank,  at the time was serving our country as a soldier in Korea. I wrote and mailed him a letter every single day. He wrote back nearly every day, as well. Upon his return I learned he had been living with a little lovely during his time overseas. Though glad to end any possibilities with a romance I wish I kept the letters.

Forgetting about ‘boys’ I idled my time writing a story using the titles of songs. It went something like this:”Oh, Mr. Postman, look and see,” I “Aint Misbehavin.’ and I ‘Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” even though “All my Rowdy Friends” are having a “Blue Monday.”   On and on it went. As I recall it was at least ten pages handwritten filling both sides of notebook paper. If only I kept that as well.

So, from silly lyrics to assertively written letters in which I pour my heart out to people whose behavior leaves me feeling hurt or misunderstood, to blogging and now to memoir writing here I am blabbing on. What keeps me motivated with an unstoppable compulsion? It is an internal urge. What will propel me to writing a successful memoir though is my friend Linda McGarry, who holds me accountable for not just paying my bills on time, but for encouraging me to write.

Dawn to Dusk,,,

There he was. Or, was he a she? When I turned from filling the bird feeders I looked toward the trees behind the shed while imitating the flock of larks who were hungrily waiting for their day’s ration. Then, my eyes drifted downward. A stump about 3 feet high caught my attention. I tried to recall if I had ever noticed it before. Squinting as one would to clearly make out the markings two eyes were staring back at me. As still as the tree I initially thought I was looking at took a more defined shape. With his head erect and body pointing straight at me, I was reminded of Lucas, a four or five month old lion that I was fortunate to play with years ago while in South Africa. The only notable difference was that Lucas was a golden color typical of lions. This cat was wearing grey and his eyes the color of an ordinary house cat. In fact, his whole body resembled a pet many cat lovers enjoy as a companion.

This cat, the one standing about 3 feet from the house and about twenty yards from me, looked like a giant house cat. He/she didn’t meow or  grimace. He/she remained still, save for the wind perking up his/her thick coat. Wanting my mate to see, I stupidly started yelling in the direction of the upstairs loft where I knew he was inside doing his morning exercises. “Ron, Ron, you gotta see this.” Because he didn’t respond to my wailing, I slowly walked up onto the deck and opened the front door. Thankfully, Ron was already on his way outside. “Shush,”  he whispered, “and move slowly.”

Being the coward I am I stayed an inch or two behind Ron stepping into his footsteps as he peered around the west corner of the house. Only ten yards in front of us, the cat continued to stare at us. Then as quietly as he had been, he turned his head and slowly walked away from us and into the woods.

As if this wasn’t enough excitement for a city girl, while the sun was setting later in the day, a hefty, healthy looking  doe strolled into our front yard. For about fifteen minutes she nibbled at the bird seed beneath the juniper tree about 30 yards from our front door.  Her big ears turning in different directions. We were inside and taking pictures. The bird feeder is an actual tea cup, the kind fancy ladies sip from so there isn’t much seed in the cup when I fill it every other morning. Yet, this majestic ruminant mammal   nibbled, and nibbled for about 15 minutes,  yet still leaving enough for two birds to dive into the cup after the she strolled away.

Wow, a deer and a bobcat in our yard; one at dawn and the other at dusk. Quite a day for a city girl…

 

 

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