With the winter sun quitting the western sky so early, I’ve developed a habit of taking the boat out to watch the sunset in communion with nature. The nightly ritual gets me out of the house while enjoying the water’s healing powers. Solo boat rides, often playing in the dark currents under the Deception Pass Bridge, also keep me sharp. Maybe just a little scared, too.
The need to radio the Coast Guard is not uncommon in the vicinity of Deception Pass for various reasons, the most common being missing kayakers and the occasional jumper off the bridge. Effective communication would be helpful when this happens or if my boat is in trouble. But late afternoon activity brings with it risk: my voice becomes slurred, soft at times and unintelligible.
Although I remain confident in my driving abilities, I appear to be drunk, making the drive home a potential opportunity to enjoy free local lodging courtesy of the Island County Sheriff. If pulled over, I’ve prepared a note ginned up on my home computer and printed out, explaining my situation, including my inability to articulate clearly. Still, this will only work if the written explanation is understood and believed.
There are many reasons to avoid this behavior, but notably, just one to continue: it brings me joy.
It is worth reflecting on the world we have created, humble in the recognition that—like all things—this, too, will change. Prioritizing happiness provides a physical reset, encouraging authenticity and revitalizing the ability to be empathetic with others.
Helping myself first ensures my presence for the long haul of helping others endure life’s suffering. Please consider taking just a few minutes daily to stop, reflect, and fully feel what it means to be alive in this land of form we all visit.
After all, we were not put here to stay. We were put here to play.