Cheered Up

While I’ve been pining for home the past few weeks, friends and acquaintances have sent me such encouragement and sympathy! How can I ever thank all of you? I promise to try to uplift you, should you ever need it, as much as you have cheered me during this time.

In spite of the fact that nothing has changed in our situation, being cast offs in strange lands, not permitted ashore in some of the islands, actually being chased away from an island by a French war ship when we had no intention of stopping there, for the moment I feel calm. A line from Van Morrison comes to mind: “People are strange when you’re a stranger.” Bob and I now often feel alone in strange lands.

But all things have an ‘upside,’ and I need to find it. The scenery is beautiful (if only the wind would stop howling!). Some of my ‘home’ friends have written to tell me they are enjoying how quiet things are now that planes are not flying overhead and cars and trucks are not constantly rumbling by their houses. One friend lives near Bradley airport outside of Hartford, and she said there are no contrails in the sky now….just clear blue skies. I woke to a stunning silence this morning. The wind had finally stopped. Pandora was no longer straining and rocking at her anchor, and the silence was so therapeutic. On Sunday I sent a text to the boat next to us at anchor: “Someone PLEASE turn off the wind!” She wrote back wishing the same!

So, in the new calm, I have gotten out my copper pipe loom. I’m working on the frustrating stone pillar from Nelson’s Dockyard, and although it’s not great, I am content with it. I will continue. Sometimes (well, many times) I have to realize that it’s not about making the perfect image, the image I have in my head; it’s about trying different ideas to convey an image and learning what I can from from the endeavor of making. I can at least admit that I learned something about depicting stone columns at 12 epi, with no good options of weft yarn!

I’m starting to make peace with not making a plan for getting home. This is a big hurdle for both of us, and I’m probably less ‘at peace’ with it than Bob is, possibly because he could live this rather hard, inconvenient life forever. I can’t wait to get back to all my modern conveniences! But in the meantime, I am lurchingly accepting my lot here.

On our last trip ashore, to one of the only American-style stores anywhere down here (it happens to be Jolly Harbou, Antigua), two wash basins had been installed at the entrance. Only in a tropical setting.

Some old phrases that I’ve heard almost all my life have cropped into my thoughts over the past few days.

If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.
Boy, that’s been my biggest problem over the past month. Whenever March 1st rolls around I start making plans about what I’ll do when I get home. I start placing online orders to greet me at my door on my return to my favorite place in the whole world–my little cottage near a river in a quaint New England town. Do I sound homesick? Well, anyway, I’ve given God a good laugh over the past few weeks. Ouch.

These are the two sayings about being seasick that I’ve heard since I first got sick as a kid.

The best cure for seasickness is sitting under an apple tree.
Oh, I’d love to try that remedy right now. I’ll take any tree; I am not particular!

Seasickness: At first you fear you might die of it, then you’re afraid you won’t.
Absolutely true!

There are so many sayings about sailing, but this one was an eye opener for me.
Living onboard is like being sentenced to a jail cell, with the added possibility of drowning.
Of course the scenery is way better, but the longer I’m onboard the more I begin to feel imprisoned. This year’s sentence will be harshly long.

This is how my thoughts are running this week. Anything repeated often enough becomes the new habit, the new normal. It’s boat life for me right now, and I have no idea when it will end. The islands all around us have closed, so we can’t leave, but we are here; we are a allowed to stay here as long as we isolate and follow the restrictions. When we run out of provisions, I have to believe these island nations will not let people starve in their harbors. Nothing is black and white; I’ve always believed this. Somehow lately, I’ve only been able to see in sharp contrasts. I need to find myself again.

I’ve been following the “Daily Respite” of a well known knitting designer, Clara Parkes for the past week. She has contributed to my lighter mood. Today’s respite from Clara is a quote from CS Lewis:
“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.”

Isn’t time strange? It passes quickly when you are engaged in something you love, but in actuality the future comes to all of us at the same rate. How many times has 10 minutes felt like an hour when I’m doing something I don’t want to do–like standing watch in the middle of the night (admittedly I don’t do this as much as I should. Poor Bob)? And how often do entire days fly by in a fleeting breath when I’m weaving? Time seems torturous right now because many of the things I love are not available. But there are still 60 minutes in an hour and 24 hours in a day. The future is coming. In about two months, at most, I will hopefully be home, doing what I love. I just have to get through this time first, while trying not to make definite plans. Ha!

Lastly, I followed a trail to a wonderful poem through a link in my inbox over the weekend. I get a monthly newsletter from a Scottish woman named Kate Davies who writes poetry and designs knitwear and publishes books. The words in this poem are so compelling. I can see in my mind a beautiful image from these words. I’d like to weave it. Someday. No definite plans.

Stones cast on the tide
of songs long before ours.
In speaking, we’ll turn them
smooth in our mouths.

Thank you, wonderful friends, for all the encouragement!

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1 Response to Cheered Up

  1. Melody Serra says:

    That poem is beautiful!

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