I live on a very old, very leaky boat. Well it’s more like a curvaceous tree house right now but it is. A boat. Or will be again, one day soon. I like to call her Maggie, and imagine her like an old Herring lassie of Scotland’s east coast. I imagine her hard as the nails that hold her and full of piss and vinegar. We live in her womb and she cares for us. Our giant wooden mama. It’s true I have grown into a new person living within her belly and I have vowed to care for her as she cares for us.
Currently it’s that sort of rain outside that stampedes from the sky only after building up for so long. It’s been sweltering heat for the past few weeks. HOT heat. Sticky heat. Forget to drink enough water heat. I have managed to grow ginger plants, outside! A task I never thought was possible in this country. And boy, my pale Irish skin is tanned!
Now though, there’s a pool of water on the floor by our bunk. I accidentally stood in it when I went to make a coffee. I’m leaving little soggy foot-pools all over the galley. The time will come soon when we will start serious work on Maggie and then obviously we can’t live in her anymore. In fact, everyday a new plank comes off. Soon she will be uninhabitable. For now though, I’m finding quietness within her. Solitude, on a boat, is like finding a vein of gold. It must be treasured. I too often forget to soothe my creative soul and then I become untrue. Existing without purpose. Tis a busy life for us right now. There’s a lot of beauty happening all around us but not much space to process.
Time for myself usually comes in the form of forest exploration or a quiet row down the river but quite rarely comes in writing or musical form. A sad state, which I am working on. It seems I’m doing a lot of living but not enough processing. A hard balance to master. To be still is a sacred state. I’m trying to normalise little, everyday ceremonies or gestures to peace. Lighting incense and choosing to read a book or checking out early from the day’s humdrum to make myself tea and have a quiet sing. Learning to accept the surrounding sound of loud cranes, cackling seagulls, power tools, children splashing in the river, tourists in the cafe, marine engines dawn til dusk… it is ever challenging but I’m learning to recognise my choices. Realigning my priorities until I feel powerful again.
If Maggie could talk, she’d whoop me back with her no-nonsense attitude. “There’s work to be done!”