Deep Sea Thoughts

From last time I sailed the Baltic

There’s something very elemental about my love of the sea. When I’m out on it, it embraces my being, and I feel almost like I have returned to the womb.

This is my eighteenth cruise in the past seventeen years, averaging a little over a cruise a year in that time, all taken with my wife, Kathy. It will be our sixth two-week cruise. The majority of the rest of them were a week long each, with a handful of three and four day cruises thrown in there.

When I was in the Navy, during the two years I spent on my second ship, the USS South Carolina, CGN-37 (Guided Missile Cruiser), we went on five cruises, four being about a month in length, and one that lasted seven months, the infamous Mediterranean Cruise.

That one damn near did me in. Not the being at sea part — I still loved that part of it — I had issues with the captain, my addiction was at its peak, and I spent that seven months, for the most part, unable to feed it, which was a real problem at the time. Without the regular suppression of my emotions with the alcohol and drugs, my anger towards the captain came out in unfortunate ways, and I did a few things I would come to regret for years afterwards.

Fortunately, it only took seven months following my return from that one, for me to drink my last drink, at the still young age of 22, and within a couple more years, I would clean up my act completely, followed by 37 years of continuous abstinence. But, that’s another story.

This one is about my love of the sea. Since that last cruise I took in the Navy ended so badly, it never occurred to me to want to go back out there for many years after. One day, Kathy said she’d booked us on a Carribean cruise, and I said, “sure, why not.” She’s such a great vacation planner, I’ve learned to say that, and have never regretted going on a vacation she planned.

This one is starting out the best possible way — with seven lovely days at sea, as we cross the Atlantic Ocean from Port Canaveral, Florida, to Ponta Delgado, in the Azores, off the coast of Portugal. There, we’ll spend the day on a Jeep adventure — we’ve done a number of those, in Cozumel, the Bahamas, and into the Yukon Wilderness. That one was probably the best one.

After the Azores, it’s back out to sea for two more days. So, nine of the next ten days are all at sea — I’m in heaven! I loaded up my kindle with plenty of books to read, I’ve been waiting for a break in my busy routine to get back to some dedicated writing — ever since Cowbird closed up shop, I just haven’t been able to find a rhythm with it that suits my spirit’s needs.

Don’t get me wrong, I do like what we’ve got going here on the Story Hall in Medium, it’s helped a lot — but, it’s just not what we had on Cowbird.

I’m hoping to take these next two weeks to get back in tune with my muse, who I think still hasn’t recovered from the whole Cowbird thing. While I have tried soldiering on, and reaching acceptance, my muse is clearly not buying the bullshit and it still pissed off about it all. How else to explain her being missing in action, ever since?

Oh, I still try to write, but it’s nowhere near what it was like up until March 1st. A trust was broken that day. I kid myself and say all good things must end, and things happen for a reason, and life goes on, and blah-blah-blah. My muse doesn’t buy it for a second. She still thinks it was a short-sighted thing for them to do, and rather selfish.

I’m hoping that, with these next fifteen days, with lots of time, being back in my happy place, out to sea, for most of them, she’ll come around, we’ll reach an understanding, and a reconciliation will come to terms between me and her. I mean, hell — I did every goddamned thing I could to try to stave it off. It’s not my fault they shut it down. Why she’s been taking it out on me, I don’t know.

I saw the e-mail from Jonathan about the gathering at his farm in Vermont. Yeah, have fun with that. I told him, when he first floated the idea of it, that the only weekends that wouldn’t work for me were the weekend of 4th of July and the following weekend. Guess when he decided to have it? The weekend after the 4th of July. Just as well. He’s starting up some new thing that he wants us all to come and jump on board with. Why would I do that, anyway? What happened the last time I jumped on board to something he created? I got left hanging somewhere in the middle of nowhereland between me and my muse.

It’s probably just as well that I can’t make it up. I hope everyone who can has a great time, sitting around the campfire, telling stories, and all of that. Toast a marshmallow on me. Me and my muse will, hopefully, be right here, doing our thing. I like to write, and tell stories. Once I get this pissed off muse to calm down a bit, maybe together, we can get back to it. That’s where it’s at, for me.

That’s my rant for Day One at Sea. See? Something about being out here makes the truth just pour out of me, unvarnished. Call it right, or call it wrong — I’ll just call it mine. That’s me, and that’s where I’m at.

I learned a long time ago that the long journey towards healing begins with the truth of how you feel. I’m still not right with the loss of Cowbird. I still think it sucks.

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