Friday, July 27, 2018

Sermons in Stones

Got your life jacket (aka personal flotation device, or PFD)? One of the best parts of a boating vacation is time to read. Long hours bobbing gently on the water, lost in another world, with periodic times of looking up to admire the scenery. 

I don't like to take library books on the boat for fear of loss, so I collect possible reading material for quite some time, from used book stores, friends, or the occasional new book. Here are some of the books I took along on this trip:

Britt Marie was Here (Fredrik Backman)
The Little Paris Bookshop (Nina George)
A Royal Pain (Rhys Bowen)
Totem Poles and Tea (Hugina Harold)
Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante (Susan Elia MacNeal)
The Death of Mrs. Westaway (Ruth Ware)
If You Want to Write (Brenda Ueland)
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper (Phaedra Patrick)
I'll See You in Paris (Michelle Gable)

and a few more. Lighthearted, easy reading, for the most part. On vacation, I read about a book per day. Oh, how I anticipated the reading I would do on this vacation. I read 4 novels in the first 5 days. It was delightful. 

And then this happened....

I had been working in my sketch book, without my glasses, and decided I needed them. So I went to get them, and then tucked them into the front of my shirt to take a good look over the side of the boat (all sorts of interesting things float by), and quick as a wink, and almost as silently, my glasses slipped from my shirt into the water. We watched them disappear in about 2 seconds. 

Reader, I was sickened. A huge pit formed in my stomach. My expensive progressive lenses were now being worn by a fish. Or a crab. Or something else that simply would not appreciate them.

"It's not the end of the world," I told myself. At least I can still appreciate the scenery, sketch a little, and take photos. Tim felt almost as bad as I did and he expressed it well when he said, "For you, reading is like breathing." 

There was still another week of boating planned. What on earth would I do? 

I did a lot of thinking. And a lot of looking at the scenery. 

The Duke's words in Shakespeare's As You Like It came to me as I pondered life 

"And this our life, exempt from public haunt, 
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, 
Sermons in stones, and good in everything." 

The "sermons in stones" phrase was particularly meaningful as we chugged alongside immense stone cliffs rising like walls from the ocean floor. Such powerful forces created and continue to alter these formations, forces created by the Creator God. 

That pointy bit above looks as though it were ready to fall off and plunge downward. Sights of earlier landslides, 50, 100, 1000 years ago were everywhere.  The landscape is continually changing. I'm relieved it didn't fall while we were there. 

 Life clings to these rocks, finding hold in the smallest crevice. The continuous lap of waves, and the endless rising and falling tides shape the landscape, carving out deep fissures and smooth pools. 

The above photo is of Lacy Falls, now mostly dry. Fresh water in the Broughtons is tannic, or deeply stained by decaying vegetation in the forests. In turn, the water stains the stone. 

Some of these rocky islets resembled huge sleeping beasts, prone on the sea floor, their backs curving above the water level, with a heavy growth of barnacles below the high tide line. Doesn't the above photo remind you of vertebrae?

I didn't arrive at any exciting breakthrough in my thinking, and I actually got so desperate to read by the end that I did manage, in small bits, to read another novel. I chose the largest and clearest font and had very strained eyes by the end of it, but it was worth it. I can't imagine not being able to read, and I'm so, so thankful for my eyesight. 

As soon as we arrived where there was cell coverage, I called my eye clinic and made an appointment. The new glasses should be here next week. So it's been a week of not much reading at home, too. I do have a pair of very old lenses that help somewhat, but reading and computer work isn't very comfortable. 

Lesson learned - get a strap for my glasses on the boat.  

If you're still here I thought you might like to see my little galley. The shelf next to the water faucet folds down to create more space in the cabin. There's a sink, a two-burner propane stove, and a small oven. A few cupboards. On the other side of the doorway (the frame is just visible) is a chest freezer/fridge. For long trips we use it as a freezer, for meat, bread and making ice, and have a well-insulated cooler for a fridge. We change the ice daily and were able to keep milk fresh the entire time we were out.

We eat well. One day Tim caught a small halibut and cleaned it on shore while a mink watched him from behind a rock. The scraps were left for the mink and we enjoyed a delicious dinner of fresh halibut in Alfredo sauce (from a jar), sauteed zucchini, and cauliflower mash. We also have a small barbecue and cook much of our meat there. 

