Monday, June 6, 2011

Fast Life versus Slow Life - Musings From Sea Level

The other night, my husband wrote me a "rant from 27,000 feet" in which he pondered the legitimacy of the fast chaotic life that is considered normal now.  Here is my response to him:

. . . . as far from 5 miles up in a jet propelled steel machine as one can get, I muse from sea level aboard our floating steel home in the harbor of a simple town in Alaska's Kenai Peninsula.  While my soulmate beats his head against the proverbial wall working insane hours with mountains of stress every day just so he can provide shelter, comfort and soft couches to his family, each day I nurture, teach, marvel at and lose patience with our children.  In the big city of Anchorage I become lost, unclear of my purpose or of how I might touch the world and make a difference, frustrated and devoid of direction - I feel actually insane at times, out of control of my Self.  Here at our cabin and sailboat I don't feel that.  I am able to breathe deeply more often.  I survive - splitting wood for fire and warmth, gathering greens for cooking, baking bread, reading, fixing water systems, repairing boats, knitting hats and mending sweaters, planning excursions into town for groceries, showers, laundry and socializing . . . . my husband has given me this, graciously agreed to support the family while I nursed our babies and now learn and grow with them . . . . I fear he is losing his Self in it all, I worry he is moving toward the businessman's heart attack or breakdown or worse loss of spirit . . . . so I am grateful that we have a common goal, a dream coming true, our plan to leave it all and sail the seas, our way of escaping the fast-paced whirlwind of this society and instead touching the earth and sea and becoming part of it all again in a more basic, slower way . . . . we will touch different cultures, work and help others along the way, teach our children how they fit into the larger natural and civilized world . . . . meanwhile, my list has grown to a height that seems insurmountable, but I am inspired, I am motivated and alive, and I thank my husband for this peace and rejuvenation because he has given us Seldovia . . . . I promise, my love, you will be able to play and create and explore and, I hope, never step foot in the rat race of corporate life again if that is what you desire . . . .  you may follow your heart from now on, my love . . . .

I sit here in Seldovia, Alaska (a village of 200+ people 6 hours via boat & car from the nearest Costco or mall) aboard our sailboat that will next year be our permanent home, and I think about my husband who is 5,000 miles away on a business trip.  He spends so much of his day negotiating, meeting, worrying, rushing from place to place in his very prestigious corporate job that keeps us, his small family, afloat and literally unplugged in this remote paradise of the world.  His fast-paced stress-filled efforts and sacrifices give us this slowed-down magical life each summer.

Things are slower here. 
At the cabin, we eat when hungry, sleep when tired, paying attention to the time only to assess the tides.  A few times a week, we come into town from our cabin via a 1 1/2-mile hike or a little red zodiak doning an ancient 7hp Johnson outboard.  In town, we grocery shop, do laundry, take showers, go to swim lessons and pottery, visit with friends.  When we return back up the bay to our cabin, we eat wild nettles, fiddleheads and greens for veggies and stay warm with a wood stove.  The 20+ -foot tides determine our level of activity, as when the tide is out and our boat is dry, we do not go anywhere.  We build forts, chop wood, tend the garden, play games, and read.  We slow down.  I get my laundry done by calling the local laundry guy, who meets me at the 2-machine laundromat, lets me in and meets me back a half-hour later to switch to the dryer.  We chat about town goings on and how he lost a finger over the winter to a sawing accident.

So, 315 days to go.......until it all slows to a screeching halt.......aaaaaahhhhhhh.....

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