Sailing on snow, camped in dozered parking lots, we have a history now. We’re getting to know one another. At New Year’s it looked so left alone and forgotten on the launch pad, and it was. Head and heart with the martyrs in El Salvador, after a month with Obispo Gómez and the cruz subversiva. Reading Cartas a Ellacuria by Jon Sobrino, one letter a year for 15 years to his slain colleague, keeping his brother and his Jesuit family alive in words. I’d look up from the page and see the ship sitting on its wheels evenly balanced on extended jacks, and cold in low light. My son had called for a week in the Canadian Rockies in March, but how to do it, that’s what we have done. I had to know how to keep us warm, and what about those winterized pipes? Would we carry water? Would we run the toilet? Our family still carrying traumas from last year had me wondering if my direction was really escape. At White Pass the first practice night came on the coldest night of winter. The generator had to be plugged into itself, I know, I know, by a complicated setup I didn’t understand, that required a forced bending of the cord at a 90° angle, outside the camper in subzero weather, and it took all the strength from my left hand, activating the arthritis. It had me in tears, and then the generator gobbled propane all night. I was so proud of myself inside with the heat on, writing in my notebook, reading Dosteovsky’s Karamazov, and the sautéed cod was delicious. Crawling into bed, I thought, oh, these cotton sheets are cold. They had refrigerated themselves in December while waiting for this night, kept cold by the covers, not warmed one degree by the propane running through the mothership’s small furnace. Sometime after midnight I wrapped my feet in my long underwear, still proud of the one notebook poem I’d written before turning in. Too much coffee, too many concerns. Up to pee or check the batteries every 30 minutes. How could I take this boat to the Canadian Rockies? How I could spend ten nights with my adult son, or him with me, seemed outside the dream. Sister Sadie Sadie never got comfortable and stirred every time I stirred. The bathroom, un-insulated, and over the extended bed of the pickup, created its own cramped world of dread and cold. I was a long way from figuring this out. I had had enough of trying to sleep before first light, but at 4:40, or thereabouts, I told myself that I’d made it through the night. I turned on the generator, turned up the furnace, and put the coffee water on. I would get one cup of coffee before the propane ran out. It didn’t feel as though the creation of literature is what I was about. The month in El Salvador with the rains from Hurricane Ida disappeared from my consciousness. Habitat for Humanity. The house Karen and I had worked on internalized rebar to withstand earthquakes. Solar panels installed on the roof of the mothership proved to be the major answer of my winter camping problems, but they would be worked out one-by-one over the next two months practicing in the mountains. My entitlement questions would accompany me in the cab of the storytruck. This is winter. This is how I prepared and practiced. Storypath/Cuentocamino. Going north with my son.

Jim Bodeen

2 April 2010

1 comment:

  1. Love this. The reality vs the dream. Always the issue. Hope all the quirks are worked out before I go somewhere with you in the Mothership. (just kidding). Carrying your own shelter and sustenance seems like the ultimate luxury, convenience, security to me. Like a turtle. Yet, there are things to work out. There always are.