11.01.07 – how to write an email in the Southern Ocean

How to write an email in the Southern Ocean? So little is really happening. What is memorable for David and me certainly isn’t, for the readership. And vice versa. Take Chris for example – working her mental and physical butts off there in ED. How do I make my pancakes sound interesting and noteworthy to her? Letters from home to soldiers in the trenches must’ve had the same ring of quotidian irrelevance as my emails to Chris. And the hapless soldier at the quintessential coalface – what can he write that makes sense? My demands for love, consideration and attention could hardly fall on deafer ears. Rightly deafer ears.

The stresses here are real but they’re not intellectual, or even physical. Nor are they easy to share with those who aren’t actually here. But when your recipient is at a coalface herself, then there’s nothing to say in any case.

Which means I should be much less self-indulgent and more sympathetic to her gorgeous self.

And then a lovely phone call from her at 3 am. Now, as I sit in the cockpit I know she has little idea how much her call brightens my foggy Clarice Becket dawn. I forgive her immediately her being busy, tired, committed, absorbed in her work. How very self-absorbed I have become – or was I always like this?

Excellent pancakes this morning.  We’ve no lemons left, so maple syrup was the garnish of the day. Dave complained that the butter had not been whipped. He ate 5, nonetheless. Seawater washups means the cheap forks are all rusting – Dave says at least we’ll never get iron deficiency.

Breakfast music – Pepe Romero and those lovely guitar miniatures.  I maintain it’s another way of learning Spanish.

The Romero variations on the Mozart theme remind me suddenly and acutely of my gorgeous children. I feel so wistful as I recall Yellow Bear, Red Scarf and those little angels, clean-scrubbed, sweet smelling and ready for bed. Entranced by the Jarvefeldt AO production, there they sit on the couch in dressing gowns and slippers, watching Monostatos and his rogues dancing to the enchanted flute theme. And of course the pancakes – always a major element of our family good times. To cap it all off, Rosie sent me an email this morning. One of her rare, stream of consciousness rambles. They tell me so much about her, me, us.

Oh well.

The wind dies again mid-morning. It’ll come back this afternoon. Meantime we begin the nightmarish rolling and slatting. There is no rhythm to it, so the motion cannot be gotten used to. Yep, it’s been too long. I want to soak in a hot, motionless bath. I want slices of fresh crisp apple. I want to see a river red gum. But I will be glad to have done the trip. This vast impersonal ocean offers – no, forces – new perspectives. It’s been a lonely experience. All very humbling. Life has seemed precarious, precious. With sharp focus on the simplest pleasures – Mendelssohn, dry clothes, warm hands, hot soup.

After an immobile night and morning we’re finally moving again with poled-out yankee and full main in a gentle, steady breeze. Sliding across the ocean like some lounge lizard on the prowl. I dream of a hot bath.

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