Am writing this to you from the good ship Aimless today. Nothing to do,
really, so I’ll pen a few thoughts and feelings and put them out there for your
consideration. There’s fresh fish in the ice chest, bread, cheese, coffee
and tea… and some smoked meat I got down on Whidbey last week.
Plenty of fuel for the lantern, a small stack of wood for the stove… good to go.
The Sound has been calm all morning, a light rain, actually a heavy mist
settling on my canvas cover. It’s been a bit chilly, and the happy crackle
of the little stove warms the cool, humid air and my soul. When I first began
floating The Sound, I spent more time in my sleeping bag on the cot in the
wintertime, for warmth. Now I sit with my good sweater and a jacket, toasty,
by this little stove, and all is well.
As I put another stick into the stove, I can’t help but wonder if many people
out there in the world wouldn’t want to feel the way I feel here today. Being of
the Buddhist persuasion, I know that the simple existence, when done properly
and observed and appreciated correctly, can actually approach perfection at times.
This morning is one of those times.
My memory flashes my trip to Seattle last year past my eyes. A needless trip,
as it happened, for a medical issue that turned out to be nothing. I remember
the days of watching television, when all the commercials about potentially
deadly illnesses had me nearly in a hypochondriacal sweat. Good god,
what craziness. Now, I don’t seek attention unless something on me falls off.
And I barely remember how stupid those commercials were.
The point of all that is, my visit to Seattle was, basically, a nightmare.
There was nothing for me to complain about, really… nothing bad happened
and I escaped with the info I went for. But the mental and emotional overload?!
Jesus, Joseph and Mary… it was total chaos… total chaos! And I can say this…
for I lived in Atlanta, Georgia, for 33 years. In processing my new perspective of
*The Big City* I realize Atlanta was the same way, maybe worse, but I was a
younger man, on a mission. It was all a means to an end, and I was a part of the
madness, not an observer of it. Big difference. My daily schedule, my heart rate
and my need for accomplishment were doing 80 in a 25 mph zone.
We all were, at that age. And they still are. Only now I see it from the eyes
of a 73 year-old person who has lived it, and yet now, no longer understands it.
Well, I understand it to a point. Still makes me shake my head, though.
Ahh. No, the young city folk of today probably wouldn’t understand me, either.
And why should they? My life now, and my perception of “the good life” is not
on a fast track to anywhere. It has no mission statement, no particular goal
in mind, certainly no financial design, ladder climb, fame game or retirement
consideration. No. None of that. Okay. If not, then what?? What is my
perception of “the good life” today? Let’s stop right here for the moment…
stop and consider exactly that… damn. Well, it’s different, to be sure, and
almost scary. I hear gentle waves from a distant ferry lapping against the raft.
I smell the smoke from the stove, I hear the light rain on the canvas above me,
and the hiss of the kerosene lantern behind my shoulder. I am so at peace,
in the center of an absolutely beautiful world… my world… what more could I
possibly want? And how could the outside world possibly understand it?
But they’ll get it, eventually. No need for the young to understand the old at this
point in time. The needs and desires of the old ones and the young city dwellers
are 180. For the young ones, (and I remember…) tomorrow’s successes and
rewards are what they’re working for today. For me, today, this moment is
everything. Life. Being in this place. Feeling a part of the earth, of its phases,
its vibrations… the changing tide, the sudden breeze, a gull sweeping by
overhead… seeing my breath in the humid morning air – it’s everything to me.
Foolish old man.