“Step into my mother’s garden,’ said Amantha.
“Walk toward the gate. There’s a whole new world just outside.” she said. “But I doubt you’ll ever get there.”
Daphny, the dog in the garden.

This is blog 400. I suppose that’s a milestone. It is not a very happy one for me. I’d planned to be writing this one aboard my beloved ‘Seafire’ while anchored in a lagoon somewhere on the opposite side of the planet. The boat is gone and the dream is in shambles. But, that’s the way the pickle squirts and all you can do is keep on looking ahead while also trying to make the most of the moment at hand. You only have this moment and truly do not even have the day so squeeze all the juice you can from every opportunity.

The warm aroma of dry and crushed leaves on the path fills the air. It will be lost in the earthy wet smell of autumn.
We stop often to smell the flowers.

Two days ago Ayre and I went walking in a favourite spot. It was late in the morning and by the time we completed our two kilometre loop back at the vehicle we were hot and thirsty.

No keys! “Oh gosh” I said. (Uhuh) They had to have fallen out of my pocket somewhere along our way so back around we went the opposite way hoping I’d dropped them later than sooner.

I’d chatted with a friend on my cell phone. Could that be the spot? Back at the car again after the second loop there still no keys. “Hey” I thought, “spare key!” I thought of all the other keys I’d need to replace but one step at a time. It took a while to remember where I’d hidden it but finally I extracted the precious item and inserted it into the door look. No result. I fiddled and wiggled and finally looked at the key to discover that it was only a blank, the key had never been cut. So what bonehead hides a blank key? I began to contemplate all the possible scenarios. What was best?

This was a moment when I wished I still smoked. After quitting over thirty-five years ago the urge still arises. I sat and thunk a spell. What the hell to do? I reconstructed events since our arrival and recalled that when we had arrived I had been accosted by a lovely malamute just as I opened the car door. Had the keys fallen out my pocket then while I was still in the vehicle? Finally my wide shut eyes noticed the passenger window was open about an inch. I fished the dog leash down inside and snagged the door handle. It, of course, pulled inward. Finally using a tree limb which I scrounged up I was able to eventually push the taut leash inward enough to open the lock. That was when the car alarm went off. It worked well. My keys were hiding peacefully under the driver’s seat. Never has a mouthful of hot bottled plastic-flavoured water tasted so good.

We are just a few days away from a huge crop of ripe blackberries. all we need is a few hours of rain for their perfection.
“Bugger off,” said the fly.
So they did!

All’s well that ends. My next stop was a locksmith. While he put things right, across the street police and paramedics removed the body of another fentanyl victim. Their activity seemed placidly routine which enhanced a sense of the surreal. The day progressed like a weird bad dream. We all have them. I wonder what sort of mental energy brings these experiences on. How can we harness that force to make good stuff happen? Oddly, later that same day, Ayre began barking furiously. I could not hear nor see anything. Several minutes later a rain squall arrived. Think of all the sensitivities dogs possess which we gave up long ago. A few days later, to photograph the trailer images below, I pulled onto a tiny short road so I’d bother no-one, nor they me. In the sixty seconds I needed, three different cars arrived at the spot where I stood in the roadway which I had blocked. Really! What are the odds?

My little circus parade. Folks ask “Wotcha got in yer trailer? A horse?” I reply, “Naw, just the kids.” I’m going to paint a sign on the side that says ‘Feel free to feed the monkey.’ There’ll be a drawing of a Sasquatch.
And there’s room for more. Motorcycle and ramp, kayak, inflatable boat and 10hp outboard motor, comfy bed, generator, air compressor, chainsaw, tools, ax and shovel, tent, inflatable mattress, bbq, tarps, jacks, hand winch, extra fuel and water, spare parts and “stuff.” Oh yeah, firewood! Note that there’s a hitch for a second trailer! Just in case.  I’ve built storage lockers in the front and some solar panels will go on top. As a boy I started out with a canoe and a tarp.
A friend suggested installing “Ram” ball mounts on my mirrors so I could fit the bike under the bunk inside the trailer. Great idea! The new mounts also lift the mirrors up and out enough for me to finally see the vehicle coming from behind. It’s nice to see who is going to crush you! Working mirrors are probably the most important safety item on a motorcycle. Thanks Jimmy!

We are at the time of the August full moon. I had been visiting friends on Gabriola island and missed a ferry homeward by five minutes. The next boat eventually left two hours later. I rode my wee scooter home in the dark. I now do not like driving anywhere after dark and realized that I’d never ever ridden a motorbike in the night time. My motorcycle jacket, which had seemed so cumbersome in the summer sun was now my saving grace. It seemed chilly after the heat of the day. My shorts were a cold frivolity. I ride the back roads. My little two-wheeled flivver just does not have enough power for the open highway of madmen at any time of day, let alone at night. The dark country road was my path, complete with glowing eyes in the ditch and the sudden, mysterious shapes of deer ahead. I eased my way along, tense for what might rise before me. The notion of being smacked in the face by the entire planet hung over me heavily. I tip-toed on my tiny motorcycle.

The gibbous moon was rising. It bathed the fields and forests in its soft light, the occasional window glowed warmly along the way. Soft clouds floated above. It was beautiful and indelibly eerie. Obviously I made it home and again, all’s well that ends. Today I stopped for gas at a station in a tiny island village. Fuel was selling for eight cents a litre than anywhere else. The protocol there was to first fill up with gasoline then go inside to pay. Yeah, I know it’s illegal. There were Canadain flags flying, nor protest posters, this guy was just exercising his free will and freedom. Isn’t that refreshing? No, I won’t tell you where is, for obvious reasons. That’s sad!

Osborne Bay. Sunday afternoon, August, low tide. Three golden retrievers ran out onto the mud flats which reeked wonderfully of clams and oysters. They charged about in the muck, their feet making loud splocking and squelching sounds. Then they rolled in the mud for good measure before coming for a cuddly visit. They were happy. And, so was I. It was only mud.
The knocker! His drumming filled the forest with rhythm. I know the feeling of banging my head on a tree all day.
La Puma. “Hey Woody, pull yourself together.”

Despite beautiful warm languid days there is a sense of late summer. There were spring blossoms just a few weeks ago! Now dry yellow summer leaves are falling. And get out a big pail. The blackberry crop this year is coming on fantastically!

You never know who’s watching.
It’s just a trickle but it is normal at this time of year.
En route, on track, on time. What purpose and precision! We don’t even look up.

What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.” Bob Dylan

( So Bob…how about a handout? )

Author: Fred Bailey

Fred is a slightly-past middle age sailor / writer / photographer with plenty of eclectic hands-on skills and experiences. Some would describe him as the old hippy who doesn't know the war is over. He is certainly reluctant to grow up and readily admits to being the eternal dreamer. He has written several books including two novels, 'The Keeper' and 'Storm Ecstasy,' as well as 'The Water Rushing By', 'Sins Of The Fathers', 'The Magic Stick', as well as an extensive inventory of poetry, essays, short stories, anecdotes and photographs. His first passion is the ocean, sailboats, voyaging and all those people who are similarly drawn to the sea. He lives aboard 'Seafire' the boat he is refitting to go voyaging, exploring new horizons both inner and outer. This blog is about that voyage and the preparations for it. In spite of the odds against it, the plan is to sail away this fall and lay a course southward. If you follow this blog your interest may provide some of the energy that helps fuel the journey. Namaste Contact him at svpaxboat@gmail.com

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