Thursday, June 07, 2007

Georgetown, Exumas, Bahamas

0 nm
E-SE 10-15 knots, gusting to 20

Karl is currently on the cell phone, which is suddenly and just as mysteriously working again, and he has been for the last three hours talking to his family. So he just spent about three months of our budget. Cell phones are dangerous things. I’ve spent that time catching up on my sister’s wonderful blog that everyone should read. If I was typing this up online I’d give you a link, but since I’m typing it on the crappy AppleWorks program, I’ll just have to tell you that I’ve linked to it over to the right. The link should say, my sister’s wonderful blog about Bob Dylan and motherhood.

So this is for Erica, because I know it will give you that wonderful, beautiful tingly feeling of longing and happiness and sadness all at once, that I know that both you and me get but I don’t know if anyone else gets. This is from one of the New Yorkers (the fashion issue!) that you gave me:

Four Poems

I’d like to buy her some toffee
but I don’t have a daughter

as I pass a sidewalk store in autumn.
the mother has fallen asleep
so her baby is listening all alone
to the sound of the night train.
Frogs croaking in flooded paddies--
if there really is a world beyond,
echo far enough so my dead brother can hear.
A boat whistles in the night.
For a moment I too long to sail away

but merely pull the blanket up over the kids

--Ko Un (translated from the Korean)

So too all you people out there pulling the blanket over the kids, longing to sail away, I raise a glass to you. Your lives are beautiful, too. All our lives are, if only we recognized it at the time. Even our two-week debacle anchored out, which I will probably remember in the future as paradisiacal, and at the time I was miserable and complaining and hot. Now (other than listening to Karl rack up the phone bill--at least 70 cents a minute, kaching, kaching) the breeze through the fore-hatch is blowing against my newly washed legs from the sun shower, I’ve just spent two hours communing with my sister whom I love (although she doesn’t know it), and I’m realizing just how content I am out here. How happy. How much progress I’ve made in the last five years towards being truly happy. Five years ago I couldn’t have said that--I was one of those people who always worried about the things she wasn’t doing when she was doing something else. What’s the point? Karl’s taught me a lot about that, Jesus has taught me a lot more.

Oh, and I want to tell you Erica, because I’m probably not going to be able to afford any time on the phone thanks to Karl’s current verbosity, that I had a dream about Sophia the other night--during the storm in the night I woke up and she was in my arms, her frail two-year-old body all naked and bony in a cloth diaper, the way yours used to be when you were two and we would sleep together in our double bed. I clutched her to me to keep her safe and in the dream I kept calling her “Little Melissa.” She was “Little Melissa” to me. I don’t know how you’ll feel about that, as her mother, but I do feel close to her, even so far away.

The hardest thing about this, bar none, is being away from our families and friends and the people we love. Hands down. There’s nothing harder about this--not the weather, not the sailing, not the head stank, not the endless corned-beef hash and resulting cottage-cheese thighs, not the money. The hardest thing about this adventure is knowing that our parents and grandparents are growing older without us there, that our nieces and nephews are growing up and forgetting about their crazy aunt and uncle off in never-never-land, that our friends and us are growing apart--they’re having adventures and making friends we know nothing about. We were warned, but it doesn’t prepare you for that wrenching jolt of being away from people, of the holes in your lives when those people get torn away.

That’s what this adventure with the Royal Bahamian Defense Force is making us realize. Our family is going to worry about us, and we need to have a plan for dealing with that. We are going to need to budget more for communications, something else that wasn’t even on the list. We’re going to need to make an effort to be places with phone and e-mail coverage. These things are not luxuries, they’re essentials. That’s a difficult thing to realize, but maybe a good one. We all need to make a conscious effort to connect with the people we love in our lives.

No comments: