Too much, too long, too late?
But at my back I always hear
Times winged chariot hurrying near:
And yonder all before us lye
Desarts of vast Eternity.
-- This and italicized quotes below from To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell
Quality of life is preferable to mere quantity for the vast majority of us.
-- From Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
Running Downwind: A Jibe in Time
Was a time I was pretty much satisfied with putting one foot in front of the other.
You know... plod along the path of life in pursuit of the dream. Uphill all the way, with the peak somewhere well ahead. Vistas opening wide in all directions. And what hurry? There is world enough and time.
Somewhere in there, the 'peak' comes and goes.
Now, I'm not one who believes in an apex of life. Rather, that the entire journey comprises our One Precious Life, and that be yum. But I do acknowledge that time's winged chariot is careening down a cul de sac. Windows of opportunity are edging toward closed. Somewhere not far ahead lie those Desarts of vast Eternity.
At a mere three score years, I yet see time's imprint more than feel it. But the next will likely see those strengths that have carried me thus far blunted and diminished.
Too many of our friends find themselves late in life aboard a vessel now too big to handle and/or maintan. Going or gone derelict, ship and master. The former content; the latter sad or bitter. Their life ended -as they see it - too much before the End.
Their main problem? They stuck with what they knew until they no longer had the wherewithal to transition to something within their diminishing reach.
So it's coming, and coming soon. What to do?
Okay. What kind of platform for living do we need? Need as opposed to want.
It comes down to two things: A comfy, dry, warm home, and mobility.
Each of our sailing homes has provided both of these in one salty package. But the day will come when moving the home will likely exceed prudence, if not capability.
Our current best thought is to sail WAYWARD as long as seems wise, then haul her ashore as a fixed base. She's easy to board, heat and maintain (especially if sailing trim is no longer required). What's more, she's our bird-in-the-hand.
For extended mobility, a small camper-cruiser which can be rowed, sailed and hauled with relative ease. The smaller the vessel, the higher the ratio of muscle to boat.
We can enjoy it as an expedition vessel into relatively dangerous waters while our abilities remain. Later on, the judicious selection of weather windows and a gentle pace.
And when that won't do, adieu.
I don't often look in mirrors, and even more seldom do I look at my head from above. So my self-image is of a head of thinning but definitely present hair. An illusion undisturbed by my loving partner.
A odd-angle encounter with our little, post-card size mirror on our boat, however, gave me a startling glimpse of the the rut time's chariot has left across my upper pate!
An uncle of mine never allowed his hair to grow because he said that to keep it shaved prevented it from falling out... the sad moral came towards the end of his life, when he decided to give his locks their one fling, and nothing was left but baldness.
So I leave you with this cautionary yarn...
A Cure for Baldness
-- From Baghdad Sketches by Freya Stark