I am in my old home town of Martin Tennessee, visiting family this week. It is cold and rainy, a good day to revisit warmer days in my journal.
Melissa and I have been keeping journals since we began cruising in 2017. Now, two years on, the value of writing about my thoughts and experiences has grown. Being able to look back in time and relive a day is a satisfying pleasure. Maybe not always a pleasure; some entries are decidedly better than others. Just like life.
I will read my journal entry for the day a year ago before I write my thoughts for the present. I did this recently and read the entry for my mother over morning coffee. It is a nice way to share a part of your life with someone you love.
The entry for that day a year ago was of a hike that Melissa and I took on Isla Coronados. I present it here just as written, with incoherent/impure thoughts.
Isla Coronados Miercoles, el Doce de Dec
We got an early start to our day yesterday as we made ready to climb the small volcano that comprises this island. 926 feet does not sound very high and it isn’t but the seven miles of trail to make that 926 feet was an effort.
The trails at and around the beach areas are great; flat, sandy or small hard packed gravel that is demarked by stones. These paths lull you into the notion that the entire trail to the summit will be a similar, Dorthy and Toto situation with skipping and frolicsome good cheer over gentle rises & pleasant vistas.
In the real, Mexican, world these trails end where the volcanic debris; stones of basalt and something else about the size of a baby’s head pile up to form a badlands like area surrounding the cone. Cairns are put up through these stony hillocks and they are sometimes hard to spot; one pile of rocks look pretty much like every other pile of rocks after a while.
The stone section is not particularly steep but ankles must be cared for & I am very glad that both Melissa and I were wearing our hiking boots.
As the angle of ascent increased, the baby head stones gave way to dirt & gravel and required twice the effort due to the sliding back we did. I should mention that during this hike and all such strenuous endeavors Melissa and I do not stay together. We each go at a pace that is comfortable for ourselves. This means that I am frequently well ahead of Melissa and we both are alone but nearby for the most part. I stop periodically and Melissa catches up to me which means that I get a little rest and she usually just keeps trudging on which is unfair and probably sexist.
Such endeavors are sort of private affairs though; we are each testing ourselves physically & mentally and tests are meant to be taken in the privacy of one’s own brain.
The steep, slidy part eventually gives way to less steep, even pleasant trails to the summit which would be more enjoyable if not for the prior exertions. But a summit is still a small victory for us as we advance in years and the sense of accomplishment is still as real at 58 years old as it was as a boy. The view was territorial and of value not so much for its beauty but for what it meant about ourselves.
Keeping a journal has been a habit I am very happy to have made while cruising and I continue to write, more or less faithfully, each day. Having the time to sit quietly, and give an account of myself for half an hour is one of the many gifts I am grateful to have been given with our cruising life.
Many days my entries are as dull as bilge water; the quotidian goings on of work on the boat or what aches or what the weather is doing. Sometimes I work through more serious worries and sometimes I write about what has made me happy or that I am grateful for. I like those best. I try not to be too worried about what I write as long as I get something about the day down on paper.
Even the dullest entries take on a special shine when you read them a year or more later because you get to look at your past self. It is like a little coffee stained time machine.