Connection

3/22/20 Sunday

The world is gradually locking down. Our country, our state, even our own little island in the Pacific Northwest are all coming to terms with new restrictions, uncertainty and change. Schools, restaurants, and just about anywhere people tend to congregate are closed for the forseeable future. Even the court system has ground to a halt, which will likely put a lid on my divorce drama for a while. I do the best I can for the older and more vulnerable around me, which generally means offering emotional support like being positive, but most of all just staying away. I check in with my mom to make sure she’s ok and just to talk. She worries about getting sick so she stays home and watches the news which makes her more worried. I think we are all starting to feel that withdrawal of physical connection. I do what I usually do to distract and calm myself, which is to work on problems with my hands – I head to the boat.

A small sailboat in a quiet marina is a good place to work out all kinds of things. Yesterday’s issue was rebuilding the motor mount and installing the outboard. It was a beautiful sunny spring day with almost no people, which means I was easily able to find a dock cart which would have been unimaginable on any other Saturday. This was especially helpful for transporting the outboard motor from the truck down to the boat. Somehow I got the mount put together without losing too many parts, and got the motor hung without dropping it or myself over the stern into the water. This should have been a 30 minute task but took me 2 1/2 hours, which is about usual for my boat projects. After this I thought a short break with an icy sparkling lemon water was justified so for the next two hours I faced west to watch the glorious sun slowly say goodbye for the day, then headed home.

after-the-rain.org / Taking a break

It was a nice way to cap off an interesting week. I work from home and now take care of my boy Monday through Friday. I’m thankful for the extra time together, and do my best to put work on the back burner so we can shoot nerf guns at army guys, play board games, draw, walk to the playground, play catch with a baseball. On Friday three lambs were born in the sheep pasture next door. Two survived and one didn’t. We watched the momma ewe clean her babies, watched the two lambs take their first steps, and could sense the mom’s confusion and grief as she tried to nudge the third one to move. A large eagle flew in to take a look and I figured we better go talk to the farmer. Good thing we did, she didn’t know about the lambs but had seen the eagle and was concerned. We all walked down to the sheep, where the eagle had moved in on the little guy that didn’t make it. More were flying in. We brought the two lambs and the ewe back up to the barn where they would be safe. The farmer lady told us the eagles would have taken the healthy lambs also in another ten minutes if we hadn’t been there. My son was proud to be a part of something so significant, so meaningful.

after-the-rain.org / Sheep with eagle
after-the-rain.org / Boy with lamb

I never did call the server from last week who gave me her number. There are a couple of reasons why but they’re probably more excuses than anything else. It just didn’t feel right, and as a man who is used to living by his instincts that was good enough for me. But as I sit here plowing through a bag of Hershey’s kisses and a glass of red wine, I think I know why. Although I’ll always be a hopeless sucker for beauty, what I’m looking for now more than anything is a connection, a sense of being together, in love with someone’s spirit.

The other day I met someone at the beach who was there with her own 10-year old son. Our kids played frisbee. Our words flowed back and forth like waves, but there was an invisible boundary to the conversation. I didn’t have to look at her ring finger to tell she was married. There will be many more of those near misses to come for sure, but for now I’m starting to enjoy being a part of the world again, and finding my place in it, embracing the uncertainty of change and new possibilities.

Author: Rainey

after-the-rain.org What started out as chicken scratch notes on the back pages of my boat’s logbook has now grown into a blog. These words and images help me cope with a loved one struggling with mental illness, and they help guide me through divorce, and the process of moving on. Thanks for reading along as I learn about life the hard way, do the best I can for my son in my new role as a single dad, and find weird similarities between restoring an old blue water sailboat and putting the pieces of my own life back together. Come check out my story and say hi.

2 thoughts on “Connection”

  1. Hi Rainey,

    Glad to hear you and your boy are well (not affected by the virus). Me and my family have been in isolation now for a week although the UK is not on lock down just yet, but I sense it is coming. My family in Spain have been on lock down now for over a week and although it has only been a week, it is already proving a challenge for some of my siblings to be stuck at home 24/7 and only allowed out to get basic provisions and medicines. One of my sisters is particularly struggling with the new routine as she lives in a flat in a city with no balcony. She feels trapped, like she can’t breath. I am incredibly blessed to have a house with a garden and to live in a semi rural area. I can go for walks with my dog in nature still and be reminded everyday that life does go on and that we have never been in control of any of it, not really.
    It is frustrating for me that even with isolation I cannot bring myself to write these days. I want to, desperately, but I just cannot do it. I think being a perfectionist means I only write when I know I have something worth saying or at least reflecting on. And yet, I read your words and I love your style of writing. Simply putting finger to keyboard and pouring your heart and soul out; just your truth flowing without a second thought, without self imposed pressure so spontaneous and effortless, or at least that’s how it comes across.
    Many of us are looking for a spiritual connection these days Rainey, and yes we are also all suckers for beauty, even those who won’t admit it, but the good news is that beauty means different things to different people so that gives everyone on this planet a chance to experience that soul togetherness that you speak of.
    Don’t automatically dismiss someone just because you suspect they are married. That lady on the beach may have been where you were months ago. She may be hurting, lonely, a widow. Who knows? Go with your gut, or with your spirit even. You will know when the time is right, when the person on the other side is right.
    I am not a great fan of social media but I have to admit the ability to be connected with other human beings in the current circumstances is going to be a life-saver for so many of us and a way to keep our sanity for so many others.
    Apologies for the long comment. Take care. Mercedes

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    1. Thank you for the thoughtful comment. Glad it was long because it was a pleasure to read! Nice to know you can get out for some fresh air and take a walk. Dogs have a way of reminding us of the simple pleasures in life which are so important these days.
      I wouldn’t worry about trying to be so perfect with your writing. Flaws can be what make people (and dogs) so lovable. You could always write privately then make it public when you’re ready. Personally I like to write and take photos just to work out what’s banging around inside me, and put it all together in some kind of creative way that captures the way I’m feeling at that time. It doesn’t really matter if someone reads it or not. Sorta like Navajo or Tibetan sand paintings, the point is not the product but the expression of the vision. That being said I’m glad people are sharing their stories online more and more these days. We can learn a lot from each other and it’s nice to know we’re not as isolated as we think. Plus it’s fun. I hope you keep writing.

      Liked by 1 person

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