Caribbean islands are dotted with old forts and sugar mills. Whether he was a free man or a slave, the mason who built these steps left behind something useful that has seen the ebb and flow of power and human endeavor. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to do the same?
A couple of months ago I posted that it was enchanting to watch the first snow fall. It is easier to feel that way if you know you won’t be shoveling in February, and just a few minutes ago, as I was waiting in line at the bank watching snow fall on television, I felt happy to be away. I’m in Antigua; my wife and I sail an old steel sailboat when we can get away so this winter we will be traveling northwest to Florida.
I’ve happened into blogging without much of a plan. It was suggested to me that this was a good idea for self promotion –and I can see it– but reading about somebody trying to write or get published seems like watching one of those news shows that tell you how they produce the news. I care about writing, but it’s only so newsworthy. I care about other things as well and so while we are under way, en route to Florida, I think I will post about some of the places we stop, what the hurricanes have done, dark skies, dolphins and sea turtles. Hopefully I’ll get a few good pictures along the way.
Today I have been rewriting the first draft of a new short story. This is probably my favorite part of writing; I feel the excitement of forming something new whereas dreaming up the first draft feels like a trip to the gym after you haven’t been in a while. Pleasant as the writing was, I had to take a break to enjoy the freshly fallen snow. The first snowfall of the season can be magical; I have had huskies in the past and they always greeted the snow by digging their noses into it and throwing it up over their backs. Then they would enjoy a good rub down in the stuff, lying on the ground and kicking forward with their hind legs. Alas, one day it will all turn to slush and I’ll be back to writing query letters, but today is all for enthusiasm.
I’m back on the Oliver Hazard Perry for another semi-annual check up on the rigging. Last night as the ship was moving out of a dock in downtown Newport she got a line wrapped up in her propeller. The overloaded engine stopped. The captain gamely tried maneuvering between the closely spaced yachts with one engine, aiming to gain sea room or bump down on the commercial ship pier in the rising wind. It was difficult trying to get the bow into the wind and the OHP bumped into two yachts before moving away from them. And then, as the skipper was succeeding at getting the ship into open water, rather perversely, the other propeller sucked up a loose section of the same line that was caught in the first prop. Handcuffed, with no power any longer, he ordered the anchors dropped and slowed the ship’s drift until the crew got mooring lines out to nearby dock pilings. In all, there was minor (yet expensive) damage to four yachts.
The incident kicked off a media frenzy and the reporting has been a bit wild. Some reports went out that there was a person overboard; a crushed boat; a deck collapse, and that the ship was aground, none of which were true. It underscores to me that we are often reading fiction even though we sometimes believe it to be fact.
In the end no one was hurt. Kudos to the captain and crew for keeping a no win situation from becoming someone’s terrible loss.
Fall continues to be superb in the northeast, with clear, warm days and rainy nights. The squirrels have just about stripped a nearby hickory tree of nuts and now have them buried. I’m told that these busy creatures have almost no memory, so finding their own caches or others’ is a matter of scent and instinct. They make me wonder which little works of my own will turn out to help me, or someone else-or even a squirrel–down the road.
The last hours of summer are possibly also the best. After wearing long clothing in both July and August it comes as a surprise to be sitting outside today with no shoes on. It could be myth, or maybe it is fact, that you can balance an egg on its pointy end at the equinox. I’ve succeeded at this twice. One of the times the egg remained that way for three hours before rolling over. I like to get a photo of the egg next to a pint of Guinness (for contrast, I assure you). Enjoy the final hours of summer, and if you can work the egg trick send me a photo. Equinox is at 4:22 PM EDT today.