Full Circle

October 25, 2008

The waves have washed me up on my own beach once again. With the sun’s daily stay rapidly diminishing, the air being much cooler and the rain coming at times in horizontal bursts, the forth season creeps up and I feel the muse pounding inside my head.

I tried to forsake this webbing and, for some time, I did.

During my absence from this web spot, which commenced last spring, my journeys took me to Ireland, where I threw back too many brews in places like O’Grady’s in Kilorglin, watched the sun set over Dingle Bay from the beach at Inch, ate lunch with sheep atop Connor Pass and played my guitar in numerous pubs in many small places in the Gaeltacht.

I ate well and learnt to fret over the Irish economy, which I could clearly see was overcooked and doomed to blowup at some point. That is when I knew it was time to go, when I began to fret in such a way that I seemed another local. 

I then took over a fine old channel cutter to be delivered across the pond to her new owner. This, was, after all, my primary reason for going back to Ireland for the second time in a few months.

On my prior visit, I met the boat’s owner and agreed that when the weather permitted, I’d bring her over. I picked up two crew and we sailed her down to Spain and then across to the windwards by way of the Azores. This, of course, took me out of commission on the web writing front for quite some time, as we had no Internet on the boat.

It also allowed me the opportunity to purge all the final strands of the broken, sad and, eventually, outright ridiculous romantic ties that had caused me so much confusion last year. 

Los Angeles actresses? What, Dear Lord, was I thinking? 

I swear to you, I’ll not set foot in Tofino again anytime soon. 

I did do quite a bit of writing during the sail over to El Carribe, some of which I will place here in the webspot as I feel the urge and have the time. 

Since I presently have no boats to build, nor any clients seeking me out after I dropped off the Earth for so many months, I expect I will find the time to share some of my writings. 

I have collected the dogs. They are well and seem to remember me with zeal. Many thanks to their caregivers over these long months. 

It’s time to put the place back in order and prepare for old man winter.

Oiche mhalth agat!


My Iron

March 14, 2008

I’ve been in Ireland. More on that later. Much more, in fact. It has been suggested that I might consider writing up a book. I am mulling this over. A person familiar with my writing and background told me I ought to strike “while the iron is hot” as it relates to this possible book offer.To which, I replied, “it’s my iron.”  

The Great Rotundo

January 15, 2008

I had a dream last night about a bouncing, bulbous man who scalloped across the water, laughing, like a mirth filled balloon. His laugh was basso profundo and I named him in my dream, The Great Rotundo.

He bounced off the wave tops as the wind was clocked against the rushing tide, making for a running tumble of sea that the Great Rotundo took as ski jump level entertainment. After what seemed like a long skipping trip across the water, with the jewels of phosphorescence stirred up in the dark lighting the way, the round one bounced up on my beach.

I heard him BOING-BOING as he bounded across the grassy slope leading up from the dock and then slammed into the house. The door flew open and he rolled into my room as I lay in bed marveling.The dogs were not alarmed. They wagged their tails. The Great Rotundo gave them pets and hugs and, in exchange, the pups licked the seaweed and sand off the circular man.

“What do you want, oh round one?” I asked.

“A drink and a nap,” he said.

No Van Go

January 11, 2008

I have been away. I came back to Blind Channel some time ago, but I was not able to write.

I foolishly immersed myself in a foreign world for a time and had been much the worse for it. In coming back and trying to recover from this hateful place known as L.A., I was unable to and I left again.

French Ferguson just looked at me and said, “but ye jest got back.”

I went to Belize and learnt to build boats on a beach out of local wood, boats that have sails and are used by free-diving conch and lobster fisherman, who plunge 25 meters under the water whilst holding their breaths.They free dive down, and return with their catch to the surface, over and over again.

Some of them can hold their air for longer than three minutes and you can see them swimming down in the deep water, hunting for their prey, because it is so clear. You can clearly look down and see the bottom in 15 fathoms.

They come up and after several trips, climb on the boat after handing up the final catch and take a break by lighting up cigarettes and drinking Belikin Beer and taking swigs of warm cheap brandy and lolling about and laughing hard at everything said and seen.

