Sunday, November 16, 2014

One up on the cosmos ...

S/V Kelly Nicole

Friends Paul and Deb were last seen in St. Augustine nearly a year ago, before they made their escape to join the clan of cruising. Yesterday they strolled into the anchorage and dropped a hook a few boat lengths away from Kintala. It is impossible to describe how good it is to have that kind of semi-chance meeting happen “out here”. It may be, in fact it is, my personal favorite thing about this life. (I call it semi-chance because we have been keeping track of each other on various social media. They shared our pain of The Bear. We know well their cold weather and ICW travails as they led the pack southward.) We will spend a day together here at the Stadium, maybe two, then wander off to where ever. I think they are musing a marathon to Marathon while we are just a couple of weeks away from putting Kintala on a mooring to get some work done ( never ends) and then head out for some family time.

This morning a good looking Cat left the anchorage. As it passed the crew shouted across that they loved the blog, and loved Deb's new book. If there is a better way to start a day than hearing that you have added just a tiny bit to another cruiser's life, I don't know what it would be. (Deb's book, by the way, will add just as much to a land life, though I sometimes think the blog mostly makes them slightly jealous.) This is a small community of roaming gypsies, but it is a community none the less. In a lot of ways it looks to function better than just about any other around. As a group it is the embodiment of people being responsible for themselves, living a life of personal choice and liberty while, at the same time, being ready to offer a hand, help, advice, parts, and tools when needed. There is no "if": eventually one or all will be needed by one's self or someone near by.

Whenever the clan gathers at places near or far smiles come easily, stories of triumph and woe are shared and instantly understood, and hints of good places to explore get passed along. Maybe its because most spend a lot of time on their own that the time together works so well. Whatever the reasons, the tribe functions at least as well as others, and maybe a bit better than most.

It is a hard life “out here”. Risks are real and the work never-ending. But it is likely those very things are at the heart of why this life can be such a good one. They are also why things can go bad in a heartbeat, meaning that living this way includes a built in “humbleness factor”. Any that get too uppity, too self-absorbed, too confident, will likely find Mother Ocean dumping an industrial sized can of whup-ass into the sea that surrounds them. I'd like to think I get smacked around mostly because I don't always know exactly what I'm doing. But it could be, after a lifetime of being a pilot, that I have some ego to spare. There are a lot of pilots out here, so maybe I should take a pole. A thing I have noticed among the clan, egos are def-fanged as quickly and easily as religion and politics. Anyone can have as much of any as they like, but no one is inclined to pay much attention. Political and religious differences are tolerated with barely a hint of rancor. Personalities that would rate "out of bounds" on land, are celebrated in this tribe. "Plain vanilla" is not the flavor of choice. Being mobile it is a group constantly being mixed and re-mixed

Each day dawns with no guarantees. It might be the first good day in a long string of excellent. It might be a day where things get a bit more interesting than expected. It might be the day of reckoning, the final chapter to a story. That is the deal signed when the dock lines get tossed, and there is no getting around it. One thing is true though ...

After months of relentless struggling, on this day, Kintala is a happy boat. And that puts her one up on most of the rest of the cosmos.

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