Turn Out The Lights, The Party’s Over

Well, at least for me, it is. I’ll add the caveat: for now, although whether I’ll be back on my boat in a few short months or whether we’re talking about a hiatus into the foreseeable future is entirely unknown. For now, this is what I know:

  • Mexico is very earnest about its shutdown order, if not exactly aggressive in its enforcement. Citizens, residents, and visitors are to shelter in place, entering the public sphere only for essential travel, work, and health/welfare.
  • I am exceedingly fortunate to have access to a family property in rural Oregon, where I can spend the foreseeable future in relative isolation, pursuing property-improvement projects and maintaining physical and mental health walking in nature with my dog.

In the end, it’s as simple as that. The decision to haul my boat out of the water and leave it dry-docked in Mexico while Momo and I returned to the US was neither easy nor split-seconded. I waffled, and wishy-washed, and convinced myself of the wisdom of many disparate paths forward before succumbing to the simple logic of the facts above. And, as tempting as self-righteousness is–yes, I do succumb to occasional moral indignation about that contingent among remaining boaters who seem intent on loudly flouting ordinances for the sake of refusing to compromise their vacations–the truth of the matter is that I made this decision because it was the right one for me. I’d love to believe that I’d have made the same “moral” decision even if the situation awaiting me up north didn’t promise to be so easily enjoyable, but let’s be real: I almost assuredly would have found a way to rationalize prolonging the party. Even I recognize that I can be a world-class hypocrite when it suits me.

So, whatever my real motivations, I sailed back into La Paz a week ago, and hauled Shearwater out on Wednesday. After stripping my sails, my solar panels, my boom, and streamlining a whole host of other elements on the boat in preparation for that inevitable big storm, I hit the road north that very evening and drove 3,000 km over the subsequent days. I type these words from a wooden table overlooking the Umpqua river, a drizzle of rain out the window. Oh how far we’ve come in such a short time.

not an easy orbit to leave behind

So, what does the future hold? Friend, I’m as eager to know as you. I plan on doing some fence-building, possibly a deck or two as well. I’ve been inspired to build a nesting dinghy–although time will tell if I ever surpass the “inspiration” phase. Pitching my book to potential agents will no-doubt take center stage. I need to sort some kind of an income. Yes, I, too, need money. And I plan on hiking–walking, by any other name–at great length in the forests that surround me.

I don’t know if that’ll be enough to foster happiness, exactly, but it sure sounds like a good start to me and whole lot further in that direction than a blazing summer weathering hurricanes in quarantine, guiltily breaking ordinance after ordinance every time I might jump in the water to swim or would row my dog to shore to pee.

With luck, I’ll be back on the boat in Autumn, ready to sail to southern Mexico and then to…the Marquesas? Hawaii then Alaska? Oh the possibilities. With less luck, a new reality (be it personal, financial, societal) will be evident and maybe these dreams of further sailboating around will, in the true malleable quality of any great dream, be re-fashioned to meet the new day. Worse tragedies have been suffered.

just when Momo was getting the hang of burying the rail, too

For now, I’m grateful to have arrived to where I am. Perhaps I’ll leave the troubles of tomorrow until tomorrow, appreciating in this moment the surrounding splashes of color from flowers in spring bloom. Yes, my external reality has been rapidly reinvented, but I remain now as before, unbelievably lucky.

Please, do, continue to be patiently vigilant toward your own safety, physical and mental alike. After all, to hear Willie sing it, the party’s never really over, and “tomorrow starts the same old thing again.”

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