carefree

The sails gently pulled us along under sunny Caribbean skies. The piercing blue of the ocean was almost indistinguishable from the heavens above.

Always one to be absolutely in the moment, Jim nevertheless took nothing for granted.

“June, too soon,” he laughingly told me. “July, stand by.”

I looked quizzically at him. 

He continued, “August, I must. September, remember.” He finished with, “October, it’s over.”

“What’s that all about?” I asked. 

“Hurricanes. As gorgeous as this day is, we still have to think about where we’re heading. When hurricane season hits, we want to be sure of a safe harbor.”

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Jim’s words in the drabble above are a rendition of the old sailor’s adage regarding hurricanes. Apparently, it is based on the “Mariner’s Poem on Hurricanes,” found in the book Weather Lore by Richard Inwards, 1898, which goes:

June too soon.
July standby.
August look out you must.
September remember.
October all over.

Many thanks to Eugie’s Causerie for the inspiration of this week’s prompt, “August.”

epic journeys

veru11_28_18I stumbled upon a surprising and happy memory the other day.  Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia popped up in a post on Glenn and Lynn’s engaging Just A Bit Further blog.

I crossed paths with Peggy’s Cove many years ago while in the midst of an epic journey, double-handing a sailboat on a very long voyage. I wrote a little bit about it before here and here.

I carry many cherished images in my mind from that journey, Peggy’s Cove among them. Even more than the treasure trove of mental images, though, it’s the stories I love. In the end, it’s the elemental experience itself – the challenges and  unknowns I faced and weathered – that I prize.

That journey changed my life. It changed me.

There were so many life lessons and character forgings I could not quantify them.

That is what happens with epic journeys.

Not all epic journeys are lengthy ones. Sometimes it’s a few days or even a few hours. You know when you’ve been on one.

And every single time, you come out richer, wiser, closer to your own soul.

veru11_28_18bEarlier this year, I spent a couple of days hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail in California. I met some thru-hikers while I was there, and later I followed some of them via their vlogs. Talk about epic journeys!

It is amazing to see how these folks change and grow and adapt and meet challenges and face fear and injury and make friends as they hike those 2,650 miles.

A few years ago, I met a young man who set out to walk across the United States. His whole mission was to promote kindness – to oneself, to those we know, to strangers. Sharing a moment with him a little past his 1,000-mile mark in his solo trek made a surprising impact on me – a real-time glimpse into the power of his experience. By the way, he’s still on that mission, even though that particular journey’s over. Check out his website, Go Greater Good.

There’s travel, and then there’s epic journeys. Those are the ones that test you. The ones that demand you confront yourself. Learn your own amazing strength. Face your fears. See what really matters. Grow your resilience, fortitude, creativity, self confidence, determination, humility, compassion, capacity for joy.

They remind you that your own life is an epic journey.

I don’t think it’s about doing anything extreme or exotic, it’s mainly putting yourself in situations that call on you to respond with parts of yourself you may not know so well or that you resist.

Or maybe forgot.