In the late afternoon, when the sun streams down, we might go for a little exploration in the dinghy and come back to a cold drink. I brought along a pot of fresh herbs - mint, basil, and parsley. A little mint, muddled with lime, with a bit of simple syrup, topped off with chilled club soda made a refreshing drink. 

I brought along a bag of frozen, raw, chocolate chip cookies and baked them one morning when we were waiting for the tide to change to enter a lagoon. What a treat to have with hot chocolate. 

Here's one last photo of rocks - with a bear! He was heading off into the trees after foraging on the rocky shore. 

Reading - is it like breathing for you, too?


  1. I don't know what I would do without books. Ever since I could reaf I have never stopped. I'm so grateful that the RNIB provide Talking books for my husband, as he would be lost without the written word.
    So sorry about your glasses, a strap is a VERY good idea!

    1. I felt very lost and quite unlike myself when I couldn't read. Even now I wander around a lot, wishing I had them.

  2. Sorry about your glasses but look at all you could still see, such a gorgeous trip.

  3. I would feel angst without glasses. But I think it would be good for me to have some do nothing time, and in a place such as you were in, it could be quite pleasant. It reminds me of a quote both my husband and father say "Sometimes I sit and think and sometimes I just sit." Someone in our family has lost similar glasses jumping off a boat house in haste, forgetting those glasses were on. Quite upsetting, but years later it makes a good story to tell.

  4. Yes I love to read! I have only read one of the books you mentioned and really enjoyed it. The Little Paris Bookshop. What a great trip you had!

  5. This is a lovely post Lorrie - when I look at the rock images it makes me wish that I had a greater understanding of exactly how they were formed all those millions of years ago.
    I am sorry you lost your glasses - glasses are so expensive to day, and I hope that you can claim for them on your insurance.
    How lucky you were to catch that bear ambling off into the trees.
    I am hoping that I may have solved the problem as to why I was receiving all of your commenters emails in my in box, which was very strange. I noticed on your comment box that there is a small box which says Notify me, and although I did not tick it, it was. Fingers crossed that everything will be alright this time.

    1. I'm glad the comment problem has been solved, Rosemary. This world of technology is not as straightforward as some would have us think.
      My glasses are not covered by insurance and my only consolation is that I needed new lenses anyway, but I was hoping to use the frames again, as I really liked them. C'est la vie!

  6. Your photos of the rocks are amazing and I love the Shakespeare quote. Many years ago my husband lost his glasses when he leaned over the edge of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and they fell off his nose. They landed on a ledge, way out of reach, so he took off his belt, leaned out and used the buckle to hook them back up! x

  7. You write so well, Lorrie. I feel like I was right there on your trip with you! The photos are spectacular. To catch fish and eat it within hours must be a surprise for the tastebuds. But I know you myst enjoy a lot of seafood in your neck of the woods.

    Sorry about those glasses. I never even bother with sunglasses. As meticulous as I am, I always lose them.


  8. OH- I LOVE to read. I am lucky because I can see to read (or any close work) but need glasses to see things clearly if they are at any distance. I just read the transcripts of Lizzie Borden's fascinating really. Also, one that stuck in my head is Woman In the Window. Quite good and a "different" kind of read.

    We used to have a boat that we pretty much lived on in the summer. My husband still says that was the best cooking I ever did and had the most limited space to do it in.

    Glad you enjoyed yourself. xo Diana

  9. Dear Lorrie, Just in time...the reading list. I was wondering where I could find a few good books to read while flying over the big pond..
    I'm sorry about your glasses. I can read without but can't see much in the distance. I don't know what is worse.
    Your boat trips always look and sound so very special. Your drawing is explanations needed.

    1. I'm so thankful for medical science that enables all of us (or most) to see well. Enjoy your trip over the pond.

  10. Sorry about your glasses, your photos are spectacular, and what a wonderful adventure you enjoying.
    Thanks for sharing.

  11. YES! And I was skipping through your photos just to find out what you did. I would hate for that to happen! And you have so many good books to read....some on my reading list. I read on my iPAD a lot now and at least I could enlarge my font. But oh how I depend on my glasses for reading! Glad you have some 'on the way'! And I'll go back now and enjoy your photos! Hugs!

  12. I'd be lost without my glasses -- but I'm less likely than you to take them off and tuck them in a pocket -- and I'm near-sighted enough that I could probably manage to read a book without them, although I suspect my neck would be strained. . .
    Your photos make me wish for a sweet little boat to sail our local waters -- I'll have to settle for re-reading M. Wylie Blanchet's The Curve of Time for the umpteenth time.