The sails are then set and the boat hauls off to a market in places like Stann Creek, also called Dangriga Town, where they sell what they have, collect and go drinking, before going home to their families or their lovers – because they all have wives and lovers, these guys, and lots of cute little kids, it seems.

There are some Christian straight elements about who look down on these fellows as dregs, fornicators and hopeless alcoholics and the men just laugh even harder, tell more jokes, kid each other that much more and live on.  

Out on the boat, one of which I helped build, this wild music called Punta wailing on the boom box, I thought – what a collision of ideas, diving in such a way that it is an impossible feat made routine and then coming to the top and destroying the very machines that make this impossible thing possible – the lungs and the brain.

But who am I to judge?

I am an Irish fool who got shown around glitter town like a watch fob, a mere curiosity, by an actress to her Hollywood friends – until I just left without explanation.

Belize was what I needed. Back at Blind Channel, before Belize and right when the actress attached herself to me while I’d been partying with the beautiful people in Tofino, the fish stopped speaking to me. I did not notice it then, for I was distracted by my new house guest. 

In Belize, they came back to me the day we launched the boat. The wonderful chatter of the fish returned.  My stay there was populated by these wonderous, deep Black, coffin nail-puffing divers who give a shite about nothing at all. It was filled with my fish, who came to me daily and conversed about all manner of things, and by my new friends on the islands in the Range and Tobacco Caye, where we sailed after leaving the north of the country.

From all of this, I began to heal and see mysterious new things. My wonderful fish have accepted me back, I have somehow found my path home and now, back to my writing, accompanied by my beloved dogs. 

I may seem mad to some, if not all, but I did not do a Vincent van Gogh. I have both my ears and I have taken to pondering all the simple things I have not noticed, or about which I have never previously thought much. 

I have seen the Starry Night Vincent painted on glorious display night after night, with the trades booming in over the reef and the heavens so clear, there is no earthly way to describe the sight. For this, I am again joyful.

I now plan to go to Ireland, to Dingle, to ponder those things there.   


January 11, 2008

they are premeditated food, sandwiches.

i often had to leave home for the day without one while growing up. a scrap of meat, yes, or a fruit, but not a sandwich.

a sandwich must be thought about in advance of its construction. its ingredients considered.

whereas, a scrap of meat, or a fruit, they are just as they are, without pre-consideration as to construct by the supplier, with also no effort in making them what they are before you stuff them in your sack.

i have lately come to realize how often i was sent forth without a sandwich as a boy and i now understand nobody had thought about making me one on those days.

i did not merit the idea of a sandwich, i suppose. even before one was never built for me, i did not merit the idea of possibility that one ought to be considered for construction and then presented.

i have come to believe that a sandwich made and presented is an act of love and that one never made is actually withheld, as love is withheld, until we wilt.

or, at the very least, the greens do. 

Well, That Was Something

December 11, 2007

The actress has left the channel, but the channel may never leave the actress. In case she, herself, reads this, I’d simply say – “that was something!” 

Dinner, Wine, Sleep

November 29, 2007

She’s asleep.

I made a lamb stew, some bread. I opened a jar of the hot peppers I’d put up and she ate a handful. I poured her a cup of cherries I had preserved in sugar and brandy and gave her some Walker’s shortbread to drag through the mix of that for her sweet.

We chatted about nothing and everything and she’s now asleep in the cabin out back. We drank a bottle of red Spanish wine I’d been hoarding for a couple of years. She is beautiful in an almost not believable sort of way. Not flashy, just put out there in a manner that belies some practice.

During the latter stages of this evening, she got quiet. I think this happened for maybe the first time in her recent adult life. It was a complete change from her onslaught of news and emotional material when I first met her a few days ago. She was not withdrawn, it was a sudden letting down of some guard, or electricity.

Nobody knows where she is. How the hell could they? She, herself, has only the vaguest of notions, pointed out to her on a paper chart as we came up here after our meeting in Tofino. We covered the last several nautical miles in complete darkness. There is no phone signal here. I have a satellite Internet and I refuse to set up a phone on it. She is literally lost.

