Saturday, May 16, 2009


In journalism school, I learned to write about things from an emotional distance, to be objective, remove myself from the picture entirely. That sort of low-impact, impersonal writing became so ingrained that when I started this blog, I resisted putting myself back in the picture. Ten months later, I'm not sure I've completely succeeded. The fact that I should be writing about our intensely personal struggle to realize a dream makes my brain clot up and stall, my emotions freeze in place. At the most difficult junctures, instead of writing about the complicated wrestling match we're having with the universe, I write about bicycle blenders and varnish.

In our most generous dreams we would have been on the water by now. Our house and business would have laid an egg gold enough to keep us cruising on interest alone.

Instead, we've spent the last eight months in suspended animation, continuing to sustain this life we so badly want to leave behind, a life that is a stepping stone, a step we thought we'd already taken. We try hard to stay in the moment, to enjoy what's at hand, but it's more like wearing blinders. I suppress thoughts of anchoring in Hopetown harbor because it makes me cry. Or maybe that's just menopause.

If everything had fallen into place last fall, we would have sauntered blindly into cruising like it was simply there because we wanted it to be. So now I have a cliched appreciation for the thing I've worked hard to attain. There's probably an appropriate children's fable to insert here, but as with any trite lesson, we never learn it from the knowing. Those fables are only useful as labels to put on things we learned on the cold, hard field of life.

Our neighbors across the canal had a dream akin to ours. When their son went away to college they planned to sell their house and remake their lives in a mountain cabin. As they scrabbled through this grueling phase we know so well, waiting for their house to sell, watching the market crumble around them, their property devaluing, the stress pushed them apart. The house sold but hope died along with the dream.

What children's fable teaches the richness of turning toward those you love when times are hard, the value of gaining strength from weakness rather than succumbing to it, of feeding each other hope when the cupboard seems bare?

That's why we set our anchor so deep.

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