Saturday, March 5, 2016

Displaced enchantment

Boot Key Harbor from the anchorage. Only about a quarter of the
boats are visible in this picture.

It is always nice when a new body of water introduces itself without offering a thrashing. The Hawk Channel has been very kind to Kintala. It was a benign sail from No Name to Rodriguez Key, where we rested easy on a pretty night. Rodriguez to Boot Key was equally as smooth, though a little wind would have been nice. The water is pretty, but not as clear as in the Islands. Out in the channel there wasn't much in the way of dolphin antics.

We have seen a couple of dolphins here in Boot Key Harbor, and a spotted ray jumped just off the starboard side then did its magical glide past the boat. This place is much bigger than expected, packed with boats, and a good place to sit out a few days of wind. Said winds should not top 25 knots, so it isn't really weather from which to hide. We are in no hurry though, there are friends to spend time with and new places to explore. But I have to admit to suffering from a case of disenchantment or, better yet, a case of displaced enchantment.

We are enjoying a life few get to know in, of all places, Florida. The state of anti-anchoring laws and Governor Rick Scott, who will surely sign the anti-cruiser law if it lands on his desk. This is the state that, with the help of Brother Jeb and Justice Antonin Scalia, gifted the world the Presidency of George Walker Bush. It is a place that officially denies climate change while its beaches and cities slowly subside into the rising sea levels. The aforementioned Governor insists that science doesn't prove that his feet are getting wet.

And yet I sail blissfully along, ignoring the maelstrom brewing on the horizon. Indeed, I am likely to become a resident here, settling in the Tampa Bay area for the better part of a year. Which, come to think of it, means I get to vote as a Floridian, putting me near the eye of a potential electoral storm.

I have been a Pennsylvanian, a Kansan, an Arizonian, a Missourian, and soon a Floridian. Now there is one of life's little ironies; that a person of my political persuasion has managed to live in some of the most conservative States in the Nation. (Pennsylvania isn't all that conservative a state but it does make a serious claim for being the most corrupt. Indeed, PA was practicing corruption long before there was an America.) Still, as familiar as I am with conservative politics and corruption, I am at a complete loss when it comes to the current political disaster unfolding before our very eyes. It has become a nightmare where every petty human failure is being held aloft and worshiped as if a good thing. The only way I know to deal with a nightmare is to shrug it off and go about my day. So I go about my day, which means wandering around in a sailboat.

I cast a careful eye on the weather, never fearing Syrian refugees. A dark and stormy fore deck requires some real toughness, not telling a frightened child to “go away, you can't live here.” (If I ever said such a thing I would be ashamed for the rest of my life.) Everyone gets touched by the magic out here. We don't make up doctrines about it and use them to justify abusing others who see the magic a bit differently. We certainly don't try to run them out of the anchorage or prevent them from coming in to avoid some nasty weather.

I never think of anyone in terms of skin tone or what consenting adult they might invite into their berth. Mother Ocean doesn't care. In open water, dolphins, whales and octopuses are the privileged ones. (Before you say “octopi”, look it up.) Marriage in the cruising community mostly solicits a shrug of indifference. Couples of all combinations sail together, married and unmarried. No one cares what else they might do together. A couple of miles off shore and there is basically no one else to care.

I don't think about walls and borders unless forced. Borders are mostly an unnecessary pain in the ass usually used as an excuse for some people to take advantage of other people. If the people from “there” speak another language, that doesn't trouble me at all. Very soon every language will be easily translated into every other language by what ever device one happens to be carrying around. (When that happens xenophobes all over the planet will likely have blood flowing out of their ears.) But I still admire people who can speak more than one language, and wish my Spanish was much better than it is. (If one needs a dose of humility, try learning another language at 60 years of age.)

"Authoritarianism" is a term that is supposed to explain why many Americans have seemingly lost their minds. It sounds to me like some kind of evil spirit, or dreaded disease. The people infected are those who think they are (or should be) the authority. The most obvious symptoms are a shriveled heart, dulled mind, and forked tongue. I believe it to be fatal to individuals and societies alike. The only cure is to ignore the infected and hope they get over themselves. Unfortunately, it is impossible to ignore all of them all of the time, (a lot of them like to wear uniforms or wave guns around). But it gets easier a few hundred feet off shore. A few miles off shore and it gets easier still. Indeed, the best part of living on a boat is I get to ignore most of them nearly all the time.

How I live isn't strange or frightening or dangerous, at least not so when compared as to what is unfolding on the land around me. So I'll stay in my state of displaced enchantment as long as I can.

Even with a panorama you couldn't capture the 360° sunset this evening.

As the sun goes down, the anchor lights begin to twinkle on.

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