Old Boating Blogs... click here to read or make an observation about this  article
By Bryan Lowe - Seattle, Washington - USA

While preparing my boat for the Summer ahead I came across my old boating blog entries.. and started to read of a day five years ago.


 

"Seems every time I plan to go out in boat the rest of my life wakes up.

Weather.
Nephew's birthdays.
Wife's birthday.
A hole in the deck.
Life.

It raises the question... how does one make life more of what they WANT? How do I make life more boating, and less deck repair? Tonight, it was my 12 year old son who tried to blend his finger. We bought a blender last night, so today with a babysitter at home my son decides to make a slushy of some sort. But the ice got stuck so he reached in and basically blended his finger. That was when I walked in from work, early so I could get the boat ready for our planned overnight in the local river. I spent the afternoon getting my son to the doctor and helping him through a couple of stitches.

My son has had literally hundred of stitches due to all his operations due to a genetic problem, but for those he was under anesthesia. Here there was only a local... and getting the local was the worst part.

Sigh.

A mixture of love, concern, caring, and.... oh... a touch of crankiness for yet another day of boating gone.

My daughter could see it in me. She is nine. Here I am, 44, and SHE is the one who notices my.... oh.... crankiness and tries to comfort ME. Pulled me back to what was real.

Hmm. Back to the question... how do I make my life more of what I want and less of what I must?

Perhaps the question is a different one. Life includes it all... guaranteed. Decks will need repair. Wives will have birthdays. Rain will fall. Inquisitive boys will blend their fingertips in the new blender. I guess the effort is more one of balance. How do I balance all that is my life?

But there is one more question lurking in there as well. How do you make all that is your life... a natural part of your life? Meaning... when the weather turns wet... do you really want to spend your life wishing for something different? Isn't there a way to make that part of your life an accepted part of your life? Too many days dreaming of tomorrow can lead to a bunch of empty yesterdays.

Finger blending delays boating.. but it happens.

We decided to leave for the river in the morning.
It's a slough really. Either way it was total heaven. There in the midst of this big city was a scene right out of Tom Sawyer. A slow meandering river, cat tails, heron, king fisher, willows falling like a curtain into the river.

This is one of the rivers I dreamed of when I dreamed of my boat. I have driven over it on the way to work for years. Dreamed of floating on it for just as long. And now I was on it. And the reality of it was better than the dream. The unseen portion of the river I explored..... unseen from my commuting to work vantage point.... was truly heaven.

The river was slow and narrow and a series of slow turns... with each rounding something new. Giggling girls fishing from a kayak, who when asked if they had caught anything seemed to not understand my meaning.

"Oh", they say suddenly seeming to remember they were also fishing while they talked and giggled. "No. Nothing". They are of the age where giggling talk of boys is so much more interesting than... oh...
anything. The fishing is just an excuse.

On the river my boat seems at home. It seemed as much a part of the river as anything there. I leaned forward resting my head on the curving roof ... just an occasional nudge of the rudder with my foot to keep me on course, the engine running at idle and moving me at a speed that matched the pace of this new world around me.

Around this curve there was a mobile home park, but the homes seemed luxurious in their 30 year old premanufactured way. Their modest size allowed them to nestle in closer to the river as though they were part of the riverbank itself. They seemed a part of my river dream.

An old man slept at his post... slept in his somewhat tattered La-Z-Boy as he must have done for years now. His wife nudged him excitedly at the sight of my boat passing by... she seemed to recognize my boat as being a part of the river that had been long missing. He didn't wake up.

The next corner had a dock to nowhere. Docks like that always strike some strange chord within me. They were someone's dream once too. Built to capture some of the wonder of the river, but now merely a graying ghost.... with mere shimmers of a long gone couple stealing their first kiss.... of little children and old men fishing, bamboo poles, or perhaps mere long sticks with a string, a float, and a few drowned worms. Shadows of those who always seem to come to the water... to dream... to hope... to forget. Now there are pilings, broken and splintered boards... the only life the blackberry vines that seem to be trying to pull the ghost back into the river.

The riverbank is still living though. As the river widens a beaver has made his home. Probably most of this massive dome of sticks and branches comes from the careful plantings of the occasional river front home with a tended yard.

There aren't a lot of boats on the river, just enough to remind me that this river is not my private domain. Amongst the dinghies and canoes and kayaks there are a few powerboats. Most are the latest expensive high powered plastic made today. Boats popular with those who prefer to continue the too fast pace of shore life, on the water.

But with every other bend or so you see a boat that seems more at home here. Every one of them seems weathered... a part of the imagery of the river. One is a once happy blue, virtually a pickup trucks camper shell from the early sixties perched atop twin pontoons. Again, clearly someone's dream... a dream of families playfully shouting, jumping into the water, falling asleep snug in their bunks at the end of a long beautiful day. Families grown now."

 

Time Flies.

Five years have passed since I wrote all that, written for my online diary of sorts, a blog before blogs were blogs.

My own family is almost grown now.

My daugter, though chronologically 14, looks 19, and the local boys think so, too. She finds the boat embarassing now. I don't take it too personally. She is such a wonderful girl, and I couldn't be prouder.
We find time through her school plays or through her music. They aren't distractions by any stretch, they are wonderful time together.

In my diary I wrote a great deal about my son, now 17.
Eleven operations to reduce the size of his skull, but none in at least 6 years or so. Years of fear and worry. Now it's one more year of high school, then off to some tech school to become a diesel technician, or so he thinks now. Or will it be stage lighting, something he has done in high school for some years now? It doesn't matter. Anything will be wonderful compared to those nightmare operations of a few years ago.

I return to my post of five years ago. Find a place in your life, I said, for that which gets in the way of your dreams. Meld the dreams with the other realities of life.

Girlfriends. Friends. School. For me a raise and new responisbilities at work. Dementia for my mother, still living, but in a dark world where the people and creatures in her dreams are the inhabitants she believes and trusts, no matter how dark their message.

Life.

In spite of it, we've found ways to blend our want to's with our have to's. Tomorrow my son is washing the boat, getting it ready for the annual July 4th weekend show at the Center for Wooden Boats. He'll invite his friends down, which is great, but we also have an evening planned just for family. This will be the fifth year in the show, time for the family to work together to get the boat ready, and then time to spend at the show as well.

Or maybe he'll blend his finger again.

We'll do our best to live either path to it's fullest.

Visit Bryan's Shantyboat forum at:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shantyboat/

And Bryan's website:

http://classics.nu/boat/