Hello, I'm Henry.  

Welcome aboard my blog's home. 

If you come along with me, you'll become acquainted with my motley mates and faithful crew:

Experiences, Sightings, Observations, Impressions, Ideas, Reflections, Remembrances, Insights and Commentary.

They, after all, have accompanied me for as long as I can recall. Their tenure has helped me turn my tiller, fill my sails, and transport me over seas to distant lands. Maybe if you take the time to get to know them, a few will do the same for you.

Click this way and scroll along if you please...Enjoy your stay.   

Spending Daylight Savings

Spending Daylight Savings

Going Off Watch

How We Watch Time is Our Watch

As I sailed alone through the Bahamas during the 2016 summer, I did not use or relate to any modern timepiece. As I lost track of time, my relationship with time changed. I became more relaxed as if I had entered a peaceful altered reality.  My 51-day solo sail became a timeless gift because my experience was void of most man-made time references. I did not need time to measure my voyage. I became so caught up in enjoying the tranquility, the beauty...ah, the moments, I simply lost track of time.  Time proved it did not matter.  Measuring it became increasingly meaningless and unimportant.  Of course, I spent my time, but time did not stop for me or limit it me in anyway. I did not have to be anywhere else or abide by some schedule or prescribed calendar.

We all know time always passes no matter what our perception is, but I realized some more profound thoughts about it that I had never considered.

My watch whisperings were my passage and pursuits. 

They weren't ticks, tocks, beats or numbers on a clock.  I did not live by a watch system; I wore my watch internally. As my watch moved me and time became more internal, each day I somehow felt younger and more enthusiastic. I know it may sound idealistic, but it was almost as if each of nature's days became my re-birthdays. My time became purely my time. Nothing and no one was calling for my services or making any demands. I became free of all constraints.  Maybe it's a reach to say, I became my own watch captain.  Without adhering to minutes, hours, days or even weeks, I began to witness life relative to me and my surroundings rather than to a timepiece.  More accurately, it was actually my unawareness of time that became my new watch. My new time piece became my time with peace. My nature met Mother Nature and we bonded!

No matter who he or she is...or whether he or she is perched and peering out onto some pastoral pacific or churning chaos, a sailor's nature always fills his watchful eyes.

High sea-ing views across endless, unsteady blues steadies nerves and strengthens eyes." 

As any sailor knows, sea scans can become monotonous viewing.  They know winds and waves sway come their way. They know that motions rock him to sleep or drive their hulls onto the rocks. They know the motions moved them. They know the blue view becomes them.

From the helm, bowsprit or spar, a sailor looks afar.  His onlooking reads incoming long-distant and local messaging. The wind signs and songs are clear.  The waves and weather reach his core. Whenever he sees, he seeks the visible, but it is the unknown that challenges his mettle. No matter how much any watch is watching, most of this time witnesses a constantly changing nature.  While change may be constantly familiar, it challenges the senses.  Only vigilant eyesight notices the the varying views. Not all see the same view. Some feel their fears while others become casualties of passing emotions. On watch may feel routine from repetition, but a watch is how most of us experience life. In parceled time fragments, activities make our time pass faster. But when I slowed down my actions, time became more relevant to my being than my doing. When I watched what floated into my view, I woke up rather than fell asleep to the monotony of motions and moments.  I consciously shook off horizontal hypnotism; I refused to become blue-viewed, wave-blind or mind-miraged. I raised my sights and scoped my views with what was different from what he sea said to me. Not only watching for differences, but appreciating them enlivened my time. In fact, it often made it timeless.  

Time to watch our steps.

If I wore a watch on my handy wrist, it would tell me time. It would speak to me in numbers. It would show me when to ascend or descend a time period - such as a deck watch's start or a stop. No matter what type of watch no watch is capable of capturing moments. It is up to an individual to catch them. Moments may be seconds, minutes or hours, days, weeks, months, but they amount to next to nothing if they are just passed by without much notice or impact. Meaningful moments come when something significant happens. It is easy to discern the difference. When time either stands still, disappears, or passes so quickly, hours feel like minutes; these moments become timeless. But it was the present moments that were most precious.

When I felt the most joy and pleasure on my solo, I became oblivious to what time it was or once was. Of course, each day passed from light to dark and back to light. But as my basic human urges (hunger, sleep and waste elimination) that had once related to associations with the past, I consciously unplugged, disconnected, discharged as many previous connections I had to numerical time. My no longer needing a clock seemed inconceivable at first. However as my time became more being and less doing my awareness of time diminished. Time soon did not matter. I kept busy with my solitude and filled my experiences with watchfulness rather than completing a chore or task. Yes, I got tasks completed. , but not with the urgency impacted was perceptual, attitudinal, psychological and spiritual., but I felt like it arrived as an altered state of being. This may sound contradictory, but most of my time, I wasn't aware of time. Time became timeless. That feeling most alert people recognize - when time passes so quickly, it is difficult to comprehend. Moments of bliss!

