From Sun Up To Sun Down

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.  

Drip. Drop.

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.

18 Replies to “From Sun Up To Sun Down”

  1. Here’s a great big ((Olivia)) bear hug for ya, collectable anytime you find yourself in High Level, Alberta. Unfortunately, if you want me to hug Juniper, she’ll have to be on wheels.

  2. I am from Arkansas. I used to work at CARTI with your mom. She is an incredible lady. I get so much enjoyment out of reading your articles and imagining myself riding the waves like you do!!

    1. Hi Doreen! Thanks for reading along. I agree, my mom is pretty cool 🙂 So glad y’all worked together. I always heard about life at CARTI! x

  3. I’m sending you a BIG HUG right now! I hope you feel it 🙂
    I’m sad we missed seeing each other before you left, but I know our paths will cross again. Enjoy the sun, the sea and the rainbows!

  4. Read your blog. ?
    Stop by, I want to give you the name of a friend doing a circumnavigation.
    You can help me sand if you are bored.

  5. Absolutely loved this read. Have had the same thoughts going on myself. Here’s a virtual hug ? from a stranger. I also don’t think you should sand away at something that’s already perfect.

  6. 46 years of living and I just found a decent bank. One that answers the phone and has a human on the other end of the line. Around Xmas before last they mived out of California and into Arizona suddenly. Even though I’m an ex-Californian for very good reason… Arizona?!

    I knew this couldn’t be a good thing. Next time I called, my suspicions were confirmed. There was still a human on the line but it was pretty obvious that this human had been programmed to say what it was saying. No longer a warm and genuine hello, but a cold monotone, can of a response. Still feeling lucky that almost allnother interactions at the bank were warm, even knowing a few employees personally and a couple others as aquaintances. I still liked my bank.

    However two days ago I got the message that they were having to shut down a bunch of locations. What surprised me was even the ATM’s were closed. All transactions that can’t be done thru the deive thru must now be done with an appointment!

    So I’m feeling pretty down about the banks right now but.not in the same way I did after Wells Fargo stole my ATM card by simpky not giving it back. Or when Wells Fargo pinned a $1000 loss on a friend of mine who was working there as a teller. The experience literally made him a mink for over 4 years. Something he would never do.

    No, I’m down because with all those branches closing instead of a typical 1 minute wait when I call, now it’s 10. Not to mention the fact that all those people that had finally made me happy that I had found a bank that was in a position to care and did, no longer can. No doubt all those folks are facing tough choices between food or gas. Unemployment or will they even be eligible? No doubt it’s always someones first time to be out of work.

    Meanwhile my battery won’t charge on my phone and I just paid for my service plan to be renewed. I should have just given the $55 to a newly unemployed banker!

  7. Hey Olivia… This is Todd!
    Here’s a Hug! I too am working on a Sailboat- a 27′ Catalina… currently named Victoria. They told me she is like the VW of Sailboats! I’m not sure what that means but I’m located in Lake Erie. Victoria has NEVER been in Salt Water and her Petter-Mini-Six 12HP inboard is a tiny-thing-of-beauty!

  8. Todd! Hi! You will love the Catalina. Swell boat! I hope you have a blast sailing around Lake Eerie. Hopefully one day she can meet salt. 🙂

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