Not the first place I communed with nature (is that now illegal?), but a most special place. The University of Washington had a grove that was surrounded by trees, where the original columns of the University were located. Since this grove was not a shortcut to anyplace, it was secluded and on a campus of 30,000 daily students, that’s not so easily done.
But it provided a peaceful place to commune with nature, think of the wonders of the world and a few times, commiserate with a girl on the special path that once brought us together, but was now going in different directions. A grove full of beauty, but also melancholy.
In those days, the ‘70’s, what really made Seattle special was the ability to go in virtually any direction and find solitude, big trees and at worst, the occasional logging truck. Many a night was spent driving around Mt. Rainier. In those days, the mountain passes were kept open, yet at the same time, there was virtually no traffic after 9 p.m. so it was a quick four hour trip. By the time I left the UW 4 years later, there were few roads not traveled.
But the first place I communed with nature was not in Washington State nor the University of Washington, but instead in Washington Square Park, in the middle of a little place called Greenwich Village. I’d ride my bike to the park and read James Fenimore Cooper, propped up against a tree. I couldn’t be in the Adirondacks, so for a City kid, this is as good as it got. Somewhat of a loner in high school, high school was chore to get done. One of the reasons I think I was a good high school teacher, I understood the angst that high school brings to most kids.
Then as a principal, everything I did was to put kids first; the push-back from some teachers was intense and virulent, in a personal way that I had never experienced before, that people outside the system would find shocking. But it was the right battle to have at the right time and I had a wonderful team of teachers who supported kids and their learning.
Though It did get me to Dauntless, sooner, rather than later. Fate is like that, a sweet kiss on the cheek as it smacks you on the ass.
So now I commune with nature on the seven seas. Trading the damp smell of earth, the multitudes of forest green: ferns and grass, needles and leaves for the rhythmic swell of the ocean, whispering of storms far away, while dolphins frolic in our bow wave.
I’m an eclectic person, who grew up in New York, lived overseas for many years and have a boat, Dauntless, a 42 foot Kadey Krogen trawler yacht. Dauntless enables me to not only live in many different parts of the world, but to do it in a way that is interesting, affordable, with the added spice of a challenge.
Dauntless also allows me to be in touch with nature. As the boat glides through the ocean, you have a sense of being part of a living organism. When dolphins come to frolic, they stay longer if you are out there talking to them, watching them. Birds come by, sometimes looking for a handout; sometimes grateful to find a respite from their long journey.
I grew up on the New York waterfront, in the West Village, when everything west of Hudson St. was related to shipping and cargo from around the world. For a kid, it was an exciting place of warehouses, trucks, and working boats of all kinds: tugs and the barges and ships, cargo and passenger, they were pushing around.
My father was an electrical engineer, my mother an intellectual, I fell in between.
I have always been attracted to Earth’s natural processes, the physical sciences. I was in 8th grade when I decided to be a Meteorologist.
After my career in meteorology, my natural interest in earth sciences: geology, astronomy, geography, earth history, made it a natural for me to become a science teacher in New York City, when I moved back to the Big Apple. Teaching led to becoming a high school principal to have the power to truly help kids learn and to be successful not only in school but in life.
Dauntless is in western Europe now. In May and June, I will be wrapping up the last two years in northern Europe, heading south to spend the rest of the year in Spain & Portugal.
Long term, I’m planning on returning to North American in the fall of 2017 and from there continuing to head west until we’re in Northeast Asia, Japan and South Korea, where we will settle for a bit.
But now, my future lies not in NY or even Europe, but back to the water, where at night, when the winds die down, there is no noise, only the silence of the universe. I feel like I am at home, finally.
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4 thoughts on “Forests & Oceans”
Enjoyed your thoughts, struck a chord with me, as I enjoyed similar experiences at the University of Tennessee. Hoping too I can mirror a few of your experiences on Dauntless. Will be in Stuart for the Krogen open house (2nd time) next week hoping to acquire my Dauntless. Got a lot to learn for sure. Hope you keep these posts coming. Patrick Hughes, Knoxville Tn.
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The picture of the columns has special meaning for me too. I don’t know that we ever talked about it. It was my sanctuary. The quiet place where I could be all by myself on a campus that scared me. I love especially to go there in the rain and reflect and breathe and enjoy the solitude. We may have crossed paths there who knows…..xoxob
We met the third month into our four years, I would have remembered you had I seen you there.
Wait a second, those pictures I posted I took with YOU when we also checked out Lander Hall a few years ago.
But it occurs to me that I did not discover it until I met the nurse.
Two ships padding in the night.