Thursday, May 7, 2009

Life Aboards


The very pink of perfection."
Oliver Goldsmith

New Docks, where never a boat has tied up.
This is the first night that the lamps are lit,
My husband's friend said: "Why not buy this boat?"
"What will I do with it?" asked my guy.
"You could LIVE on it!"
"Oh yeah, Cloudia would love that!"

And here my troubles began.

As a person, perhaps an artist, who has constructed my life from improvised materials I had to concede the logic of it. Especially here on this island of high rents and upstairs neighbors who might well be recent arrivals from a Pacific culture where it is customary for extended families of several generations to live and SING together - or worse: college students!
We would have privacy and quiet. That was 17 years ago (this September), two cats, a college degree, multiple jobs & careers, novel publication, birth of a blog, and several harbor masters ago. Where did the time go?
You can read about some of the amusing aspects of life afloat here:
and here:
But all in all, with another harbor inspection eminent (which will determine our continued tenure here in the Ala Wai) I face both the past and the future with gratitude for this life we've created.
While I perform MANY functions specifically related to this life (indispensable ones ;-) it is my husband's Kuleana to orchestrate, prepare for, and perform, the dance of inspection. Pukui & Elbert's Hawaiian Dictionary (the bible!) has a large entry for the word "Kuleana" reflecting it's importance in Hawaiian Culture. Some of the English synonyms that I find appropriate to this situation are:
Responsibility, concern, right, privilege, jurisdiction, affair, reason, function, justification, a small piece of land.
He has prepared well. We should perform safely and well. But the sea is it's own jurisdiction and a capricious one. A wind may come up, a rogue wave might rear, an engine could sputter. My home and refuge could lie on pounding rocks - ALL extremely unlikely, but the sea, and government bureaucrats have ways we might not always understand.
Meanwhile, every day at the end of a line seems precious. There will (after all) be an end to everything at some point. My feeling is one of gratitude for this dear life afloat on the sea of living. "Savor the moment" is not inane - it is the sum of wisdom. Last night, preparing for sleep, I reflected on this familiar old boat and familiar, sweetly broken-in life and conceived this:

Big Old Boat
like a grandmother's house
rocking in the sea of night
as we
in her bosom
dream and sleep tight.
So thanks to the shipwright
and thanks to the twain
who cuddle dry
in a hole in the sea
misted by moon kissed
rain. A L O H A! Cloudia