Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was concerned about a problem my wife was having.  She went  for a CAT scan last week and yesterday she had an internal exam.  Thankfully, the problem is a benign cyst.  She was in some discomfort last night from all the poking and prodding, but relieved that there was nothing more serious. 

For a few moments over these couple of weeks,  I had let my mind project "what if" scenarios: What if she has cancer? What if I lose her?  And I actually wondered whether her drinking for so many years would now be manifesting itself in serious health issues. Thankfully, I didn't dwell on any of that for long.  I know that whatever happens, we will deal with it.  And that it is much better for me to simply live in the day and not concoct something that has not happened. 

We both have excellent medical care.  We get lots of exercise, staying mentally and physically active.  I think that having ones good health is a precious thing. In fact, that is one of the reasons that I never smoked or drank much--I wanted to keep myself in good physical and mental condition.  I don't focus on the aches and pains that happen from sailing, gardening, and a lot of other physical activity that I do.  Instead I keep the muscles going.  I plan to eek as much out of life as I can by being physically fit.

Today, I am getting an old aluminum john boat ready for a trip to Cape Romain Lighthouse tomorrow.  We will be using the john boat, Oardacity, as a tender for the sailboat.  I have rebuilt the transom and today will put a block of styrofoam floatation under each seat. 

Our plan is to go up the ICW as far as we can tomorrow, anchor for the night and then proceed the rest of the way to a deep creek near McClellanville where we will anchor.  The ICW or "ditch" as it is unaffectionately known is shallow and not really suited for the sailboat whose draft is fairly deep.  I will try not to mud bog her. 

Once we get to Five Fathom creek, we can then take the john boat and meander through the creeks to get to Cape Romain Light on Saturday where an old fellow we know will be opening it up.  He was born at the lighthouse, and Saturday is his birthday. 

I am looking forward to taking lots of photos, touring the old lighthouse, and hopefully hearing some stories about what it was like to grow up there.  This fellow will be celebrating 80 years on Saturday.  His health is not good and his temperament even worse.  But it is a chance to capture a piece of this Lowcountry landscape that I so love.  And a chance to hear some stories of what it was like to be a kid growing up with the birds and the water and marsh as your entertainment.  I am reminded of one of my favorite poems:

 It was my thirtieth year to heaven
     Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
        And the mussel pooled and the heron
                Priested shore
           The morning beckon
     With water praying and call of seagull and rook
     And the knock of sailing boats on the webbed wall
           Myself to set foot
                That second
        In the still sleeping town and set forth.

        My birthday began with the water-
     Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name
        Above the farms and the white horses
                And I rose
            In a rainy autumn
     And walked abroad in shower of all my days
     High tide and the heron dived when I took the road
            Over the border
                And the gates
        Of the town closed as the town awoke.

        A springful of larks in a rolling
     Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling
        Blackbirds and the sun of October
            On the hill's shoulder,
     Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly
     Come in the morning where I wandered and listened
            To the rain wringing
                Wind blow cold
        In the wood faraway under me.

        Pale rain over the dwindling harbour
     And over the sea wet church the size of a snail
        With its horns through mist and the castle
                Brown as owls
             But all the gardens
     Of spring and summer were blooming in the tall tales
     Beyond the border and under the lark full cloud.
             There could I marvel
                My birthday
        Away but the weather turned around.

        It turned away from the blithe country
     And down the other air and the blue altered sky
        Streamed again a wonder of summer
                With apples
             Pears and red currants
     And I saw in the turning so clearly a child's
     Forgotten mornings when he walked with his mother
             Through the parables
                Of sunlight
        And the legends of the green chapels

        And the twice told fields of infancy
     That his tears burned my cheeks and his heart moved in mine.
        These were the woods the river and the sea
                Where a boy
             In the listening
     Summertime of the dead whispered the truth of his joy
     To the trees and the stones and the fish in the tide.
             And the mystery
                Sang alive
        Still in the water and singing birds.

        And there could I marvel my birthday
     Away but the weather turned around. And the true
        Joy of the long dead child sang burning
                In the sun.
             It was my thirtieth
        Year to heaven stood there then in the summer noon
        Though the town below lay leaved with October blood.
             O may my heart's truth
                Still be sung
        On this high hill in a year's turning.
"Poem in October" by Dylan Thomas


  1. covered a lot in this blog entry, Syd. I hope you have a wonderful "tour" in your boat.
    As to the health issue, I know that more than 20 years of sobriety has helped tremendously in my overall health. Although I didn't get sober until I was 56 it has still halted a lot of the bad stuff that old age gives to us.

  2. Oh my - - - such a delightful message to open up to first thing! Your message, as well as the beautiful poem - - - needs no comment! Just lovely, lovely, lovely. Now, I shall go about my mundane chores with a bit of joy in my heart.

    Anonymous #1

  3. Thank you for such wonderful ESH. May the sunlight of the spirit always with be with ya'll...many blessings!


  4. I love Dylan Thomas. You have great taste.

    I am so relieved to hear about C.

    Love you,


  5. Good to hear the health issues were benign.

    I'm playing catch up on my blogs today and really get a sense of peace in reading you. You have a wonderful way with words.

    Enjoy your tour!

  6. Even if it isn't pleasant a reason to think about how important someone is in your life serves a purpose. My sister recently had a blood test come back strange and I did the same thing. It turned out fine but it made me think about working a little harder on our relationship.

  7. nice...loved the dylan thomas poem...i am glad it was not more serious...medical problems can cause some serious stress, especially when the imagination gets hold of it...hope you have a great trip syd...

  8. I'm glad the health issue is not too serious. I know borrowing trouble from tomorrow with "what ifs" has never helped me. Have a wonderful trip. God speed.

  9. Amazing. These pictures, these words, this very, very good news.
    Try not to mud bog it but if you do, I know that you know that the tide will come back in. Such a good thing to remember in so many ways.

  10. What a poem. What a wonderful piece of work to leave us with.
    Something about this line turned my whole day around, Syd:
    "And the true Joy of the long dead child sang burning In the sun."
    Enjoy your journey.

  11. I love this post, the honesty of your life, and the poem fits those of us who are in the autumn of our lives. Those birthdays come hard and fast, don't they?

    I smiled at your "eek", and pictured the tiniest of mice also eking out a humble living in its later years...

  12. So glad to hear that your wife is out of the woods. Still working through an issue myself that is definitely not a cyst but doesn't appear to be malignant. I can appreciate your angst. The whole 'wait and see' scenario is exhausting.

    I will keep her in my thoughts.

  13. This is beautiful, and the right thing for me to hear. Thank you.

  14. I am glad that it was just a begin cyst.enjoy your trip to the Lighthouse.

  15. I read your follow up post before I read this Syd. May you remember the last three lines of your favorite Poem.

    O may my heart's truth

    Still be sung

    On this high hill in a year's turning.


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