Beyond Broken

When we first dropped anchor in Roche Harbor all the boats were pointing in the same direction, as they should, in formation like birds. As we sat and looked out toward the setting sun, some of the boats spun around one way, and others another, until we were all pointing every which way and there seemed no rhyme or reason to it. The sun disappeared and there we stayed awaiting the next shift of our boat, like the calibration or orientation of a compass.

I mention this because before we left San Juan Island another odd phenomena occurred, this time from above. While setting out on a walk in the woods, hundreds of birds—mostly seagulls–swarmed in the sky, circling at random, looking like white confetti against the blue. An hour later as we rounded a point, another swarm of birds was in the sky before us, the same random scribble. Whatever could this mean, we wondered.

I have become very good at doing nothing out on the water. Aware of yet another tragic shooting, this time in Wisconsin, I think my heart is beyond broken. If we can’t get a handle on the assault weapons at least, I am afraid for us.

At the Northernmost point of land in the continental U.S. sits a little white lighthouse, straight out of an Edward Hopper painting. The humbleness and innocence of it—my country is losing that.

On we went into Canadian waters. Salt Springs Island B.C. is where many of our draft dodgers found open arms during the Vietnam war. Many of them stayed and raised families, ran small businesses, and have slowly, happily aged. Our loss, their gain. It looks like it’s been a good life on Salt Springs. Our very institutions are under siege at home: theatres, schools, shopping centers, churches and temples. I’m thinking now if our lawmakers can’t stand up to the NRA and get a handle on our war with ourselves, might there not be another wave of Americans to other shores?

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Beyond Broken

  1. Tug Yourgrau

    Lovely blog. Very evocative and thoughtful. By the way, my Israeli half-sister, Maya, has a boyfriend who spends half the year on Salt Island. The next time we go there (!) let’s say hi.

  2. m

    Ah yes guns. The right to bear arms. A freedom. One that can’t be sacrificed as it’s our last liberty. What a crock. Our fore Fathers weapons were not the same. I can’t imagine they envisioned this for the Land of opportunity. I don’t want to be with out a gun living in the woods but at the same time I don’t think there is an animal alive that needs 100 round a sec to be put down. Our priorities are not in line.

  3. sophiewitman

    I hear you, Kim. I do not understand the gun thing – the energy connected to “our right to bear arms” – unless it, like the lighthouse, has become a symbol for something that some group of people is afraid to lose. I was reading the other day a quote by I forget who who noted that we create symbols as a representation of the thing we love and then we fall in love with the symbol. Perhaps they can get back to the thing they love itself, in this case.

  4. Elizabeth Yourgrau

    Your lovely blog reminded me of some scenes from the play, “Master Harold …and the boys” that we saw on Saturday night. Sam, a victim of apartheid in South Africa attempts to transcend the hatred and anger. He tries to imparting his wisdom to Hally (Master Harold), the 17 y.o. son of his white “boss” in a series of life lessons e.g dance hall metaphors for peaceful coexistence. Like Sam notes, we instead are bumping into and hurting each other.

  5. Alexander Finn

    I’ve been ready for some time now, to turn the reins of power over to women, not just here in the US but in other nations such as France or China or Mexico or Iran or Saudi Arabia too. Especially those nations!
    A female leader in Saudi Arabia would give women the right to vote and drive a car. In Iran, they could build schools, considering all the women who would now be encouraged to get an education, not bombs, and even travel unescorted. In Mexico, ANYTHING a female leader did would be an improvement over what the men are doing there now. In China, I think the intelligent women there may have a, behind-the-throne type of power already. And in France, a female President could have a lover as long as the press doesn’t drag the affair through the dirt and embarass her husband.
    A good female President or Prime Minister of these countries could be almost any woman really. None, of course, of the anniecoultersarahpalingetyourgun types, but the kind who live down the street, who are our neighbors, just out for a quiet walk. There are a few that I work with who always check on me and others to make sure we’re doing okay, to catch us if we stumble or share our load for awhile if we’re a bit stressed. I vote for them. My wife would do well too. She would make sure that everyone had a fair share of everything before leaving, even if it meant she might do without for awhile. “No guns here!” she’d say. “If the men insist on it, well then, they can just stink up their own corner of the world, some island somewhere, plinkin’ and drinkin’ if that’s what they want. But no guns here.”
    I don’t think your doing nothing, Kim. All those thoughts out on the water lead to pleasant writing on the blog.

  6. Beautiful post! It gave me chills! It’s interesting to see how we both wrote about gun violence in different ways- though there are also some similarities! Thank you!
    -Liza Wolff-Francis, Matrifocal Point

  7. Kimberly

    Wandered over here from Matrifocal Point. Excellent point about our country losing innocence. For some time now, it’s been all about the fear. We aren’t allowed peace. Someone must remind us 24/7 what it is we should fear. Quietly, behind the scenes, those who prefer work to talk are getting things done, hoping that what they do counts for more than the noise.

    There’s nothing like being on the water to help a person re-discover peace. Thanks for sharing some of it with us!

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