St. Joe’s Island, Sept. 2014

“I love entering the monastery of the sea.”

        (I started to write ‘A solo sailor’ instead of ‘I’, but realized that most solo sailors never enter the monastery of the sea.  They blog via satellite devices, call home on SSB, send emails and messages.  One almost wonders if they really want to be alone.)  — Webb Chiles

I like Webb’s analogy a lot. I would not be surprised if many men who have lived the single life have thought from time to time about what it might be like to live in a monastery. Something about the simplicity of it’s daily routine is appealing. I could not do it, because I am unable to lie about anything, and worshiping a deity just does not make any sense to me.

I am alone. In the end we all are, but most live a life with others. The times I have done that are very few. Roommates, sure, in the early years. Live-in lovers, a few times, once for the length of a lease, never more than a year.  Marriage, no.

One of the first really clear memories I have of myself as a child is of struggling with my mom on the sidewalk in front of our house at the age of 5. She is trying to take me to the school at the end of our street for my first day of kindergarden. Many do this I believe, starting school is a big deal. It is a struggle against change, fear of the unknown, it takes us out of our comfort zone.

Another memory has me sitting on the couch in our newly tiled and painted concrete walled basement. The wooden floor joists in full view, and the iron i-beam and poles that supported the house. The laundry chute opening in the ceiling, items sometimes falling to the floor next to me.  A table and a lamp. A few other things which I know were in the room but which I cannot see now. Perhaps my sister’s record player. It is the 1960’s and I am in high school. I am alone, the house is quiet, it is evening after dinner.  I am very comfortable, my long legs curled up underneath me, a book on my lap, reading my homework. That is how I was, and still am.

Not to say I did not have friends, go out, raise some hell, do some deeds. I did. But my comfort zone, where I have always felt best, was alone with myself. After high school and a short failed attempt at college I had a regular job for a few years. Suit and tie, doing clerical work for Nabisco. After 3 1/2 years I quit.  I wandered around for about a 18 months, traveling. I lived in San Diego, then Boulder, back to Detroit for 3 months, then on to Key West, and from there back to Boulder where I settled.

July 1973 thru 1974 I lived in Boulder and I spent my evenings in a similar fashion, in my room reading or working on my model ships.  I spent much of 1975 living in Nederland and made a trip back to Key West for 2 months. In January of 1976 I was introduced to show biz, and everything changed. Well, not quite everything, but some very important things did. In August of 1978 I moved into a 400 sq. ft. log cabin up at 8500 ft. on Magnolia Road, and I lived there for 8 years. No neighbors in sight. I had a propane tank, a well, and a 12 volt battery for power. In August 1986 I moved down to Boulder where I lived until August of 1990. Appropos of nothing, I seem to always move in August, my birth month. Needing a change, I went on a road trip and ended up in Seattle where I lived for a year in a tiny studio apartment on Capitol Hill.  In the fall of 1991 I returned to Boulder and after one year in a 2 room outbuilding in Eldorado Springs I ended up in another small log cabin. I was again in the woods west of Boulder at 8500 ft., but this time with normal electrical service, pressure water, neighbors, and no propane.  Progress. I stayed there 21 years, until retirement. Alone, with the exception of several lovers and a couple of cats, both for short periods.

I don’t really struggle when it comes time to make a change.  I seem to always want to change it up, and it might take a while but eventually I do. I have not found my place just yet. At the age of 67 I have purchased a sailboat I will soon call home. We will see what that does for me.

Author: RJMS

2 thoughts on “Monks

    1. Umm. No. I am back in the U.S. I decided it was time to scratch my itch.
      She is a coastal cruiser, a 1979 Watkins 27. A nice little beginner boat with new sails and 7500 lbs. displacement.
      More info soon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.