Beatitude Point … continued ( 2 )

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” They tell me I must wade into waters , where I will soon drown . Before I march in , I leave this on the shore for you . I pray you find it , sister , so you will know what was in my heart as I went under “.  Khalid Hosseini

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Chris’ Journal entry : September 16 , 1972

 

“I arrived three hours late for our departure and was much concerned with the possibility of hard feelings . These fears were soon dispelled and I found my friends benevolent . Our first day proved itself to be a sailing thrill tempered by unsettled stomachs and big heads . Dave and I suffered some discomfort because of the previous nights activities .

We left the port of Holland , Michigan at 11:00 am – sighted only two other sails and a cabin cruiser during the four and a half hour cruise to Grand Haven arriving at 3:35 pm . After docking , we confronted the various problems of supper , a satisfying if not epicurean feast . Hot dogs with carrots and peas washed down with some High-C orange filled the cavities that had been emptied by reverse peristaltic motion .

Dave worked on the radio antenna and we heard our first weather forecast ; gale warnings with 35 mph winds and 12 ft. seas . Needless to say we spent our time securing gear , putting on extra dock lines , trimming our new hatch boards and caulking last minute holes . I decided to shower and the others went out on the pier and came back describing nature in awesome terms .

It’s poker tonight and a welcome early sack time . I feel like calling home to let them know everything’s ok . I’m afraid I left an impression of disillusionment “.

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1972 marks a black year in history , not only because of the continuing Vietnam war or the escalation , like strong currents , of the Nixon scandal , but also a blackness due to the use of terrorism entering the sports realm like a huge octopus with the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes by Arab gunmen in September , which now links together an invisible fishing line hooking deep into the events of 9/11 . Gods world of ’72 is in turmoil … a tide of turmoil where sea anenomes are beached into colorless form : “Bloody Sunday ” in Northern Ireland , a Lufthansa jet hijacked by Palestinians , General Idi Amin beginning his reign of terror in Uganda , earthquakes of 7.7 destroying entire cities in Turkey and Nicaragua and in the Andes Mountain range , 16 survivors from a plane crash are rescued after practicing cannibalism and the following benediction is heard at a random High School Graduation ceremony :

May God bless you with discomfort ,

At easy answers , half-truths and superficial relationships ,

So that you may live deep within your heart .

May God bless you with anger

At injustice , oppression and exploitation of people ,

So that you may work for justice , freedom and peace .

May God bless you with tears

To shed for those who suffer from pain , rejection , starvation and war

So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them

and turn their pain to joy .

And may God bless you with enough foolishness

To believe that you can make a difference in this world

So that you can do what others claim cannot be done .

In the name of the Father

and The Son

and the Holy Spirit

Amen

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The music and lyrics  of Bob Dylan’s ” My Back Pages ” is heard from the distant shore , ” Ah , but I was so much older then , I’m younger than that now “.

Beatitude Point

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There is a dream , found in the attic of a memory . It is of my brother . The memory is vague like the weak signal on a radio dial . The days previous , listening in on two separate conversations , one from his daughter at a family party  and the other from my sisters ‘ husband at the Leelanau coffee shop , these conversations become the rope that knotted the year 1972 to 2014 and tightened my consciousness to the mystery of the boats ” point of sail “.

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They name her ” Venture “, a 28 foot Larsen sloop built in 1958 , and the small dinghy floating behind , ” the orange peel “. The orange fruit an ancient symbol of the sun , a symbol too of ” good luck “. Two names of paradox , one meaning to go somewhere unknown and dangerous with risk involved  and the other ” good fortune “. It was to become a poignant paradox and one that would loosen that rope from the sail boats safety of the suns’ warmth , into the depths of death.

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Chris , Dale , Buzz and my brother Dave , each being 19 or 20 years old then , boarded their shared vessel on Lake Michigan , after waiting for Chris who was usually late . It was just past noon on September 16 , 1972 , Venture bobbing gently in Holland Harbor under the protection of ” Big Red ” lighthouse . The sounds of  Deep Purple could be heard rockin in the background with ” Smoke on the Water “, as a large Bon voyage group of family , including cousins and many friends cheered them on . The mood was festive and some there would return to find their destiny together 40 years later with two of them embracing the long return of young love that had its beginnings that blue grey sky autumn day , a momentous day after the beginning of the biggest political scandal in modern times broke , Watergate , with Grand Jury indictments .

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To be continued …

photograph of girl in water by Lara Zarkoul Photography

Sofia’s accordion

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She is Sofia , one of the heavenly creatures , golden in the winds of early spring , 2014 . See Tavisha wandering from the village Gita like a hyacinth sprouting forth from gods sweet earth , her clothing still layered with pungent smells of life from the cow pastures she loves to walk … pastures green , pastures blue rolling into the sky , pastures leading the way into the Capitol city of Bulgaria . A Capitol where sun reflected roads of imported yellow brick lay above Roman ruins of the road that leads to Constantinople , some stones still exposed as her feet touch smoothly with reverence . Queen Sofia , the wise , wears a crown of garlands and the balconies that look over her bloom wild with flowers .

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Noise is loud and sharp on these boulevards announcing like bugles for a parade , the historic achievement of mans glory , poetic in the architecture of the Thracian , Greek , Roman , Ottoman and Bulgarian cultures … spellbinding in its creativity , as if God cradles humanities face in his almighty hands and whispers , ” you are my treasures “. Murals of fresco , gold candelabra , soaring buildings of color , minarets from Muslim mosques sing out the call to prayer . The palace guard with silver helmets , a single pheasant feather atop ,  change at the entrance to the Presidents residence and the ancient bells rejoice over a magnificent and enigmatic city .

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The intrigue of the antique market and it’s sellers quick eyes entices like chili pepper in hot chocolate , on the hill beneath the Venetian mosaic of the Cathedral . She discovers the crypt in the Russian church of St. Nikolay , the miracle worker , where she writes a wish and places it prayerfully with hundreds of others into the sarcophagus of St. Serafim . The men walking by are handsome with their collars turned up in European tailored suits and the women so very beautiful with a certain obscure thing about them . She watches the mandolin player and the old woman dressed in rags who sings opera with pride next to the public mineral springs of healing waters .

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If winter solitude is the audience chamber of God , then spring is its answering . Answers creep forth like vines with extravagant clarity as she takes the long way home to America . Like a wedding waltz she moves with Sofia . Children smile at her with innocent beauty like Prince Alexi wearing his sailor suit . Encounters are planned by the souls long before the bodies see each other. A poor beggar walks beside her crying out loud with circles and circles of sorrow . Sofia is compassionate . The rain Tavisha smells in the wind leaves her exultant to be alive . She reaches in her pocket for some spare coin and crumpled now she finds her New Years list  … Number 3 , ” learn to play an instrument  ” . The old mans eyes are aglow on her as she turns around running back to the antique stall …her accordion … to play the tears of Sofia .

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” The world is a great sculptors shop . We are the statues and there’s a rumor going around the shop that some of us are someday going to come to life “. … C.S. Lewis

post script :

I am asking … What does it feel like to be you , what is it really like ?

This is my last posting from Bulgaria .