Tuesday, May 13, 2014

600 Yards

Tim and I have been having long discussions about quality of life this week since he's in Pittsburgh dealing with the transition of his parents from their lifelong home to some type of assisted living facility. Quality of life is the main reason that we made the transition from land-based living to the boat. Life on land had become untenable with the loss of our jobs, and continuing to work to support a system that we no longer believed in seemed less and less desirable. The system which we had worked so hard to support for the 40 years of our career had, in fact, dumped us unceremoniously on the front doorstep of homelessness and had we not already had the plan in place to move onto the boat, we could have ended up living under a bridge. Not exactly the quality of life we'd been looking for.

Quality of life has improved dramatically since we moved onto the boat, and not just because we're retired and don't have to punch a time card any longer. Probably the number one improvement is our exposure to nature on a daily basis. I believe that human beings were meant to be intimate with nature, something that we've lost in our air-conditioned, TV-based society, and intimacy with nature is something you most certainly gain back by living on a boat that adds deeply to your quality of life. The visual stimulation of the colors in the sky and sea and sunsets and reefs, the healing warmth of the sun, the subtle changes of the smells of the water and air as you travel through different areas, the breeze through the hatch at night while you drift off to sleep, the endless stars in an inky sky unmarred by city lights, the feel of soft sand through your toes, the playful interaction of dolphins off the bow as we slice through the waves, all are serious contributors to quality of life.

Sometimes, a little too serious. The past week the wind has been howling anywhere from 18-40 kts. and sustained at around 23, the high end of which we just experienced at 3:00am this morning in a squall. The waves here in the Dinner Key Mooring Facility have been upwards of 2 feet and at less than a two second period. The noise from the wind and the waves is constant and loud enough to make it difficult to Skype with grandchildren. Uncomfortable to say the least.

Last evening, as I dinghied past the breakwater island into the dock to meet friends for dinner, I was amazed at how different the picture was in the Dinner Key Marina. The wind was a tolerable light breeze and the waves were small ripples. 600 yards and it was another world.

As cruisers, we have the luxury of changing our environment when it displeases us. It may not be right this immediate moment, as I'm experiencing here with Tim gone, but with very little delay we are once again under way and moving to a place more pleasant. For those in their late years with multiple physical limitations like Tim's parents, changing environments can be a painful and challenging venture. The change is sometimes forced, not always welcome and, even more frequently, is not pleasant.  As I've been trying to live with the challenges of the weather this week I've been moved to hope they find protection from their storms of change in a safe, protected harbor. It may be much farther than 600 yards away, but I wish for them the same peace, quiet, and comfort.

Love you Mom and Pops


Latitude 43 said...

Family matters. Something we are dealing with as well. Hope your Mom and Dad get comfortable.

You think our kids will learn from both of our "American Dream" experiences?

See you guys along the way. We'll be sailing in and out of anchorages in the Chessy all summer, and then getting an early start to the migration south. Hoping to bounce right through the bahamas to the islands this fall. Keeping our fingers crossed that family matters are kept at bay and we are allowed to finally get somewhere exotic.

SV Kelly Nicole

Deb said...

@Paul - Be sure to check out the Magothy River anchorage that's all the way at the end of the river, not the horse farm anchorage. It was a really nice anchorage in a small cul-de-sac. We detailed it in this post.

Deb said...

And the map is in this post