sometime within the next 48 to 72 hours. Even so, it is a perfect morning to sit in the cockpit, sip hot coffee, and gaze out at the open waters of Tampa Bay laying just off her elevated stern. The stray fishing boat leaves a track on the ripples while a few cruisers (and sadly one derelict) sit quietly in the anchorage. There is just a hint of the magic brushing the shore along with the gentle splashing of the waves. After a long and (sometimes) difficult summer it is a good reminder, this is why we came this way. And yet...
|The view of the Manatee River from the cockpit on the hard.|
The magic has a different feel to it this morning. Instead of calling me away to places natural and quiet, where wisdom resides and the best of what it means to be alive and aware can be strengthened, it chastises me for running from the maelstrom lurking just over the horizon. For the plan is to have Kintala well on the way to, if not in, the Abaco Islands by January 20th . There she will remain for much of the following 100 days. By then we will have some idea of just how bad this new regime will be.
Perhaps it will turn out to be just more of the same; elitist, corrupt, and basically incompetent. That seems to be about the best we can do in America. We have been stumbling along thus for most of my adult life and have managed to hang on. There also seems to be a reasonable chance that this new regime will be such a spectacular failure that no one will have to do anything but watch as they throw themselves off a cliff.
Maybe, after the 100 days, we will return to a nation much like it was in the late 60s and early 70s; divided, torn, stumbling, but finding its way out of an interminable and useless war, and shedding the worst abuses of a powerful apartheid police state. The US of A emerged from those days bruised and scarred, but a better people and a more just nation than it had been when men, who had won medals fighting the fascism of Hitler and Mussolini, were lynched by the White Supremacists of the KKK. We also learned that no nation can be great when the air can't be breathed nor the water safely drunk; where the land is strip mined to mud and all the trees turned into lumber.
That understanding came at a brutal national cost. Many were killed and many more wounded in the one-sided battles of police v marchers or the National Guard v students. In addition to the violent government responses, terrorists weighed in. Churches were bombed and burned and civil rights workers were murdered. The government eventually, and reluctantly, bowed to the will of the protesters. The war was ended, civil rights laws were passed, a few of the terrorists were rounded up, tried, and jailed. (The police and the National Guard never were held to account.)
Personal costs were high as well. I was an anti-war and civil rights protester. My Dad had been a cadet at West Point when young, served in Korea and, well, wasn't the most inclusive man I have ever known. I left home at 19, returning only for visits that were often tense. As the years went by we learned to work our way around that history, but the mine field was always there. My Dad has been gone a little over a year now but I fear, if he were whole and hale today, we would find ourselves on opposite sides still. The battle over civil rights and ending a war set the stage for a relationship between a Father and a Son that lasted a lifetime.
So the magic comes with a bit of an edge this morning. The disciplines of the magic- wisdom, compassion, understanding, careful thought and an even more careful response - are best learned and honed in those quiet places. But where they are needed most is in the midst of the maelstrom, when power corrupts, runs wild, and threatens everything of value that lies in the path between itself and domination. Ducking and running is like spending hours mastering your part of a concerto, then not showing up for the concert.
Yet the magic is suggestive, not insistent, or vindictive. We plan to sail to the Islands for a while because that is part of the way we live now, and American politics has little to do with it. Other parts of the way we live include living light and mobile, ignoring consumerism in all of its forms, traveling, and getting to know people who are not exactly like us. It is also a lifestyle that goes easy on burning energy and extracting limited resources from the planet only to throw them into a garbage pile in a few weeks or months. It is one that a large number of my fellow Americans don't get, don't want, and don't care about. Indeed, they don't seem to care about a lot of things I think important.
And maybe this new regime is more a reflection of that than anything else.
Still, the opposition is taking shape. Protesters are already in the streets, alliances are being formed, underground and sanctuary movements are coalescing, rapid responses to the inevitable government brutality are being considered and practiced, and communications are being established to counter the propaganda war. But a middle aged white guy living on a sailboat doesn't matter that much, and there may even be some wisdom to be found in sitting this one out. It is entirely possible that the incoming regime is exactly what should be expected when an empire has run its course, when (to butcher a phrase) failure is not only an option, it is the only option. Trying to stick a cork into the Titanic might have been heroic, but the ship was already damaged beyond repair.
Taking to a lifeboat was a much wiser choice.