I have wondered at the phenomenon of folks fascinated with zombies. This fad is everywhere. I turn on a television; there is something zombie going on. Is TV the inspiration? Dunno! Some folks go so far as to deck out their automobiles (I’ve even seen an old bus done up) to look like police vehicles with large logos about being a ‘Zombie Patrol’. Honestly, I have no idea about this large interest in resurrected putrefied psychopathic masses which are really pissed off about something. While my ignorance doesn’t make the continuing fad wrong, it truly seems bizarre when we have so many other important and uplifting things to pursue.
What is the need for silly distraction? Someone, somewhere, somehow is making money out of it all. It’s way over my head. Rap music seemed a passing fad, it’s still here decades later. Just wait, the next mass gaga, zombie rap! Baggy pants on backwards, head with hat on backwards under your arm, skateboard under other arm.
Then I had an epiphany as I negotiated around two very gormless, apparently semi-brain- dead folks shuffling along the docks. They held no awareness of anyone else. “Like goddamned zombies” I muttered to myself and suddenly I got it! Zombies exist! The light is gone from so many eyes. There are swarms of breathing bodies of all ages waiting to die. As old Churchill said, “Epileptic corpses”. We go through life consuming as fast as we’ve been programmed. We burn out and die trying to run a course we can never complete because it is always designed and extended by someone or something else trying to establish control over us. To live and love at a pace where we can sanely stay in touch with our society and our planet is a speed which sees us run over by a mindless culture in constant acceleration. And so we become zombies, faceless and easily controlled. I watched a documentary on the rock star Lemmy recently. Frankly, this old fart had never heard of this other old fart, or his band ‘Motorhead’. But Lemmy, an icon of dark excesses and self-abuse, and damned proud of it, is idolized by adoring throngs around the planet. What is this evil that invades our longing souls? Zombies!
Slowly, inexorably, machines take control of our existence. People cannot seem to function without texting or without bumbook and instant information about anything no matter how trivial. Not so long ago windshield wipers, automatic transmissions, am radios, power steering and power brakes were decadent options for any car. Now many folks wouldn’t consider buying a car without an on-board computer to show them the way to the nearest mall. There are serious efforts being made toward a reliable driver-less car. “Wot the….? I thought you were driving! Where the hell are we?” I hope I can die peacefully in my sleep as a beloved old grandfather, quite unlike his five screaming passengers. In a cell phone store I recently asked for a phone that sent calls, received calls and messages only. The clerk’s stunned look required no further words. “Zombie! Where ya bin pappy?”
I’ve argued with myself that there is also a growing fascination with spirituality, metaphysics and a quest for grounding with the planet and the universe but I don’t think inner exploration is going to be the next mass fascination. Well, in any event, don’t let your karma run over your dogma. The only way to make sense of it all is to quit trying and live in the moment. It’s all we have.
Tonight I’m writing in a very calm Gulf Island anchorage called North Cove. It’s raining. Yes our summer drought has broken. The desperately needed showers will end and in a few days, when the kids should be back in class (But our BC teacher’s strike grinds on) it will be blistering hot again. For those convinced of global warming, I’ve just had an e-mail from my friends Roger and Ali, those intrepid Australian mariners who are in the Arctic at a place called Kugluktuk. They’ll soon be leaving their boat ‘Wave’ in Cambridge Bay for another long winter. The Passage is choked with ice, impassable all summer just like the old days. Hey! What if? And how come that’s not making the news?
My old pal Jim is now on the final leg of his race against himself around the South Pacific and will be back in British Columbia by mid-month. He left here less than a year ago! Other friends are touring the south of France and sending back more incredible photos. But, they’re not here enjoying this amazing morning. It’s wonderful to feel perfectly content with being where you are.
It rained all night. The air is cool and fresh and Jack is demanding to go ashore. It is bliss to sit in the morning here on a secluded beach with a coffee and watch him enjoying being a dog. It is calm, quiet and peaceful. I have no internet out here, I don’t know what’s going on in the world of men. I know there are those out there determined to start WWIII but the earth is still turning, even without my involvement. Ignorance is bliss. Zombie!
A few days later, September is whizzing by. Yesterday provided a torrential downpour. Desperately needed for our parched islands it was also a harbinger of the winter ahead.
Wasn’t it breaking spring a mere few weeks ago? Now the mornings and evenings are cool, the afternoons are comfortably hot. It is dark by 8:30 pm. The swallows are gone south. The summer gringos are gone from the docks with their fluorescent clothing, texting and din. The air is sweet again without the reek of exhaust fumes and fish being cremated on barbeques. The docks are no longer cluttered with drunks in portable chairs. The few that pass through now are serious seasoned mariners with good manners and interesting things to say. They also come in some fine boats. My beloved old friend ‘Native Girl’ is back at the dock. Her owners, Jon and Rian, are expecting the arrival of a new deckhand in the coming few weeks. Friends are almost as excited about the impending birth as the parents. I think there’s going to be a celebration. And for what better reason?
I’ll fill this post with photos of boats and local scenes. Hopefully in the next few weeks there’ll be great news of several varieties to share with all my loyal readers. Thank you for your supportive comments. Despite my cynical sentiments about our rapidly evolving world it IS fantastic to have a global audience. Wow!
The first boat photo is of a 65′ (On deck) 63 year-old ketch-rigged steel boat. The present owner is about to leave for the South Pacific via La Paz Baha. My research confirms his story about the vessel’s history. Built in Vancouver in 1951 by Manly shipyards it was the last steamer built in British Columbia. (New steam engines must have been hard to find by 1951) A retired ship’s captain had wanted to do a global circumnavigation under steam but dropped dead shortly after beginning the voyage. Returned to the shipyard, the vessel was repowered with a diesel engine, purchased by the Department Of Indian Affairs, renamed the ‘Skeena’ and assigned to Prince Rupert as home port where it lived out a good and useful working life as a supply vessel, school boat and an icon of the North Coast. In recent years she was purchased by three men who had plans to turn her into a classic luxury charter boat. The hull was rebuilt as required but then the boat was stripped of all useful fittings by vandals during winter storage in the Vancouver area.
With almost $300,000 into the project it was given up as a lost cause and sold to the next dreamer. He is now it’s current owner. His vision involved attaching a massive bolt-on sailing and grounding keel, fitting a bowsprit, ketch-rigging the old girl and getting ready to go to sea. The remaining work will be completed in Southern Latitudes.
Another noteworthy vessel is ‘Fifer Lady’. It is a Fifer, or Fifey, designed and often built in Fife, Scotland. Boats there had to be rugged and designed for heavy weather. This one was built in 1959 and imported by a doctor in Victoria a year later. After several subsequent owners it has come into the hands of the current owners who have, it would seem, committed their entire existence to the care and maintenance of this very gorgeous vessel. They are fully proud of their efforts and so they should be. I’ve thought up something I call the “Glass Box Award” for boats so pristine and perfect that they should be kept in a glass box like a museum piece. ‘Fifer Lady’ is one of those rare examples.
My boat is clearly the property of a barefoot shoemaker. After looking after other people’s boats, I have little time or resources to care properly for my own. But soon, in a palm-fringed bay, I’ll be working on some little project in the light of the rising tropical sun.
“The dream never dies, just the dreamer.” Zombie!