  13. That's too bad about your glasses and your missed reading opportunities but the scenery was spectacular. Your galley looks very efficient. I just finished The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughters, a Canadian novel, set on Lake Superior. It was an okay used bookstore find. Boat, beach or pool book.

    Right now, I don't need any glasses. It is very strange after 55+ years of wearing them. Your freshly caught fish looks delicious.

  14. Oh yes it is like breathing to me! I could certainly feel your anguish when those glasses fell overboard. I would have been crying. Vacation and not be able to indulge in hours of reading? And it is a true mark of love that your husband felt so badly for you too.

    But you did have that magnificent scenery to help make up for it somewhat. And I'm so glad to be seeing a picture of your galley kitchen! I love it! And I do enjoy so much reading about the meals you prepared on board.

  15. Oh I’d hate not being able to read! I had a hard time when I had a cataract! I read everything -books, magazines, online....

    Your photos are lovely, and I enjoyed seeing your galley!

  16. When you said part way down your post "If you're still here...". Of course we were still there, we were hanging onto every word.

    Loved, loved your post and all your gorgeous stories. And super gorgeous photos. We were sorry to hear about your eyeglasses. I would be a wretched person without mine. Except I can read without my glasses, it's just distance that I would be seeing wonky.

    Your reading list looks most interesting -- I'll have to see what I can scout up for some lighter summer reading. Reading is my life (in response to your question).

    Thanks for giving us such a pleasant glimpse of your boating trip and a peek into your galley.

    Brenda xox

  17. PS. What a perfect quote from Shakespeare!!

  18. Oh I’m feeling for you Lorrie. I can only imagine how frustrating no glasses must be. Just think how lovely it will be once the new pair arrive. I love your little galley kitchen and am in wonder of your inventive meals.
    Such beautiful rock formations and a bear! What a brilliant holiday. B x

  19. I feel your pain Lorrie, what an ordeal a trip without glasses. You certainly have taken us on an amazing trip. Some of those rock formations were a joy and a bear...does it get any better?

  20. Oh dear! I am lost without my readers and have lost many pairs. Now I have several in the house...upstairs in the sewing room, downstairs in the laundry, hanging on the fridge, at the piano, and at each sitting area. It would be very expensive to have prescription glasses everywhere as this absent-minded me must do. I would miss reading, though it is not like breathing to me as much as it is to you.

    What beauty you enjoy out on the boat. Your descriptions bring it all to life as well as the pics. In fact, thank you for the word description only of Tim’s cleaning the fish with a shadow watching.

    Hope that those glasses arrive very soon!

  21. Yes, I too enjoy reading … especially when on vacation.
    I'm sorry about your glasses, hope your new ones are here very soon.

    I did enjoy all of your photographs, and your food sounds and looks delicious.

    My good wishes

    All the best Jan

  22. Great capture of the bear Lorrie! The rock formations are amazing. Sorry your glasses took a dive - cute sketch - so frustrating being without them. I can't see a thing when reading small print but manage with just regular readers I buy in packs of three at Costco! They are inexpensive and I have them all over the house - except for some reason they usually all end up in the same room!!!

    Take care - Mary

  23. Sorry to hear about your glasses, Lorrie. I can't function without my glasses and usually bring an extra pair with me when I'm travelling.

    Your kitchen galley is so cute! I may have to try the halibut and Alfredo sauce combo one day. I'm also intrigued by the Totem Poles and Tea book...

  24. So sorry that happened. Ive learned from you! KNITTING is like breathing to me. I have started to listen to audio books while I knit. Im waiting for ENDURANCE by the astronaut Scott Kelly (usa)

  25. Oh indeed reading IS as necessary as breathing... so sorry you lost your 'eyes'. mostly use my Kindle now(although somehow I always feel a bit ashamed to admit that) because it is easier to carry everywhere -- i have the kind that fits in my small handbag. A good thing is that the print enlarges with a fingertip , so even if my reading glasses are forgotten I can still read (since cataract surgery and correction of astigmatism along with it, I only need drug-store readers). A bad thing is, it is a little scary to take my Kindle on our boat, but I do it anyway of course. I use a 'froggy" on my sunglasses because I'm always worried about dropping them overboard. Last winter, I lost my telephone when it slipped out of my hand as I was getting back on the boat at a Florida marina. Almost (but not quite) as great a tragedy as yours. I loved the look at the inside of your floating vacation home! And the wonderful scenery. And the food!


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