|Less than one year away from actual teen|
age and we already have a blue streak.
(courtesy Bryce Cannon)
Del Viento is our tiny island. We do most of our eating, sleeping, schooling, and living aboard that 40-foot fiberglass hole in the water. It's home. And while she's a small home, we don't feel bound. Aboard Del Viento we are surrounded by paths to other places. I think this islander perception does something to a person's psyche. Not good or bad, but something.
I'm a regular guy who has spent the better part of my life living the conventional American land-based life. I'm not ignorant of nor immune to the allure of the lives we left. I'm not a Moitessier-like seafaring gypsy who can only find peace on a boat far from land. Yet, we've lived unconventionally for the past four-and-a-half years. Now, having been continental people since Christmas, I realize I've been changed by our lives aboard Del Viento.
I've experienced a range of emotions and reactions since we left Tonga and I think I can distill it all down to one word: struggle.
Here in the regular house in which we are staying, hot water flows freely from a showerhead whenever I want it to. I don't have anything like this on Del Viento. Sure, if the stars align and I have the solar shower filled and the sun shines all day and the night is cool, I can haul that bag up on a halyard and enjoy something like a hot shower. But the stars don't often align in this way. Along with not seeing good friends (like Jana Price), I've long-considered the absence of frequent hot water showers a drawback of life on my tiny island. I've said the same about having to lug jerry cans of fresh water aboard. About perpetually slow or non-existent internet. About good beer and ice cream being hard to find.
I no longer think the absence of these luxuries is a drawback.
When we first landed on the continent, the hot-water-showers-on-demand gave me tremendous pleasure. But now that feeling has almost disappeared and there is nothing to replace it.
Losing my appreciation for the shower isn't the problem. I think the problem lies in the absence of a longing that seems to enhance life and mark the days. I like that aboard Del Viento I can remember the few days that culminated in being naked on deck beneath the stars and a hot solar shower. I appreciate those showers like the hot showers I get here, but I never stop appreciating them. In the same way that even after schlepping the 5-gallon jerry cans of water aboard, the delicate and fickle systems on our boat never allow me to take for granted the availability of that water at the tap. The same way that a whisper in American Samoa that bitter ales could be had in Tonga was a catalyst for anticipation. We've grown accustomed to celebrating the basics. I don't know how to write it so it doesn't sound dramatic, but I think it ties into the idea of feeling rich with comparatively little.
In two weeks we return to our island, surrounded by an ocean that is a path to other places, perhaps a gateway to the next hot shower, good beer, faster internet, and all the rest. But definitely not all at once, and maybe none at all. I can't know what's over the horizon and if I catch myself bemoaning that fact, I'll remind myself that I prefer it that way.
|It's been nice to witness the rebirth of California wildflowers|
with the rains that have been so long overdue. The mighty
oaks are happy too. (courtesy Bryce Cannon)
|Another lesson from returning home is that you don't have|
to travel to remote parts of the world to find beauty.
(courtesy Bryce Cannon)