Monday, October 01, 2012

I MISS THE WATER

Smitty and I used to go sailing on Stockton Lake with Don, the Happy Hawaiian. We haven't done it in a couple years, and I miss it; the experience of harnessing the wind and using it to your advantage is a tremendous lift, unlike anything I've known.

(The three of us also joined Mayor Dan for an escapade on the Boundary Waters in Minnesota, a trip I'd highly recommend to anyone who wants to get the hell away from every distraction. After a week on a houseboat, serving as designated cook, I was more relaxed than I'd ever been.)

Funny how a guy who doesn't swim enjoys the water so much. Smitty and I have floated the Current River, and I especially enjoyed a solitary stay at a bed-and-breakfast on the Jacks Fork River in Eminence. There is something about moving water that moves me, compels me to see past my own bellybutton. Growing up in Los Angeles (yes, I've been), the best days were spent on Cabrillo Beach. The ocean is indeed eternal and shows me how insignificant I am, and how many mysteries still exist.

I write all this because on this Monday evening, I feel oddly at peace with life. There are still so many perplexing turns left in the road ahead of me — I still stagger about from time to time as the monomyth continues — and in the pit of my soul I have a sinking feeling, one of impending loss. I sense there will be nothing I can do to avoid this heartbreak. There is some peace in that fatalism. It will not be what I want — God, it will be the last thing I wish for in life — but what's a boy to do, except accept the blow to the body and psyche and muddle through somehow.

Muddle through somehow. That's how Judy Garland sang the line in "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," but she also promised that next year all our troubles would be out of sight. This is October, my personal start to the holiday season. This month, the three women who've had the most impact on my life celebrate their birthdays. Then comes Halloween and the carving of the pumpkins. Thanksgiving arrives next (my boss has scheduled me to work that day; I think it's for the best), and then it's Christmas.

The period of the next three months is one enormous explosion of clashing emotions — happiness for those around me, crushing sadness at my center for all I have known and lost. I don't know how I'm going to live through them. I don't know what to do with these feelings. I dare not speak them aloud — I've promised to be light, and I'll hew to that promise, no matter what — so I'll put on the rondavis mask and be Mr. Personable. My troubles won't be out of my mind, but they'll be out of sight, and I suspect that's all people want now: for me to act like nothing is bothering me. It's easier to put everything out of your mind if you don't have to see it.

Inside I'll be thinking of sailing, of being on the water, of letting the sound of the running water erase the agonies from my mind. It'll all be alright. It'll all be fine, just fine.

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