Monday, November 12, 2007

She'll be right back...

You always hope you can get a lot of work done while she's away.
Are you ever going to take up that damned rug and put that hardwood floor in? How about the missing shingles by that window? Why not finish those damned storm windows and put them up? Because you know that she worries about you balancing on the ladder over the holly bush under the dining room window. Worries.
I mean, she knows the stories. You've shown her the pictures of you -- at least you think you remember showing them to her -- You climbing 115 feet up the main to untangle the jam in the flag halyard in the truk. That shakily crude video of you walking out (not crawling, but walking atop the yard this time) to the yardarm. Of course the part they didn't catch was you deftly dismounting onto the horse to talk that silly ninny out of her fear. And down from the rig.
Hard honesty is rarely welcome to the tightly-closed eyes of the terrified twenty or so feet up in the rig, so you come up with a babbling slogan:
"Remain Unafraid." (Get it? You never were afraid, so you can't not be not afraid, so you just don't let that in, get it? I know, but at least you're giggling. Now, just stop digging your fingernails into my arm...)
The ninny gets to the top and down through the lubbers' hole down just fine.
Of course, you end up having to put a nice harbor furl into the starboard side of the main alone as the rain starts to fly directly into your eyes and everything -- yard, sail, gaskets, footropes, ratlines, all the hardware, all cold and wet and slippery and you laugh that at least you're not putting storm windows on some 150 year-old farmhouse on The Beach. Because once Hatteras is far behind and Savannah and Saint Augustine starboard, whether you're en route to Bermuda or Key West, you're warm and missed. Pretty much.
In BlogWorld, spending more than a paragraph on a former job brands one as a pathetic sulky nostalgiac malingering in self-indulgence. But she knows that you just haven't published yet. She never feared life aboard. She listens to your stories because she knows about life off The Beach. (Even the Captain-Admiralty Lawyer guy, only talks about Buffy with you.) Old and spliced y'are now. And there's no batch of landsmen to haul the weather sails up as you place the final secures in the rigging. (Anyway, the songs aren't salty or work-inspiring. Jangly guitars and clever but morose lyrics. Not that forebitters are meant to be anything but distractions. Like everything else comes over the damned call box.)
Because there is no rigging, just a 160 year-old farmhouse you share with her.
You think of the sisters, but mostly of the one you drove to the airport. You love the other sister, of course, and her berth in San Francisco, too. You would have loved to hop on the aircraft, gone with your greatest travel companion to the Other Coast and watch the sea from the other side of that big beautiful bridge to Sausalito. But you know the mess made when the Cape Mohican hit the other bridge. Because you were here in Buzzards Bay for that spill a couple years ago. There aren't enough booms or mats or skimmers to contain your disappointment that a bow watch or a helm ended up pouring 58,000 gallons on all those crabs, herring, and those birds, some of which are just plain magnificent. Disappointment in our society's ongoing destructive addiction to that stuff. Disappointment that we refuse to safely transport the black gold we love so much. Disappointment in a fellow cargo sailor, now that ain't right.
But enough distraction. Back to work.
She'll be back Wednesday, anyway.

1 comment:

karie said...

Thank you for this beautiful love letter!
I'll be home soon...