This, then, made her appearance this morning just magical, as she had no idea what this place looked like as we originally arrived in the pitch black before the moon came over the mountain.

It was a day of pure delight. We did not do a damn useful thing in terms of work. On a Wednesday, no less.

Tonight, I had the small eating room good, warm and dry as we partook.

The hot food made us too warm and I opened the doors toward the water. The wind was northwest and freshening.

The sea lapped at the rocks down the hill when I exposed us to the outside and, then, without warning, the wind shifted and quit (as usual) and it became so still we could hear ripples splashing on pebbles down the gentle slope. We could clearly hear the dogs softly breathing as they slept. They lay at her feet, adoring their new friend, and I had to close the door, as it was 3 C. outside and we swiftly felt the chill of the wet night move in. I poked up the fire.

She tilted her head back, shook her hair from side to side gently and, with her eyes closed, took a sip of the wine.

She said, “I am not supposed to be drinking this.”

I said, “drinking what?”

She said nothing and smiled.

The bread tonight was particularly sour and bubbly. A firm crust marked it outside and a soft crumb was perfect for soaking up the gravy of the stew. My prized carrots were a stirring addition, I think, as well. I like carrots. I did not seek any report from her on them, but she ate them all off her plate.

The stirring of the bread bits in the juicy remnants of the plate, without fork or knife needed, is a delight. Take bread, tear it, swirl across bottom of bowl, place in mouth, softly chew and savour the sensations and odors.

Rinse with deep ruby Spanish Rijoja. Bliss. Toothy, gummy delight. Tongue tingling wine.

I had all day to do this. My shop presently has no boat scorning me for my slothful ways of not carrying on with determination. I am in food and drink for the winter.

And, at least tonight, I live a ridiculous stiuation. This complete stranger is sitting in my home, eating this delightful fare, with a nobody like me. I can’t tell her about the fish chats. She’ll become scared. I’ll stick to tides and food.

The bread is inspired this night, I have to say, even if it is the wine and brandy writing at this second (and it is, I fear.) I got lucky, I suppose. Usually, due to my oven, I burn one bit of it by not rotating it around so the heat hits it evenly. Not tonight, however. I was out to impress. I am not fancy. I make bread and build small boats, therefore, here was my chance to show off.

I have a Frankenstein’s lab of sourdough culture fermenting in jars on a shelf in the kitchen, which is little more than an extension of the dining and living area. This collection appears to be disgusting, but it makes a fine loaf, or loaves. I have several types, I do. Sweet. Salty. Less sour, more sour. Rancid (French Ferguson’s favourite.)

Tonight, it was my sweet starter – pungent, with bits of rosemary I put in it prior to baking in the wood oven that often burns some section of the loaf due to my inattention (usually connected to my seeking another beverage.) The firebox is central and the oven is to the left. You must rotate the bread clockwise as it bakes and quickly, lest the heat escapes the box.

She had a bite. She leaned forward toward me and sort of nodded her head in a sharp, almost manic manner, eyes getting wide, as if to infer, “Oh, my goodness, this is wonderful!” or “Dear Lord, I am choaking on this shite!”

I found myself going Japanese on her, wordlessly nodding back in anticipation of what she was trying to say (even though my mouth was empty), except she could not speak, due to the fact her mouth was full of the bread and she was chewing. She must have had parents who drilled the table manners into her, for she would not say a blessed thing until she swallowed. We nodded at each other like two Tokyo bussiness people who had just struck a big deal. It had to have been a laughable sight.

“This is amazing,” she said.

I nodded again. “You like it?” I asked.

“Like it? This is the best bread I have ever had.”

“Oh, it’s good, then?” I asked. (I am an Irish, Newfoundland bumbling social outcast.)

She ridiculed me. She said, “Are you kidding with me, or are you really this vulnerable?”

I said, “What? In what way am I vulnerable?” I peered down at my pant’s front to see if my zip was undone, or what I might have missed.

She said, “Never mind. I love the bread.”

I was happy to hear that.

