Moving Quickly

A postcard from Pendle Hill "Just outside the Beltway"

I sold the boat, this much is true
I quit the Rachel Corrie office too

I bit the bullet, changed my life

My blessings are so many, rife

I’m chilling out in Philly now
Peaceful like a just-milked cow

The city’s warm, it’s late Sobember
A time to visit, love, remember

With little plan but some paper cuts
A show downtown, I love to putz

Life starts coming when I stop and let it
And so far I do not regret it

The end is nigh

I’m sitting on my boat in what will likely be my final hours as it’s owner.  It’s sad.  This place has been my home and all the flotsum I’ve vacuumed up reminds me of something.  There’s still some canary seeds here and there. Quite a few pieces of brass hardware from this or that repair project.  Indistinguishable plastic pelletish things that feel familiar on a boat.  Am I really nostalgic about my dirt?

There’s actually some dirt I’m rather proud of:  All the the junk throughout the fuel lines that I cleaned out with Dad.  Here it is, pretty impressive eh?

the spoils of warter

A perfectly good illustration of why boat ownership is not really the best option for me right now.  It took 10 hours of very tight manuvering to get all that out, but the engine running really well now.   I just don’t have the energy.  And my jobs finishing.  And I don’t know what I’m doing with myself.

So the Drifter’s likely to drift along here, headed to a new owner who plans to live aboard.  I wish him the best and know that this little champ will treat him well.

No Wake Zone

I tried to take Federica out for a sail yesterday in a last ditch effort to get the boat out and impressing women as it is intended.  No go.  As the starter ground and my newly ripped shorts flapped in the ample breeze, I would not be defeated.  I decided we would try to sail off the dock…..into the wind.  Desperate measures only succeeded in rousing all the neighbors from their vessels to anxiously ask if “they could help” [me return to my slip like a sane person, I gathered]  I was defeated.


Having Federica see my life for the last three weeks, including the delightfully exotic (hiking through tropical rainforest munching on strawberry guavas) and the painfully mundane (fretting over whether the Y will grant a FOURTH guest pass in its limited unlimited “special offer” plan,  just wanting a damn shower)  I have felt honored to have her see everything  and apparently accept it all with a remarkable calm I couldn’t imagine mustering.  How is it that some people are so collected, grasping the tiller firmly and staring down their future with a genuine smile?  It may be that we’re all still just tied to the dock anyway, or that the mussels are slowly sinking us from the bottom up, but I just can’t help FRETTING all the time, whigging out over the tiniest things.


Last weekend she and I did two events about Israel and Palestine on Whidbey Island.  People listened politely and asked good questions but I realized at the end of it all I feel so tired getting righteous about injustice these days.  As I’ve bucked and tossed and rolled myself at the helm of some kind of vessel plodding through Israel and Palestine, I’ve burnt myself out.  My starter’s gonna fail if I don’t watch it.  I know very well why I don’t have the tireless energy of some or the uncanny good cheer of others.  I’m just not yet running with everything full ahead yet.  It’ll happen though, and man I’m hoping it’ll be impressive when it does.

My Boat is Famous

Drifter in the 1979 issue of "Sailing" magazine

A fellow yelled at me from the Percival Landing Boardwalk the other day, saying his name was Chris and that I was on his boat.

He introduced himself  and it turns out his father bought Drifter new in 1977 when she was still a sleek racer.  He had recognized the lettering of her name on the transom which has stayed exactly the same for 32 years.  This all jogged MY memory to the pile of papers I got when I picked up the boat from Jim.  Amongst rotten manuals and yellow charts was a letter from the Canadian government dated sometime in 1978.  It was a response from the Canucks to a certain Charlie Snyder who wanted to know about operating procedures for his brand new VHF marine radio in Canadian waters, where he hoped to travel with his brand new baby (Chris!) and wife. Trippy.

All these years later, Chris’ wife was also along for this venture and they’re expecting a baby of their own. Chris was super stoked to see the letter, his dad lives in town and I suggested he take it for show and tell.

And then he told me the coolest thing of all.  In 1979 Sailing Magazine came to Olympia to cover the Toliva Shoal Race, an annual event still going on to this day at the mouth of Bud Bay and near reaches.  It happens in February, the month I moved aboard.  I’ll be straight with you, February 2009 was not a high point in this Skipper’s life.  But February 1979 was when Drifter spread her sails and rocketed to international superstardom…… or just had her picture featured in a magazine.  The stuff of legend, all cataloged on the Toliva Shoal office website to this day for your viewing pleasure.

Bare legs and aftershocks

It’s been beautiful in Olympia.  Splitting wood behind Rohan’s house, I could almost pretend that the drama had blown over with the clouds.  It was not so.  But I am more comfortable admitting my struggle is personal, individual, inexplicable. And the sunburn left over from yesterday’s sail with my lovely cousin beside me in the cockpit could not be diminished.

The weird nieghbor who communicates mostly through a system of grunts and constantly wears a leather cowboy hat and jacket passed by the boat today with the familiar tops and shorts on the bottom.  Jacket and hat untouched.  I’m really really curious about what his boat looks like.

I also probably would not have worried about a earthquake in Italy 6 months ago.  Now I do.  I’m checking the maps and feeling silly for it. What does it matter whether I know the people being hurt around the world? What difference could it make?  Am I really obligated to tell the Greek women on the phone intending to play Rachel in a play that I actually have absolutely no relation to the Corries? Am I?

Live from the background

A strange transformation has taken place.  I am now no longer in  Palestine but still have so much of my attention pointed towards it.  It as if I am looking at the pictures of myself there like the part of me that still is walking across the desert, still is eating warm bread and saged tea, still meeting inspired and incredible people full of passion and love and conviction and pain.  Why can’t I feel them as I did just a few months ago?  Why did Israel have to go and attack the people of Palestine and my ghost of memory left behind, there among them like a like a penguin in the San Diego zoo.  I’m bewildered however I look at it.

But now I live in Olympia.  I have a small boat I live on here in the harbor.  It rocks me to sleep, those nights I can, and floats amdist an amazing community of new people.  A single mother and her child in the Brigadoon, my slipmate Tim headed on his newly purchased Vasiliki to Alaska this summer, Vince  the signpainter on Anna, a beautifully finished memorial to his late wife.  Vince helped us put the lettering on the Olympia Rafah Mural last year, whipping out a beautifully lettered title for our work only caught up in Olympia governments red tape later.  It’s funny now that he is my neighbor and with my new job at the foundation I’m ready to hire him again  to help paint our organization’s mission on the office wall.

And that organization is the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, where I now am the opertaions manager working with the Corrie family, parents of Rachel Corrie, a young woman killed in Gaza in 2003 while trying to stop a Palestinian families home from being demolished by an Israeli bulldozer.  The Foundation is where Rachel’s life is turned into a model for social change, such as we left living can manage to do that.  It’s a beautiful and difficult and thought-provoking mission.  Especially difficult today,  as a part of me wached the Corrie leave the office today to go on a delegation to Gaza to provide relief and aid after the recent devestation there.  The thought-provoking side of me is still over there expecting them, waiting for them to help me make sense of it all from that side of things.