A Terrible Beauty

6/21/20 Sunday

We lost two good people from the sailing community recently – Brion Toss, a traditional master rigger from Port Townsend due to cancer, and Patrick Childress, a legendary blue water sailor and author due to COVID 19. I was just a follower of Childress’ popular vlog where he shared so much of his practical knowledge, but I had met Brion a few times in his little waterfront shop. I needed new lifelines, and brought him my old stainless ones so he could measure and make me up some new ones out of Dyneema. He suggested I learn how to do it myself and proceeded to show me how to brummel splice 12 strand. I was impressed by his graciousness, bought his book The Rigger’s Apprentice, and for some reason asked him to sign it before I left. His knowledge will be passed on.

after-the-rain.org / Dogfish shark

The juxtaposition between the light and dark sides of life seem intense these days. So much beauty, so much pain. New beginnings, unexpected death. The unpredictability makes me appreciate the simple things. My son graduated from 4th grade last week. For the ceremony each family stayed in their vehicles and drove through an arch of balloons, cheered on by the teachers who stood 6 feet apart along the sidewalk. I invited Day’s mom and gramma to ride along with us and my own mom. Together we decorated the truck, together we drove through the arch, and separately we drove home.

after-the-rain.org / Boy fighting fish

Today we went fishing at the marina. We talked about boats and birds, and had lunch by the sea. We broke open mussels, used them as bait to catch little perch, and used the perch as bait to catch whatever we could find patrolling the bottom of the bay, which happened to be a small shark. It was strong, rough and aggressive, but when we let it go swam away with pure grace. Afterward we played at the playground until I told him we had to leave – on Father’s Day – because I had to take him to his mom’s at a certain time for the weekly handoff.

No matter how good of a week we’ve had together, it’s rough to come back to an empty house. It’s hard to put his toys away that he was playing with just this morning. I don’t even want to fix dinner but I will, and as I eat will be conscious of both the joy and pain I’m lucky enough to experience these days.

after-the-rain.org / Father and son with shark