Displaced

The best made plans… We were set to leave St. Lucia today to anchor in the outer harbor, and in the pre-dawn tomorrow begin our journey to the US Virgin Islands, where we would shelter until there was a plan for sailing back to somewhere on the East Coast of the US. Things are changing faster than I can keep up with, especially emotionally.

This morning Bob found the customs and immigration office closed. He came across a customs officer while walking and asked what we should do to check out of St. Lucia; the officer said, ‘just leave.’ Wow. Not getting officially cleared out of a country can make checking into the next country problematic, even impossible. We had considered stopping in Antigua on our way to the USVI, but that is the very place that would not look kindly on us leaving St. Lucia without checking out. These are unprecedented times, and maybe rules will be bent. It’s a long way to sail without knowing if we’d be allowed to shelter in Antigua.

Two other factors have come to light: the Bahamas is now closed, so our “Plan A” of sailing through those islands, which would afford me a chance to stop at night, is now off the the plate. Worse news is that the USVI may close tomorrow. We’ll have to wait and see. Perhaps it was a godsend that we could not check out of St. Lucia this morning. So…. we wait and see. Our weather router wasn’t too enthusiastic about the weather for the next four of five days either. The first two days would be would be fine, but after that we would have what he calls good weather for ‘salty’ sailors. He knows me well enough to know that I would be miserable. Bob called him with me in mind. So perhaps this is all working out in a way that will give me a better trip and better timing for getting back to the US. Who knows? If only we could tell the future. I feel displaced.

The marina where we are docked is closed. When we inquired about paying our bill and leaving, one of the few dock masters on duty said that they would have to send us a bill when the marina reopens–no clue when that will be. So far we still have electricity and fresh water. That is a big blessing. We cannot make our own fresh water in this harbor because the harbor water is too dirty. We could likely make our own electricity as our dock space gets full sun most of the day to fuel our solar panels.

Over the past few days I have turned my attention back to a small tapestry I intended to weave during this winter away. I got a good start in January, and then let too many ‘conditions’ drain my excitement through all of February and most of March. I don’t like the yarns I brought. Why didn’t I bring cottons? When I weave I enjoy it, but most days I talk myself out of weaving because I don’t like my constrictions. Why didn’t I bring more choices of grey? Well, because I didn’t know I’d want to weave the pillars in Nelson’s Dockyard, that’s why! I am so weary of the little voice in my head.

Here’s the sketch I made back in early January. The Pillars are a significant landmark in English Harbor. They were part of a sail loft during Lord Nelson’s command of Antigua. The two rows of pillars, about a dozen in total, supported a wooden sail loft that has not survived the centuries. While in English Harbour, a ship’s sails could be lowered into a smaller boat, such as a gig. The gig would be rowed into the channel between the two rows of pillars, and a derrick would lift the sails up into the sail loft through a large hole in the floor.

As of a couple of days ago, I am weaving again. Once I finish the little image of the pillars, I have entirely new ideas for the rest of this woven diary. It’s been a memorable winter, so now there are more ideas than I ever imagined.

Every year as my departure date for home approaches I begin planning my spring and summer activities, mostly centered around weaving. This year I signed up for a long weekend workshop in Vermont with Rebecca Mezoff. The workshop was to be on designing for tapestry. Did you catch that verb tense?–was. Yes, it’s been canceled. The tapestry class I teach at a craft school in Connecticut has been canceled. As you well know, everything is canceled indefinitely. On the bright side, I learned that Rebecca offers that design class online. I’ve thought about the pros and cons for me. The pros are all obvious, having to do with learning. The cons are these: I’d need access to the internet. I would not have that at any point when we are making passages, but I might have it in certain harbors. I have no extra loom here to do any weaving exercises that might be required. I don’t have a lot of design tools with me, such as a color wheel, colored pencils or pens, tracing paper; all these are at home. I only have one pencil and a small sketchbook. Still, this morning I felt certain there would plenty of good ideas in this course, and I felt the contact with with other weavers just might save my sanity. I signed up this morning and have done the introduction and the first module of the lessons. The community of weavers is just what I needed. I feel slightly less displaced.

Now I’m ready to get back to my own little Caribbean diary piece-in-progress. I did some UNweaving yesterday, tried something new, didn’t like it. I’m not showing the trouble I’m having with those pillars! Too embarrassing! I am also going to re-work the dark green area as well as the columns. About the only thing I’m happy with at this point, is my maker’s mark! That’s rather sad, but now I have some enthusiasm, and that is more than half the battle going in my favor. Today I will unweave the bit I reworked yesterday, along with that deplorable green shrub. (I’m cringing a bit that I’ve even let you see it, so please don’t judge! It’s got to get better on the next attempt!) Hopefully, after the unweaving I’ll make forward progress. The best forward progress I can make is in attitude. I may be displaced temporarily from home, but I have found a weaving family online.

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