Friday, October 14, 2016

Leaky Boats

Since I am quite fond of similes and metaphors—though sometimes hard-pressed to tell them apart—I’m always coming up with new ones to describe my position in and reaction to life. This morning it occurred to me that each of us is afloat on the vast sea of time in a very small and leaky boat. Most people are too busy with living their lives and going to work and having children and watching “reality” shows and paying off credit cards and being generally distracted that they don’t notice their boat is sinking until it is too late.

I, alas, have been aware of my little boat and its inevitable fate all my life. I have made buckets out of words, bailing frantically to slow down the inevitable, or at least in hopes that when the boat does sink, taking me, its captain, with it, the buckets may bob around for a bit longer.

Though I’ve not peeked over the stern to check, I would guess my boat is named R.M.S.Egoism: the reason for the “Egoism” is clear, but the “R.M.S.” is a bit more subtle. R.M.S. stands for “Royal Mail Ship” and my little boat is devoted, after all, to carrying messages. Of course, it also does not escape me that the Titanic was, in fact, designated R.M.S.Titanic.

There’s the old saying that to suspect you may be crazy is pretty solid proof that you aren’t, since those who are truly insane almost universally deny being so. I think I can identify with that, though I’m sometimes not sure from which end of the sentence. I do know that when I am not busy building buckets for bailing, the awareness of the rising waters truly frightens me, and I have to force myself away from whatever may be distracting me and build another bucket.

Of course the fact that I spend so much time recording my life that there is little time left to actually live and enjoy it isn’t lost on me, and is in fact a source of constant bemusement. Who, after all, really cares, other than me? If I were in fact able to record every single second of my life, who, after all, would have the time to read it, even if they had any desire to do so? Subtracting every second of a lifetime from the vast sea of eternity still leaves a lot more eternity than life.

My single greatest fear, often repeated in these blogs, is of being forgotten…of becoming only one more lost-to-memory name on tombstone in a cemetery full of others who have only markers to prove they ever existed. I do not fool myself into thinking that I am anyone particularly special to anyone but myself, or that my words will ever be in the same category as those of the great writers, but it would really be nice for someone, far in the future, to come across one of my books or my poems or (unlikely) one of my blogs and through them get some idea of not only who I was, but the sense that they know me personally.

And a mental picture just formed in my mind as I thought of the Titanic and the fate of all our little boats. The image is of a full moon in a cloudless sky glinting on the vast, dark, calm surface of time, on which a few small buckets float. I hope they are mine.
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from UntreedReads and Amazon; it's also available as an audio book from Amazon/

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