Tag Archives: beauty

A Wherry called “Delayed Gratification”. . . or maybe “Ruby”

The world seems to be going to hell.

Reason enough, I decided, to build a rowboat.  A wherry to be specific, from a kit supplied by a company called, Chesapeake Light Craft.  Here’s a photo of what it will look like when I’m done:


I must confess I’m old enough to remember a few other times when the world seemed like it was going to hell.  There were the assassinations and riots of the 60’s. I was playing touch football with my friends when Bobby Kennedy was shot.  We stopped the game for a moment and listened while somebody’s mom told us the news, and then went back to our game. During the 70s, the atomic bomb-carrying B52s that regularly flew low and menacing over my home town were an ever present reminder that hell was just one stupid mistake from becoming a reality.  Ronald Reagan dominated the 80s, and I suppose that was enough to make it hell for some people, particularly Manuel Noriega.  I wonder if Manuel is still alive in prison somewhere?

Fast forward to now.

The Middle East is once again in turmoil (not that I can ever recall it “not” being in turmoil), and the list of “bad guys” seems all too familiar. Take your pick: Russians, Iranians, North Koreans, and certain members of certain college fraternities. And though it isn’t politically correct, certainly some flavors of Muslims should be on the list, but not all Muslims, only the bad ones who go around beheading people, though there seem to be good Muslims, the Saudis, for example, who do that, too. Of course, they’re on our side, and don’t support, at least overtly, all those mobs of dark-eyed, scraggily-bearded men, shaking their fists and shouting death to America, death to Israel, and death Mickey Mouse.  Okay, maybe they don’t want Mickey Mouse dead, but they don’t like Las Vegas, and that’s close to the same thing, right?  Add to this witch’s brew the crisis called global warming (or climate change, if you prefer), the budget deficit, the ongoing disaster that is healthcare in this country, antibiotic resistant bugs, overweight and diabetic dogs and cats, the fascist gym teachers who force kids to play dodge ball, the disparity between rich and poor, the national scandal caused by those tens of thousands of gay-owned bakeries refusing to make wedding cakes for  fundamentalist Christians (or is it the other way around and maybe it isn’t thousands, but one or two?). . ..and on and on.

This is my long-winded way of saying it is all very confusing because virtually everything I’m supposed to be freaked about is outside of my control.  In response, I’ve decided to do something that some might consider absurd: build a wherry. More to the point, I’ve decided to build something that I hope will be beautiful, which maybe is even more absurd.

I certainly don’t expect my wherry-building to change any of the issues that NPR, FoxNews, and the long list of bloggers, experts and professional bloviators seem to think I need to care about. But I think it’ll change me – just a little bit. That’s what I’m hoping, anyway.  And it may change some of the people who want to help me out or stop by to have a beer and watch. You’d be surprised at how many acted like kids at Christmas when I told them what I was doing.

In the meantime, I’ll be posting from time to time about my progress and what I may be learning along the way. If everything goes as planned, I expect the wherry and a draft of my new novel will be done right about the same time.

Of course, in my world, things rarely go as planned.


Such moments of insight

My teenage son, Luke, and I climbed Mt. Walker yesterday. It was one of those rare Puget Sound mornings that seemed like a gift, the colors of the forests and mountains and sky so intense they reminded me of stained glass windows in an old church.

We were on the trail early, and climbing steadily right from the start (2,000 feet up in just two miles), with peekaboo views along the way of the Olympics to the west, and Hood Canal to the south, gleaming in the sunshine.

Luke and our dog, Gracie, cruised easily up the trail, leaving me huffing and puffing in their wake. I’d never want to be a teenager again, but teenage legs and lungs would be nice.

As we neared the top mountain, I found Luke standing on the edge of the trail, brushing a pale pink wild rhodie with his fingers. He pointed at a snow capped peak, sharp against the blue sky in the background.

“Thanks for bringing me along, Dad,” he said.


“I just love it out here.”

“Why is that?”

He was silent for a moment.  Over the years, I’ve learned to wait at times like this.  Sometime words just don’t come easily for Luke.  The experts told us it is because he is hearing impaired, and the late diagnosis affected the development of his verbal skills. I’m not so certain.  I think he has a rare gift, an ability to make the most poignant observations in these simple and yet profound ways. Sometime that takes a moment or two to get out.

He smiled, gestured with his hand at the flower, at the mountain, at the forest.  “When I see all of this. . .it makes my eyes wet.”

“Me, too,” I said.

I knew I couldn’t say it any better than that. I wish many things for my children, and I guess until that moment I’d never realized how much I’d wanted them to have an appreciation for beauty. . natural beauty.  And not just an appreciation for it, but the kind of heart stopping reaction that means that they aren’t just appreciating what they’re seeing with their minds, but it’s touching their soul, as well.

Just as quickly, he was back to being my teenage Luke. His grin brightened.  “Try to keep up, pussy,” he said as he bounded up the trail, mocking me in the same way I’d ribbed him the day before as he half-heartedly tried to start my old motorcycle.

“Right on your butt, dude,” I replied.

A gift of a morning, and a gift for a son. I’m so lucky.