We discussed the rosemary. It really has taken on a prodigious footing on the property. You’d think I was a Greek. We discussed the swirling rain clouds she saw all day from the porch, sitting for hours, watching, drinking tea and simply being there. The rain came and went and the sucker holes, for which I think my place is notorious, opened tunnels to heaven and the peaks that comprise it.

I spied her looking up all the time.

I took her in the shop and showed her how to jig up and build a dory. She leaned in and looked at the plans and got them right. She put her right hand on my left shoulder and brushed my long hair out away from my left eye.

I noticed this sweet gesture, but said nothing.

After this day of my letting her be, unless she wanted to talk and see things, I felt a boundry was established. She is from a place I can’t fathom and I am from a place, currently, she has no idea exactly where it is!

This is a totally improbable stance we are in. Yet, I think she can breathe for a bit and I have decided to like her, despite all her complicated things she has underway. I invited her up when I’d had a few, and I was nervous and unable to say, “maybe this was a silly idea.” She could not say it, either, and she came along home.

I am not interested in what might be here. I am simply amazed this person is actually here. I sincerely do not know what to make of this.

Her smile tonight was often warm, then troubled and distant – at that, a crumple, not a grin. I did not pursue it as it danced along its latter mysterious path. I feel this woman needs a sea of room around her and I suppose this is just the right spot to land, for that is what she has here – a sea of room around her, not to mention towering slopes of woods and skys of wonderous shape-shifting mist.

I sat at the table looking at her as she gently and peacefully fell off to sleep, almost in mid-sentence. She was telling me about a rude guy named Felix who brought her out to a place in Los Angeles…..sleep. Just before I lost her after sweets, she’d looked around at all the crude little things I have collected and placed all over the house. She kept muttering, softly, words like, “beautiful, sweet.”

I think the wine got her and maybe I am not a good person for providing it. I just don’t know.

It was quite endearing, though, as my junk consistes of bits of odd driftwood, shells, a couple of fine wood carvings from a First Nations friend of mine and some small pictures and whatnot.

I felt at that moment she let go and trusted this stupid, improbable thing the two of us had done, meaning me bringing her up to the channel. Her literal escape from what I do not know was now happening.

Stupified by this situation, the sleeping stranger at my small table, I got the brandy and drank quietly as she nodded her head in slumber. One particularly hard jerk of the head got me concerned and I coaxed her to the sofa and put her there under the big Hudson Bay blanket I got in Vancouver last year. The dogs raised their sleepy heads, nodding them up and down and looking up at me as i grabbed her chair.

I turned it around and sat there with the canine approval permeating the room, sipping the brandy and running my right index finger through the cherries like a small kid stealing a taste.

I added two logs to the fire. She slept like a rock.

I am not sure what has lately allowed me to clearly see into other people’s hearts and understand their place they occupy. When Maddie Higgs left, I did understand, although I still feel the ding.

I kissed this woman in Tofino when she dragged me into her world because she and I wound up two silly centimetres apart when she pulled me to her. What else was there to do?

But, I determined early on, as we took Big Boat all the way back up the long run from Nanimo, that she was better off not talking, just looking around – and even better off not necking, because we do not know each other at all.

I will say, she was tender today in the shop. Considerate, respectful, curious and sweet.

My plan, upon arrival, was plain and clear. I decided I would cook for her a bit, show her the area, regardless of the weather and the price of diesel. So long as the sea is not set to make her scared or ill, I’ll take her out.

I am lucky. The hillside is still so green. The trees sway in the swirling winds. As far as she knows, she has come to the literal end of the Earth, which I suppose for her, she has. I have a metled person here, now.

The dogs have licked her feet.

I got her up and out to the cabin. She’s suddenly blessed, I sensed in her grateful, relaxed limbs, for however short a time this will be. I got her down and well covered. She stirred up and we said “goodnight.” I left the dogs with her for company.

Tomorrow, she’ll wake up, not knowing where she is, or, really, who I am. How deeply odd.

Then, I suspect, in a few days, she’ll vanish in the mist, as did Maddie Higgs.

A whole person again.

Then, I’ll start another dory.