No Escaping Irma

Five days before she hit American soil, I blew down to Miami to prepare my boat for the onslaught of Hurricane Irma. Well, actually I flew up and down on jet blue skies seated on American Airlines to secure and prep my 40-foot cat for a catastrophic category 5–6 hurricane.  How does one ready a boat for the huge tidal surges, destructive gusts and torrential rain?  It's an effort much more moving than relocating a vessel to a safer, more protective location. Prepping for a hurricane is something akin to readying for a battle.  Since there are few safe places when Force 12 winds blow through town, finding an ideal safe spot is in itself no easy endeavor. Then there are the sails, lines and sheets, anchors and the tenders.

Going Out on a Limb

Growing up in rural Maryland where extensive woodlands dotted the flat, marshy terrain of Maryland's Talbot County, I spent many idle hours climbing either a magnolia tree in my family's backyard or the heights of huge hay stacks in the hayloft in a nearby barn. And when my younger brothers and I eventually discovered a half-fallen oak tree along the waterfront not far from our home, we built a tree fort, a crow's nest and a "secret" hideaway over the Chesapeake's tributary waters called Solitude Creek.

Facing Fear

Let's face it, fear keeps us from facing life. Fear holds us back from being genuine and authentic with each other and maybe even ourselves.  Fears of facing our fears hides our faces. And hiding the truth or hiding from the truth takes our freedoms away.  Fear hides our souls and who we could be. Even facing facts often challenges our realities.  In fact, truth and reality often collide and crash in so many ways and places.  And even when some opinions are presented as facts, it is difficult to distinguish between real and fake, truth and false or right and wrong.

Taut Not Tense

Years ago in what and where it seems now was a far, far away galaxy,  I took swing dancing lessons. In the first class the instructor cajoled his neophytes with  "Apply gentle resistance". "Supply pressure for each other". "Hold hands with your partner so he/she feels engaged with and responsive to you." and finally "Both of you need an ounce of opposition to make your relationship work."

Sailing with One Eye Open

When the wind drops, a sailor tweaks different controls on his boat to maintain speed and momentum. A loss of either could mean he will be unable to steer his craft effectively. Losing one alters one’s choices and one’s course. So what would be different from a one-eyed perspective? Maybe the result would be same, but maybe the perspective changes the way life is viewed?

Dirty Washing

After some salty sea trials,  I occasionally find myself marina-washing my laundry loads in heavy-duty coined or token-driven washers/dryers. Often this challenge is not schools of boaters crowding the facilities or hogging these machines. The real obstacle is coaxing these boxes to clean and dry.  These mechanical operators tend towards the temperamental, often misbehaving and uncooperative. Yachters, be forewarned, when you venture into their humidity, they don't always turn you on. But know they will always take your token and your time.  Some will even spin a good yarn, but most will dry your load like they say.  But, they might surprise you by requesting more each turn....like some bum begging to be fed, careful, don't get fed up and tired of their spin. If you do, it's back-to-the-boat-hanging-them-on-some-life-line-time. Maybe better than feeding their dry sense of humor. 

Inside Out

The world mentality is both - outside in and inside out. Many of us energize from outside ourselves; while others, but far fewer of us, energize through combining thought and feeling to form creativity. Art, literature, music, love, thought, feeling, faith, attitude, communication, connection, passion, bliss and soul all emanate from within. 

Born without Heart

Having just painted my inflatable with a new red sealant, I finally discovered where the leak was hiding. Soapy water revealed its location in the rear port side. Gluing a simple circular patch over the spot would do the trick. But then something else ocurred to me, seemingly unrelated to my dinghy. I realized something like a revelation came to me about how I was viewing my long lost daughter. 

Light Dark

Nature as no streetlights. No green, red, strobe, flashing, blinking or warning.  Nature's sky however shines sunlight, skylight, starlight and moonlight. And in so doing shadows and shades our eyes and minds while sometimes distorting our perspective. Many earthlings observe a sunset or sunrise yet few truly comprehend the meaning. They can see beauty, but often miss the message. 

Let's All Be Frank

Look, I'm going to be Frank with you.  As I grew up, I discovered the joy of my Uncle Frank. One of my mother's younger brothers, Frank was the jovial and spirited member of the Bartlett clan who lit up any room with his high energy, enthusiasm and sense of fun. His humor, his laugh and big personality were infectious; often they drew friends and family to him. As a brother, he almost always elicited a smile and a chuckle from my mother I rarely saw. As an uncle, he always took interest in our lives. As a realtor, his personality and energy often sealed enough real estate deals to enjoy the fruits of his labors without letting them rule him. He worked to live.

Jumping to Conclusions

Some don't just "throw caution to the wind" and jump without good reason, right?   Interesting how some abandon ship before the ship sinks. Maybe these images might reveal how some stay fearlessly or foolishly.

Taking a leap republishing this post on Feb 29 2016 - Leap Year.

Pipe Dreams

As I live on a boat, I am reminded daily that what I see and experience isn't always what is. Light and dark frequently distort distance. Waves and wind have been known to distort our boat speed and sense of safety. Tidal and sea currents constantly impact course calculations, making passages either quicker or longer than anticipated. Charts and GPS sometimes don't coincide with the dead ahead reality and reckoning. Water color sometimes distorts depth and danger. Even recent attitudes and aggravations can affect better judgement and question experience.

Glimpsing Paradise

Well, it's not far down to paradise, at least it's not for me
And if the wind is right you can sail away and find tranquility
Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see
Believe me