Tonight I write by candlelight, on a pad of paper with a child’s #2 pencil. The power is out for the first time this fall, as a strong southerly blows this part of the island to smithereens. Later I’ll hook up a small inverter to a battery, and plug in the router which should give me just enough internet juice to get this post out. It’s a wonderful evening, the perfect time to reflect on the changes of the seasons and how life has become since summer.
I live in a small country house now full time. It has heat, running water, even a washer/dryer. The property backs up to an old homestead where they raise sheep. My neighbors are kind. Sometimes my fishing buddy comes over, and we head out and try for salmon. Sometimes we get lucky, sometimes we don’t, but it’s always fun to be out on the water. We talk and give each other a hard time about who is catching the most fish and why. Every morning I drink coffee, and usually manage to carve out some time to enjoy it out on the back deck with the lovely cat. We watch birds and butterflies, and sometimes see deer and rabbits.
Things are going really well with my new Swedish friend. She lives kind of far, but we try to see each other when we can. We take turns driving to the other’s house, where we talk, laugh, and do our best to destroy each other’s bedrooms. We have fun together. She doesn’t know anything about what happened over the last few years. She doesn’t understand why her kind words and soft touches are so meaningful to me. Maybe sometimes she wonders, but for now I’ll enjoy a more simple, quiet time, taking a break from the drama.
A good cup of coffee, talking with a friend, and waking up with a beautiful woman once in a while might not sound like the most exciting life to some, but it is for me. It’s a simple man’s life, and right now it’s my best life. It’s ok if others don’t get that. They may not understand, but they don’t know. They just don’t know.
She’s single, smart, successful, and Swedish. She’s taller than I am. I found out all of this because she said yes to my first date proposal. We met on a late summer afternoon at (where else) the marina. Instead of coffee or dinner or a movie or any other standard date activity, I asked her if she would like to go for a little rowboat ride at one of the most meaningful places I’ve ever known. I was excited that she said yes, I was excited to meet her, and we were both all smiles as we walked toward each other to meet for the first time, at a place where the land meets the sea.
We chit chat as I rowed, getting to know a little about each other. We looked at boats, seals, and herons, and said hi to people as we made our way between the docks. With each methodical pull of my arms, the oarlocks creaked, and saltwater slipped beneath a wooden boat I built with my own two hands. As she spoke, she leaned forward, and I found myself getting distracted as the tips of her blonde hair brushed over her forearms, tickling the tiny turquoise beads of her bracelet.
After a while I tied up the boat. We talked some more, and ate chocolate chip cookies I had made the night before. Autumn is well on its way, and as the sun began to set we pulled each other close to keep warm. We leaned in, my fingers began to play with that same blonde hair, and the day faded away to sweet, salty kisses.
I’ve met someone to spend time with, without expectation, without judgment. Each moment is new, each conversation is an exploration, each touch an unspoken dialogue. Without the past I would never be where I am today. Each moment is appreciated, and I am thankful. I have let go of the past, and perhaps more importantly I have let go of the future. Only now am I truly free.
The sun is hot but my skin won’t burn. The northerly breeze is cool but I don’t need a shirt. I walk across driftwood for hours and smile at my bare feet, I can’t remember where my shoes are, or the last time I wore any. It’s the end of summer, and this is the way a body is meant to be.
Tides and wind, rock and sand, terns dive in the distance for baitfish. They guide me to the salmon, which I fish for, because I am hungry. So I don’t starve, I go into town and get salads to go, and so my cat doesn’t starve, I go home to feed her. Holding her in my arms, she purrs for an hour until she falls asleep.
This is a life where the mind is quiet, where there is no dividing line between inside my head and the natural world around me. There’s no such thing as time, only cycles. Only vibrations. The sun is my companion for 14 hours a day, the nights last forever. Then, as things tend to happen – there is a change. I’m going home.
Following through with my commitments, I did end up starting a company with the motto “seeking a return on happiness through serving others”. My old boss left me a message, he wants to extend my previous contract. To help him I say yes. My son starts school soon, I need to be there to support him. My best friend is sick and tired of seeing pictures of me catching fish so he wants me to take him out. Probably most exciting is I have an actual date lined up with a real life American woman next week.
And so I say goodbye to this phase of life, and say hello to another. Goodbye summer, love you.
She had a name actually, I just didn’t tell anyone.
There’s a restaurant that sits up on a hill in Big Sur, California, that has a large patio with an expansive view of the sea. The afternoon sun scatters sparkly diamonds of golden light across endless waves of the bluest blue. Back in the day the prices of the food were too expensive for me to afford, so when I was a teenager my girlfriend and I used to sneak sandwiches and drinks out on to that big patio and gaze for hours out to the curved horizon. The name of the restaurant is the Spanish word for window, a portal through which the world seems a brighter, calmer, more peaceful place to be.
Just got my hair cut. I was her last customer of the day. Usually I close my eyes and zone out, but this time was different. I quietly looked into the mirror, transfixed by her big brown doey eyes and round shaven head. Neither of us spoke which is unusual at a barber shop. She was a fair bit younger than me, which would normally be a turn off, but when she rested her soft hands on the back of my neck afterward, I was hooked. Some people just have the touch, and it goes to show a connection can happen anywhere, anytime.
There’s some kind of change coming but I can’t figure out what it is. At first I thought it was my living situation, I got preapproved for a loan to start looking for a house, but I don’t think that’s it. Then I thought it was the stock market. I really enjoy investing, and just recently totally restructured all my positions, but I don’t think that’s it either. It’s fun to think about, but I’ve learned not to think too hard. I’ll just do what tends to work out for me which is is thinking for fun but acting on instinct.
The boat hasn’t sold which is interesting. At first there were a lot of emails and calls, but they gradually drifted off and I stopped replying to the weird questions people tend to ask. I check on her as often as possible, she sits there patiently. Patiently waiting? It really seems that way. At night before I go to sleep I often think about weird things like overhauling the standing rigging, where to store provisions for a long voyage, a new tri-color masthead light, a solid VHF with AIS, new cruising main, deck lighting, Hydrovane. I draw out a plan in my head for a hard dodger, built to fit a rigid solar panel. She’s a pretty boat, clean and simple, equipped for day sailing, local overnights and light Salish Sea exploration. However I’m beginning to wonder if it might be my destiny to bring her back to her full potential, equipped to handle big water. I hope not as it that would break me financially, taking everything I have. Maybe that’s why I really want to sell the boat, because I know better. But who am I to deny a connection if it’s meant to be? It’s fun to think, it feels good to be active, and it’s exciting to have an open-ended life again. It was a good day today.
I found these agates on the beach. When held up to the sun, they radiate a warm beautiful light. Each one is unique. The clarity is never the same, as some are almost flawless, while others have scars and impurities. The colors vary but are soft and warm without fail. Each one is different in size, no two ever have the same shape.
What I find most intriguing is the tendency to pick one up, put it in my pocket, take it home, display it, show it to others. But the truth is that once this is done, the magic disappears along the way. The true beauty is not in the appearance, but in the experience of the moment – the search, the time, the discovery, the appreciation, the holding tight, the setting free. Taste, texture, smell, anticipation, experience, memory.
If you’re a guy and know what I’m talking about here then that’s cool – you get it. If you’re a woman and know what I’m talking about here then well, I wish I could date you.