Escape from the Doldrums

i have not written much in the last several weeks. Got into a funk. Went to a dark place.

Perhaps the dark place was a backlash to the wonderful octogenarian birthday blast that was just too good to be believed.

Perhaps it was getting lost in the weeds getting our tax records ready for our accountant.

Perhaps it was accepting my golf game is not going to get better and my “physicality” will continue to decline — oh, how i love to make fun of the talking heads that misuse that word on and on and on.

Perhaps it was realizing i will never spend enough time with my daughters, grandson, family, friends, and meet new ones.

It matters not.

Tonight, Maureen created this wonderful soup, along with her always perfect salad.

Afterwards, i walked out to our patio in the back, put out the cushions on a chair, and turned on the heater. i sat down with Mr. Dickel and resumed my voyage with Joshua Slocumb’s “Sailing Alone Around the World” describing his circumnavigation of our planet in three years in the late 1890’s. For me, it was a spiritual journey with the sea.

Slocumb is easy to read almost as if he wrote it this year, not over 120 years ago. And his accomplishment of rebuilding the Spray on his own and trusting in her for more than three years is just flat amazing. His stops in ports around the world give the reader an idea of what is was to live in this world long ago, long ago.

How i came to this book was also wonderful.

At my party, one of Maureen’s co-workers and close friend attended. Craig Augsburger also is a mariner. He crewed on several boats in the sailing races from San Diego to Hawaii. He lived on his own sailboat for quite some time and continues to upgrade and maintain the boat. After the party and reading my book, Steel Decks and Glass Ceilings, Craig asked to meet us for lunch with his wife Joan. We did. There he queried me about parts of my book my time at sea. We explored our reading of other books about sea ventures. Then, he handed me a copy of The Wager, a current best seller about a sea venture. It is next on my list of things to read.

Finally, he handed me one of his prized possessions. It was an edition of the book published in 1999 in Canada. It was thick and about the size of my hand, handy by the way to take to sea for reading pleasure.

Craig had been given the book by Charlie McInnes, including the Jack of Diamonds. He had signed his name on the back of the front cover. Craig also signed it and then loaned it to special folks he deemed enough of a mariner to read this special copy. His provisos were to sign and return the book including the one-eyed Jack. i will return the book to Craig in the near future after i become the 13th reader to sign it.

i was going to include several passages from the book here, but i will let you decide which passages are special to you. The book is now available but in a newer, larger version, i have sent copies to a couple of my favorite mariners.

i have been in the doldrums at sea, notably the South China Sea in 1979. Fortunately, i was on a steam ship, not a sailing ship. Still, the experience of dead calm in the middle of the seas is captivating.

i have been in the doldrums in my head while ashore: just couldn’t get any purchase on the lines.

But reading Craig’s treasured book of a sea venture was an escape for me. My doldrums were the darkness, and they are gone.

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