Mystique motoring towards a squall in the Exumas - Summer 2016

In 1968 I remember a college professor stating his educational goal for students in his sociology class was to twist teach of their heads 360 degrees. He stood up in front of the class and demonstrated how difficult this would be. He said for us to truly learn and understand we would have to stretch our necks, twist our viewpoints and see in many directions all at once. He proclaimed we have not begun to understand life until we can view it from at least 360 different perspectives. For us undergraduates between 18-22 years of age, the image of twisting / breaking our necks seemed too surreal until reality slapped youth out of their idealism. The draft for fighting in Vietnam descended upon the American youth and culture. Then toxic civil rights issues and dying for an unjust war became too much for too many to wrap their heads around. Then more and more anti-war demonstrations, protests, marches, civic unrest, riots, Kent State students shot by the National Guard soon turned our society on its head. What an individual and national wake-up call! That was a time that moved me.

This journey transcended time.

When I was 34 years old and a new father, one of my graduate school professors explained in an English class entitled Western Tradition, Eastern Thought that his ultimate goal as an educator was to experience life differently each and every day. He described learning as an unending series of mental explosions. He described the ultimate education was a series of mind-blowing epiphanies, ah-ha moments and new, refreshing awarenesses. He teased our class and individual curiosity by painting a sleepy image of us not really awake, and then he challenged us to wake our bedfellows - our awareness and intelligence He encouraged and challenged all of us teachers to experience more deeply and intentionally by opening our perceptions and perspectives. He wanted us to pass tyat message to our students as well. He said for us to actually actualize fully, we would not only need to open our thoughts, but witness how we frame our them. He challenged us to delve deeper into the human condition. To wake-up our individual and collective consciousnesses, he said, we would have to know ourselves better and become more familiar with our individual minds, intuitions and interactions. To be more productive members of society, we had to "shake and bake" ourselves. After all, he reminded us, it does no good for an individual to possess only good intentions; one must articulate one's beliefs and contribute to a more enlightened society. He said all people need to "walk their talk" and take an active role. Then he assigned us Eugene O'Neill's Long Days Journey into Night, then analyze his play from a Zen perspective, and then write a paper explaining your interpretation from that viewpoint. I remember relishing this assignment like no other academic exercise. My struggle at age 34 to understand more deeply was hatched in that course and class. That was another time that moved me.

If mindfulness is the absence of mindlessness, then I realize I have been absent for much of my life. I have, of course, been on Earth physically for more than 66 years, but that existence is more body than spirit. Born into a Quaker family, I learned by observation and osmosis what peacefulness and pacifism were all about. I had no formal training in appreciating or understanding love or life. There was no LIFE 101 class to attend. There was no guru waiting in the wings. No guide, mentor, or even older brother to help blaze a trail. Life was so simple back then. Growth often came from the school of Hard Knocks. If lessons resonated, life would become richer and I would be too. Then I discovered if I had not learned a life lesson, life would annoyingly continue to send me opportunities until I learned the lesson. The message was clear: you are on your own, experience your own growing pains. Then I chose, to, face obstacles as opportunities. That changed my view.

Mystique anchored near Sand Dollar Beach, a place where and when time stood still.

Sunrises frequently felt timeless. This one, facing Stocking Island near George Town in the Exumas.

Mystique's mast fits under most intracoastal bridges, but at 62' 8" tall not all.  Just glad I don't need to climb her to set myself for higher sights towards other more distant horizons.

This horizon felt like a mirage, a map and a mirror of my state of mind. A setting sun near Conception Cay, a squall showering to the west below a huge thunderhead.

This photo seemed more reflective of my timeless tranquility. Sometime around midday Mystique faced eastward anchored in Flamingo Bay, Rum Cay, Bahamas (summer 2016)

Timelessness or "island time" feels like it is part sensation, part perception, part joyful exuberance and completely personal. I think it is almost like a childish unawareness. Buddhists call it a "beginner's mind" and often appears for me when clocks or watches are unnecessary. During my sail, I no longer associated a meal with a time. I no longer age dinner for example because it was dinner time. I ate when I was hungry.  Once I felt hunger pangs, I usually waited a while so I did not eat out of impulse. I ate out of body time and need.

Another example was when I felt tired. I never waited for a bedtime. I waited until my body told me to rest. And sometimes I napped in the afternoon. Sometimes I ate lunch in the mid-afternoon and dinner much later than normal. I eschewed routine and regularity and listened to my nature and the world's Nature so I would stay more in flow with the pulse and rhythms of life.

Time can be determined by judging distance.

