Lacey is a good dog. I tell her that. I say, “Lacey you are
a good dog.” She’s deaf now. Can’t hear me, didn’t listen when she could unless
I said, “Where’s the ball?” Then she heard me! She’s 14 years old now and sinks
like a stone. She doesn’t have the energy to doggie paddle any longer. She
traveled with me to Sunfest in West
Palm Beach, Florida
back in 2003. We did shows for a few days and then we sailed off to the east of
Key West and
anchored off and snorkeled for a few days. Barracuda were mighty impressed with
this furry lure. If I dove in off the stern Lacey followed. She didn’t want to
miss a thing. She’ll bury her head beneath the water to look around, at least
she did back in the day. Now, she’s just an old dog. So, we sail the San Francisco Bay together. On blustery days she gives
me a look like, “who do you think, you’re kidding. You call this fun?” Other
days when things are not too raucous out there she doesn’t mind. I used to
leash her to the stern of the Golden Gate
sloop we owned and she’d spend the entire sail mesmerized by the wake kicked up
as the sloop healed over close hauled. Waves to a Jack Russell are like smoke
rings to a cat’s imagination. She can’t hear much anymore but she still helps
me see the world, or in this case the water, through her terrier eyes…This is
dog as lesson, lessons of wonder, life as never seen before….
Bankrupt Heart The Second Novel
“Finn possesses such character. I know your friend well. I think the loon loves his boats more than he loves his women.” The man began to walk down the dock.
“You do know Finn,” Ry finished his thought. “Right about now I’d say there’s a woman trying to change his mind about that.”
“God bless the woman for trying. We should all be so lucky.” The man waved goodnight.
“What is your cat’s name?”
“Her name is Asia…I call her Catalyst, she owns this neighborhood.”
I have tried a few times now to go to the top of my mast. It is 45 feet off the deck of the boat. I needed to go up and have a closer look around. It wasn’t like I made this up. It is what a prudent sailor needs to do. The locking hex headed nuts needed to be inspected. As they say, ‘been there
done that.’ My good friend Rich Santos worked the winch from the cockpit. Getting up to the first set of spreaders was comfortable. I wasn’t frightened of the height. From there to the second set of spreaders was another fifteen feet. More or less I was now somewhere in the range of 34 feet at the spreaders with another 11 feet to get to the top. I had a piece of mystery plastic sticking out of the top side of the furler. It has to be removed. Easiest way was to use my hand. This is what I had to do up there. Now there were things I had to do, and things I wanted to do up here, but I wasn’t comfortable and so I did what I had to do and got out of there. Part of my problem was I was using a lot of unnecessary muscle power because I was concerned about taking a fall, and since it was certainly likely to end in a fatality I was literally hanging on for dear life. I was getting very tired up there. My muscles were aching and I was getting more and more fatigued by the minute. My bosun’s chair didn’t fit well and that played a role. A more robust halyard would have made my nerves a little more settled, or better yet a second halyard as a safety back up. You
read these line test strengths and they all seem incredibly reasonable until the line is being tested with your own weight. It might be that a second
halyard from the tip of the mast as a safety line in concert with a better bosun’s chair might make all this high adventure more workable. Might be I’m working at my limit and might be time to look for other work. On the other hand might be that sailing is doing what I wanted it to do all along; forcing me to work at my limit.
Bankrupt Heart The Second Novel
“Loneliness fell upon Ry like lousy weather. Finn’s dropping by helped. He’d call Sophia once a week. That helped while he talked to her and didn’t help after he hung up. Jackie kept an eye on him. He appreciated that. Mort was rock bottom. After he’d hang up that’s when the demons really ate at his solitude. Still while his fear of being alone for the rest of his life occupied his worries at least there was the boatyard, the work on the mast to keep him focused.”
Subliminal acts are regular feature length phenomenon of our minds incessant working. We are often unaware that our minds have hijacked our
thinking and that in fact what we are doing is fearing something, worrying about something, planning something, solving something all the while we are doing an altogether different task with our mind. We often describe worrying, or being frightened in negative terms, but more to the point is that it isn’t so much negative as not productive to be in the grip of worry or fear in a mindless way. Then these things kind of take the steering wheel of our lives and drive us off in all sorts of unexamined directions all the while we remain almost oblivious to what it is that is pushing us. The structural limits of the way our mind is organized makes for some stunning insights into the nature of our talents to focus and sustain that focus and remain aware of what we are doing. These lapses in our focus allow all kinds of mischief to occur right under our very nose. The best example of gripping change happens while I am sailing. These increasing fears are related to the increase in the velocity of the wind. I am focusing on adjusting to the higher velocities, doing what is needed to bring the boat under control, but even once the boat is adjusted for the higher velocities the wind loads on the boat are transmitted to the sailor by way of the wind roar, the tilt of the boat, the pressure you feel against
the sails, and the higher skill levels required of the sailor to cope with further adjustments should they be required. Just about the time you have that all sorted out in your planning process you realize that underneath all of that is the fact that it you are a bit tense, a little more alert, concerned, and possibly just flat out feeling some degree of fear. I don’t mind higher wind velocities, but I do mind not being aware that whatever I am feeling sometimes has to wait while I bring the boat back under control, so that I can bring my fears back under control.
Bankrupt Heart The Second Novel
Finn looked at his friend. He was back on his feet. “You’ve done well with Jasmine. She’s looking like someone owns her, cares for her…”
“A raucous spirited boat.” Ry said. “If I could find a woman to go with her I’d be known as the man who had everything.”
Fear of change comes into view when it requires hoisting up a mast of a sailboat to change a light bulb. The mast on this Jeanneau sloop measures 45 feet from the deck. One person goes up the mast to do the work while a second is depended upon to winch the worker both up and then back down safely. Fear and trust are not intellectual when doing this work. Fear doesn’t seem to be located in the mind although it does seem to clutter it. It seems out of the mind and in the body where it advertises its presence…slight shaking, sweaty palm, rhythm of breath. When looking aloft from the first spreader to the next spreader and then from there up to the top of the mast I get the opportunity to stare right into the jaws of my instincts. Then, as if a symphony is playing my mind becomes orchestral…heart is timpani…hello gut it says, are you sure you want to do this? Yes, I am sure. I don’t want to do this. People who tell me they are bored, that nothing ever happens to them. Have I got a cure for you….