Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It’s bloodied and broke

Autumn begins

Another in my ongoing series of little book posts. I don’t know why I keep going back to the little books I kept on the boat for source material. Or I do. The time I lived aboard was a dream come true, a dream that some days I wish I hadn’t woken up from. And then I find a note like this one:

more space

Each word underlined individually, as if a prayer. There are things that I miss about the boat, and there are thing I don’t—the daily olfactory onslaught of an onboard septic system is one. I kept lists and lists of designers and names, boats I longed for, and what they all had in common was more space.

Space I now have in spades. I have acres of space. I look out the horizon at Canada, at the single white pine that sticks above the tree line. I go for mile-long walks and have miles to spare.

Is it true that we always want what we cannot have? I stood at the bottom of my lawn the other day, chasing the last ray of sun as the line of shadow crept across the grass. I looked up, over the beaver pond, at my neighbor’s bus, on top of the hill, blessed by a full hour more of sun. If I were to start my own religion, a la Ron Hubbard, it would be a Ra the Sun God revival.

Then I remembered the last of the ten commandments: You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, or wife, or animals, or manservant, or maidservant, or prime piece of real estate. No wonder God said that. How easy is it to cast my eyes up the hill, to covet the fruit from his apple trees, to not appreciate the jewel that rests in my own hand.

Then I came home, and K. said: Just wait till winter, and the wind’s howling at the top of that hill.

So. On the boat I wanted vast openness, and now I crave heat, and motion, and international travel. Maybe that’s why I write here, to explore the choice between those two lives. This blog began as a record of my travel by sail, and it continues as a record of my search for stability.

I wrote one of those six-word Hemingway autobiographical short-shorts, once upon a time. It reads:
A traveler learns to stay still.

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