July 1st, 2016
As unusual as it may be I’m trying to spend some time like a “Normal” person. I know it, I’m slipping. It’s Canada Day weekend and I’ve gone camping. I’ve finally hooked up my little trailer and pulled it to a wonderful little campground on the far end of Lake Cowichan. I backed the trailer into the second-last spot available, (I was amazed that anything was left) and have spent a lovely weekend doing nothing. Of course, I managed to have an altercation with a fellow setting off fireworks on the beach.
Every dog in the campground, (There seemed to be be dozens,) began expressing their extreme dismay as the fusillade began and then continued. I suggested that most folks had come to this tranquil spot to escape all the hub-bub and bing-bang-boom of the downtown mobs. The young father who was launching the fireworks was holding his lovely infant son between his knees as he lit his rockets. Apparently he was unaware that fireworks regularly misfire. Replies to my objection were various intoxicated clichés by a few drunks but the din ended, the dogs relaxed and morning saw some folks thanking me for my effort. Of course, being typical Canadians, no-one else had bothered to stand up for themselves at the moment. Whatever eh!
I cringe a bit at the word “Camping” because the term, for me, conjures up images attached to a vacation-style that is now far removed from what I once considered living rough. At one time it was a wood and canvas canoe, with minimal equipment and supplies, then away to live off the land for weeks at a time. If it rained, the canoe was turned upside down for shelter with a tarp stretched over everything. I’m not sure this tubby old fart could do that now but then perhaps it would be my salvation. Wot no beer? No chips? No instant pasta mix? Fish? Again!
I’m sure that as I write there are folks up some backwater without a cell phone or even a solar-powered light. They may even be trying to start a fire by rubbing sticks together. But, it seems, many now think camping is a mortgaged RV that, at the push of a button, can transform itself into a luxury mobile condo with extra rooms that pop out as soon as the mother ship is levelled and the satellite TV dish is aligned. I yodel the same song about yachts and how the notion of self-sufficiency and the joy of simplicity have gone the way of the whalebone corset. Thank God the corset is gone but I wonder about how humans have removed themselves so far from their natural world that they have no need to satiate a basic primal sense of survival ability. Understand that I’m writing this on a laptop while sitting at a table beneath a vinyl awning attached to my home-made stealth trailer. I’ve just got up to adjust the stereo and fetch another beer from the fridge. Yeah man, roughing it! Well I did just throw some more wood on the fire. I’ve been thinking about selling the trailer to clean up some bills and get rid of “Stuff” but after folks have told me I’m not asking enough and that it is a very special little trailer I’m thinking this through very carefully. If it sells, I’ll still have bills and no trailer.
My enduring dream is to take old “Seafire” to Mexico and then come home and tow the trailer down as well. If the summer gets too hot for this gringo to live on the boat, the trailer can be towed up into the mountains to explore and absorb. There is so very much more to that wonderful country than just it’s coastline. The culture and history are deeply rich and if you try to learn the language and show a genuine interest the locals will happily share it all with you. Many may be barefoot but they are richer by far than most of us. They live a lifestyle that we only talk about. There is also the US Southwest to explore which, in itself, could be turned into a lifetime endeavour. So…selling this trailer means selling a piece of my dream.
Already almost a week has passed since the last paragraph. I’m still job-hunting but with a lot less optimism. No-one seems to want a pre-geezer sort of guy, no matter how skilled, so I’m going to have to get creative. Meanwhile, small jobs trickle in, barely enough to get by, and when the client’s boat you’re working on will soon be bound for Mexico, it’s tough not to feel a little bitter. Other friends dropped by on their boat, it was wonderful to see them and learn some details of their grand adventures in the South Pacific but it was also hard to wear a brave, happy face. More friends, who currently have their boat stored in South Africa, are visiting on Vancouver Island will be dropping by. I look forward to seeing them, and I truly admire their intrepid lifestyle. However I sure am frustrated at being stuck here in the mud. I understand the twists and turns of life and how things work out the way they do or don’t but geez Louise, just once…! Clearly hard work is not enough and even working smart is not a guarantee of achieving a dream. The only thing to do is to keep plodding on, all the while believing that one’s raw fixation on a specific goal will see you through. It is all you have and life whizzes by whether you’re having fun or not. Then, in the end when plans finally come together and everyone is telling you how “Lucky” you are; the adversities will soon be forgotten.
A friend introduced me to a wonderful magazine called ORION. It is a privately funded publication so there are no commercial sponsors. THAT’S refreshing. The writing and graphics are wonderful and it’s a great breath to read some free thinking. I am always reluctant to make a plug for anything in my blog but I’ll stand behind this one. Check it out. https://orionmagazine.org/ Yep, like everything these days it’s online. And so summer wears on. Hope you’re having a good one.
Another Monday morning dawns bright and clear and warm. The swallows and martins in the marina are twittering away happily as they zoom around enjoying a bug breakfast in the sky. I can hear their babies squeaking inside the nesting boxes along the dock. They waiting for some rehashed mosquitoes. Now think about this. Isn’t it wonderful how an entire species of wonderful birds is merely recycled insects? I’m leaving my radio turned off. I don’t want to hear any dark news and I prefer the music in the sky.
Some of my readers are also close friends (Well actually all readers are friends n’est ce pas?) They have noted an apparently obvious dark tone in my recent writing. Yes I’m going through a bad patch and I thank you wholeheartedly for your support. Never underestimate the tremendous value of a small note of caring. It really makes a huge difference. Namaste to you all. Here’s to brighter days.
Yet another friend posted the following quote on Facebook. Brené Brown is a researcher, scholar, storyteller and also a speaker on Ted Talks. Her words are worth considering.
”I think midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear:
I’m not screwing around. It’s time. All of this pretending and performing – these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt – have to go.
Your armour is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armour could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy of love and belonging, but you’re still searching and you’re more lost than ever.
Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through you. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.”
~ Brené Brown
6 thoughts on “THE IDES OF JULY”
Hang in there Fred, LOVE your trailer!!! We’re just back from a few weeks towing Kerri On on a boaterhoming trip thru Okanogan and Shuswap You’re right about the current concept of camping We park in rest area, side roads, church parking etc, park and we’re set No leveling no nothing I was you ( heresy coming) I’d hang onto that trailer and swap Seafire for a trailerable sailboat and get down there this winter!
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George, The same thoughts are rattling through my brain. Thanks for the encouragement. Fred
The trailer looks great – makes me a bit envious for some land travel – something we find hard to get to, having a boat (and needing to USE the boat to justify all its annual costs). Someday perhaps…. I love your photos of the rain forest. (also the one of the dogs). Great quote too!
Thanks Laurie, always good to hear from you.
Fred–This post reminded me of why I’m following your blog. For one thing, I enjoy your “voice”, if you will. But more important, you get me to thinking about why I do some of the things I do. I have long thought of myself as a “city girl”, but I find myself thinking more and more about why (apart from my job, a few friends and some conveniences) I’m in NYC.
Hang in there! Is there anything I can do to help?
Thank you so much for your sharing. It really helps.