Category Archives: thought

Quiet Water

The view over the bow of a kayak.

It is very difficult to think negative or hopeless thoughts while paddling on a body of water on a calm, sunny day. Perhaps, that body of water is nothing more than a reservoir frequented by anglers and paddlers. It’s usually quiet. There are birds here and there. Hopefully, there are fish that pop up once in a while. Maybe the boat drifts over some thick vegetation or catches on an unseen piece of wood. They sky can be blue or grey. It hardly matters on green water.

Listening to the sound of the paddle passing through the water is beautiful and serene. It allows for deep breaths and for the mind to drift from thought to thought like the clouds overhead. It forces a sense of the moment. After all, what is more important in that moment than maintaining balance and motion? Very little. Strange that all it takes is the thought of falling into perfectly safe fresh water to clear the mind of all else.

I know that not everyone is finding these things, but I do see so many more people at the parks than I have in years past. More on bicycles. Renting canoes. Hiking on trails. Moving through all of that green and blue simply to have some fresh air in the lungs and the relief of not seeing the same walls day after day. Perhaps we can keep that as a part of The New Normal.

Lantern

A restored railroad lantern.

Strange odds and ends live on my shelves. One of the many reasons I don’t turn on video for the myriad of meetings I’m in all day long. I look at some of them and they make me think. Sometimes I think too much. These days, we all think too much. Or far too little. It’s a time of extremes.

In any case, the railroad lantern fascinates me. The lenses work very well and when it’s lit, it is fun to have in the room. It’s a reminder of all of the progress made and the pieces of tech developed out of necessity. And, of course, how that fades over time. So many clever inventions are deprecated and lost.

With the current seismic shift within our culture, how many things will become railroad lanterns?

Water

We’re awash in dogs right now as we adapt to the new puppy and have taken on dog-sitting for my brother for a week. It’s a crazy time, so Nacho – aka MY dog – and I are holed up in the office for the day. It’s what we do every day, but it feels more like hiding now.

This weekend, we went to a reservoir and put in some boats. A double kayak for the ladies of the family, an inflatable for the boy, and my new fishing kayak for me. I can’t say enough good things about my new boat. It was stable, agile, fast, and fun. Is there another adjective I would add? Not today.

We paddled around as the rather impolite motorcraft buzzed the no wake zone and the jetski crowd terrorized other kayakers. We won’t be returning there anytime soon but will instead head off to the body of water nearby that doesn’t allow motors. We can paddle and fish in relative peace there.

Paddling felt good. Being out in the sun felt good. It was restorative to all of us. It was a reminder that there was still something outside of our home compound for us to do. We will do more of it because we can.

Like plastic exposed to the UV of the sun for far too long, people are starting to crack. The stress and strain of trying to get through the day and navigate the world on its new terms is showing across the board. Those who would put their heads in the sand and scream about going back to the way things were are not making the process move any faster. In fact, as is their general wont, they are impeding progress to a solution.

Summer is past its halfway point. It will be autumn before we know it and those of us who signed up for it will be trying our best to get our children educated over the computer. Real people will be forced to make difficult decisions based on very little access to data and in the middle of a field of fear generated for profit and power. The consequences are so very real.

What does one do?

If one has the privilege, one goes to the park and fishes. Or sits outside with a book and tries to forget for a bit.

Everyone’s to do list should include unplugging. The internet isn’t helping.

Rain

Rain from the Porch View

We needed rain. The grass started to brown up almost the day after the last time we mowed. That’s never pretty. By Shire Reckoning, it’d been about 2 weeks since the last decent rain. So the skies felt like giving us a little something. We had a few showers and it was nice to sit on the porch and listen to it.

I find myself going out of my way to find time to stop and listen. Things are strange. 2020 is a beast. I find myself wondering if we aren’t stepping backwards in terms of tempo. We were never really wired for the rate of change that we’ve seen in the last 20 years. From landlines to ubiquitous communication seems like a Sci-Fi utopia on paper. In practice, like all things, it lacks subtlety and refinement.

Adventure

A Spread from CQ Magazine

Last night, I was sitting in my Jeep waiting for my son to finish something and I pulled out my CQ Magazine. There was a really great spread on a team that ran a DX expedition to the British Virgin Islands. They were chasing the ghost of an Englishman who fixed up a sailboat and headed out to see the world on his own. He made a lot of contacts as he rounded the islands and was on the air for quite a while.

I’m a sucker for tales of Englishmen who head out into the world to chase something like that. It’s back to being a conquistador of the useless (a reference for those into the climbing scene of which I am decidedly only a spectator). There is no good reason for going out to sea like that. Even less to poke around with a radio. And less still to go to an island with the express purpose of being someone for people who are in their homes to call. But being useful isn’t much of an end, is it? Not most of the time, I don’t think.

I watch these folks go out and try to ship themselves and their gear to all parts of the world to sit on a lonely island in potentially harsh conditions simply to say “I’m here! Can you hear me? I can hear you!”

Living now, in the After (and there are so many things that have ended in the past few years that this is most assuredly an After Time), it’s easy to see why someone would want to drop it all and wander off. There is very little to be seen or gained from the vantage point of a computer screen.

Fishing. Geocaching. Camping. Overlanding. SOTA. POTA. Any kind of field radio, really. All excuses to get outside and check a box on a list you made yourself that is accountable to no one else. And that serves no greater purpose than to be logged in your own, personal journal.

No, I don’t have any maps open on my desk. Why do you ask?