Friday, August 26, 2011


I just returned from five days kayaking around the San Juan Islands in Washington and then visiting Port Townsend, Washington after that. This blog is adapted from the second of four journal entries I made on the trip.

A fight is not won by one punch or kick. Either learn to endure or hire a bodyguard.” --Bruce Lee


The trip doesn't require as many hours as paddling as I thought, yet it's still a yes to endurance. I'm not in the greatest shape and we are on the water over three hours a day. Don't get me wrong, I love being on the water, in the water, near the water. I was born in San Diego, near the ocean and any body of water feels like home to me. I found myself craving getting back on the water this morning after camping. We spent part of the morning tidepooling, waiting for the currents to shift before we launched, and I found I was a bit impatient at first. Also, the tidepooling kind of made me nostalgic and nostalgia for me is always more painful than pleasurable because I spent most of my life trapped in the loneliness within my own head, making do with my imagination, and in retrospect, this coping strategy makes me feel a bit sad. Also, I had trouble staying present in the tidepools because I kept composing lines of poetry in my mind--lines that combined the morning's pop of rockweed kelp under our feet, turkish towels, six-pointed (also called brooding) and larger purple sea stars--all this present discovery I mixed with thick memories of childhood tidepooling at the La Jolla Cove. Memories of childhood are more and more painful--even if at the time I felt they were positive experiences, my sense of confinement in the space of my mind, that retreat, was due to some perceived outside danger: people felt dangerous. I suppose I feel reminded of that again recently because of how the relationship with X-man, who'd been a good friend for a couple of years before we dated, revealed itself to be a kind of web of deception, and I'm not sure what of his words were true. So I'm suddenly returned to a world in which people are generally not to be wholly trusted.

So right now I'm enduring being pushed physically, which I welcome, and I'm necessarily enduring emotional pain, recalled from childhood. Mostly, I'm enduring grief, and disappointment, in the ending of what had felt like a joyful, though brief, relationship with X-man. Most of me wants to crawl, in this moment, into my bed at home, and stay there for months tucked up in solitude, but currently, I'm traveling with eight other people, all of whom are interesting and wonderful, so I will endure--even if I am not as social with them as I might be under better circumstances. I will endure paddle-stroke after paddle-stroke, and I will endure the loveliness of the sea and its creatures--harbor seals, sea lions, and porpoises--and this endurance will be an antidote to grief.

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