Tag Archives: Vietnam

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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