I’m working on Juniper from sun up to sun down. Running myself to the gritty, gritty ground. My dogs are barking. My eyelids are sunburned. I’ve got band-aids and paint everywhere. I’ve lost five pounds and half of a fingernail. And worst of all, the stitches from my surgery popped open and it took me five days to notice something was awry.
The problem is that I get really fixated on stuff, well maybe we can go ahead and call it obsession. Anyway, I obsess to the determinant of everything else…like my health.
In college, my obsession was chess – oh sorry, did you think I was cool? Not a chance! In my mid-20s, my obsessions were drumming and filmmaking and the spirits of Haiti. Now my obsession is Juniper.
It’s all Juniper all of the time. When I work, its for Juniper. When I play, it’s with Juniper.
Juniper’s got this soul and her soul bleeds into my soul and I need her to breathe so that I can breathe. Or is it all just one big escape? Am I running into something in order to run away from something? I don’t know, but I hope that what they say is true, that all roads lead to home.
I’m doing a lot right now to get Juniper breathing again. Sanding. Painting. Fixing. Replacing.
The leaks on Juniper were coming in from two places. The first leak was from the engine’s seawater intake thru-hull. It was cracked and clogged. So clogged, that it looked like a cave with stalagmites- I’m surprised the engine ran at all. And it was so cracked, that I’m surprised whatever water was coming through didn’t all drip right out. The second leak was because the rudder shaft packing was shot.
I didn’t do these repairs myself, you think I know how to change the rudder shaft packing? No. That involved removing my steering cable. I only know how to tighten that cable and apparently, I had it too tight. So, it’s a blessing that that cable didn’t pop under the tension of my crossing. If I had only been relying mostly on the helm, instead of my self-steering windvane, that cable would have been toast.
There is a lot you have to know in order to run a sailboat, and I’ll be the first to tell you that there is a lot that I don’t know. But I am learning. Slowly. One day at a time.
I am not flawless. I’ve got flaws galore. And I make flaws too. Like just the other day, I accidentally painted the transducer. It looked like a closed thru-hull. Just this black circle, but that black circle reads the depths beneath Juniper. Even cooler is the fact that the transducer has crystals inside of it. I don’t know what type of crystal mine has got, but some are made from quartz and we got quartz bubbling out of the earth in Arkansas. You can’t hardly walk around that state without stubbing your toe on a piece of it. What if my transducer had some Arkansas quartz in it?! Then I could say that me and my transducer are Arkansan. That would be bitchin!
Anyway, the transducer gets even neater. It is the heart of an echo sounding system. It pulses out sound waves and when those waves touch an object, like the bottom of the sea floor, it receives an echo back. Just like what happens when you yodel into a canyon. Then the transducer computes that echo into a readable frequency that is displayed on my depth gauge. It’s kind of like echolocating- think of what whales and dolphins and bats and shrews do.
So um, painting my transducer was a rookie mistake.
Uggh, sometimes I wish I was a piece of wood so that I could just use sandpaper to take away all of my imperfections. Wouldn’t that be amazing? Like my webbed toes, if I was made of wood, I could just sand the skin woven between those toes and call my feet perfect.
Yippedy doo da.
I’m pretty sure that sandpaper and paint and all that toxic stuff used to remove paint, have changed the shape of my fingerprints. The spiral patterns on my fingers have all gone haywire. Who wants to rob a bank?
I suppose we all do right about now.
Did you know that boats get blisters just like humans do? A boat blister has toxic fluid inside of it, sometimes that fluid is green. And if that fluid gets in your eye, you’ll go blind. Just like what happens when you drink too much moonshine.
Juniper’s been rubbing the water too hard and she’s got blisters all over her belly. The longer she bakes in the sun, the more her blisters weep their toxic juice.
Today I woke up weeping too. I don’t know if I’m losing myself or finding myself as I work on Juniper. Am I breaking? Is everything broken?
Last night I dreamt that I went to get a hug from one of my best friends, Todd. He stepped back and said, “We can’t, cause of COVID.”
I need a hug gosh darn it! Also, it’s too hard to read people’s expressions when they wear masks. Are they smiling or frowning or sticking their tongue out at me from beneath there? And what about their nose? What is it doing? Twitching? Or are their nostrils flaring?
The world right now is made of eyes. Far away eyes.
But the sun is setting, and the earth is soft, and the rain is drizzling, and I can see a rainbow behind me from end to end. These are the things that make life easier to swallow, no matter where I am.