Going Aloft, Chapter 24

There are times in life when, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to make it work. You are reminded, forcibly and sometimes painfully, of your true position relative to the eddies and whirlpools of larger life, of the interconnectedness of everything. How delicate the balance of forces on both sides. How fragile the whole thing really is; how quickly it can all come tumbling to the dry and dusty ground. This chapter is about such a time.

When this happens, I have found it helpful to let go of what you’re trying for, at least temporarily, and drift away like a dandelion seed in a summer breeze. Distract yourself; give it time to work itself out. It’s as true for writing projects as it is for boat work in foreign harbors: sometimes the stars are simply out of alignment, and nothing but time will make them come back together again. And, like the proverbial watched pot, it’s best if you’re absent while they line back up.

So in this chapter, and in the next, we abandon our work and the confines of the yard and drive away to explore the rest of the island. And thank heavens we did, because this was the most magical of all the time we spent on the big island. We met people we wouldn’t have otherwise; they gave us perspective about our work, our lives, our selves. We saw beautiful things, and lived beautiful moments. It was more necessary to the process of solving our problem than a thousand hours of stubborn head-butting would have been. We rested, we breathed. And when we returned, which we did eventually, the solution was obvious, and shortly afterwards we sailed away- but that’s for another chapter.

Enjoy this one in the meantime. Read it here.

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