Sunrise near the Turks' Great Sandy Cay (Xmas 2014)

Dialing a sundial to find one's time is another human tool 

My solo was resplendent with wonder, warm winds, emerald waters, sandy beaches and marine life.  And while my sailing energized me, my daily nautical encounters were but a fraction of my 51-day sojourn. What was most indelible were the moments that arose from invisible, intangible, inaudible and inedible sources and forces.

During my solo days time did not really play much of a role. Though a sunrise, sun ray, a sunset, a rainbow, a flock of birds, a rain shower or a school of fish were all part of the ephemeral seascape, they played important bit roles in the daily spectacle. Actually, it was their occasional appearance or infrequency that gave them timeless qualities. When they eventually reappeared or surfaced, I felt they had never gone.  It was their timing or cueing that helped enlighten those moments. But it was not marine life's physical energetic show from weather conditions that especially contributed to my timelessness. It was, after everything, a sensation I experienced similar to that feeling one experiences when he or she immersed in a passion. Feeling this ecstatic release as if I were living at home, at peace, in bliss and in the present time, made time fly by.

No one wants timelessness to end. Though the sensation did conclude, I did not want it to. I could have stayed much longer. Though I wasn't held captive, I was totally captivated by my adventure. It never felt like an endurance test so I wasn't exhausted when I headed back to the states. My time alone with Mystique never tried my patience, it tried my passion. I only returned to the states became I wanted to attend a memorial service for my step-father-in-law who was like a father to me. Otherwise, I might never have left Nature's tranquility and serenity. It was so sweet a treat that time still stands still months later when I think about it. It was a timeless time that calmed my soul and healed my spirit.

Mystique facing another glorious sunrise near George Town, Great Exuma - Summer 2016 I would be short-changing readers if I did not include what I read. My mind not only sailed by many cloud and island formations, my mind transcended them.  I had not realized that at first most of the books I brought with me on Mystique for this solo also contributed to my timelessness.  How was I to know Joshua Slocum's solo sail around the world connected with Alan Lightman's Einstein's Dreams or the aspirations of the Washington State University rowers (Boys in the Boat) who won an Olympic gold in 1936. Then there was David Mitchell's amazing Cloud Atlas about how lives interconnect over centuries or Ben Elton's time traveler thriller.

Whether novel or nonfiction, they all explored and expanded the common thread of TIME and CONNECTION. They all gave me more  timeless experiences. They all transported my imagination to other worlds and ways of seeing life.  I had not been aware of their collective impact on me until after I had read all of them. Their connections were not readily apparent until I started to think about why I brought them along on my solo. They all appeared so randomly and differently when I purchased them, but then I realized they may have picked me. They were in many ways my part-time crew members. They kept me in good company.

Joseph Campbell's conversation with Bill Moyers in Power of Myth connected to my experience with Michael Singer's living surrender and Nicholas Epley's living thought. All these men sailed with my thoughts and solo experiences....and still do. While I only read male authors, gender wasn't the mind bender for me. Though I may have experienced perspectives from male energies,  I also experienced Mother Nature's feminine energies. They both enveloped and enraptured me daily.  And my time with them sent me daily reminders how fortunate I was to experience my relationship with my life.

When I experienced nature, I discovered bliss was not ignorance; it was observation.  Whenever I write about my relationship with nature, the bliss returns and rewinds like a playful porpoise. My pleasure was often watching my state of being as I passed by life. Here a porpoise plays with a mate.

Alan Watts - British philosopher and writer

The sun and moon no longer blind me to their allure.

I wrote most of this blog post on Sunday, November 6th - the end of Daylight Saving Time, at least for this calendar year.  It is also a day when much of the "civilized" world "turns back time".  It is one of two days a year when humans adjust their timepieces one hour to fit some nebulous needs.  But do we actually save time or anything when we turn back time? Do our biological clocks reset us? Or is this day when humans control the light, dark and time? Too bad we can't live with a timeless clock.

As I wrote this two days before Americans elect their next President, I wondered who will be competent enough to skipper the US forward for at least four years. And now as the results are known, I'm not so sure we elected a leader who can tell time, steer us on a timely, timeless course. I can only imagine he will some time in the future announce he will build a wall around time to keep it from migrating into US waters. 

Will we be basking in the sun or brewing in the shadows of darkness? I prefer to embrace the former and find the silver lining in the moment. Maybe we will somehow accept what is rather than fight what isn't. Maybe we will find ways to connect rather than ways to divide. Hope springs eternal.

Myths about Daylight Saving Time

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 13.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 13.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Helvetica; min-height: 16.0px} li.li3 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Helvetica} ul.ul1 {list-style-type: disc}

Beach Strolling Soles

Beach Strolling Soles

Sailing Log

Sailing Log