‘I Sing the Body Electric’ from “Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman

[Above photo: This morning’s sunrise from my front porch.]

9 September 2018

At 78, it is very rarely 220v. Occasionally 110v. More often 12v or 6v. Sometimes a dead battery but it recharges easily and everything starts to work again.

I decided to paddle to South Brooksville (6.5mi) to buy the Sunday NY Times and have a cup of coffee. It was a rash decision, as I haven’t been in a kayak for over a year and there are stretches of open water between here and there. And there and here, on return. I had a northerly headwind, with corresponding oppositional tidal currents and confused waves, on the inbound trip so it took 3 hours and a lot of effort. Returning the wind, waves, and current were all on my beam, sweeping me out to sea and I had to compensate for it but I took only 2 hours. I consequently feel pretty beat. I had some moments of anxiety since after Labor Day there are few boats on the Bay and if I went in I’d probably have a 50-50 chance of surviving/dying of exposure. But the kayak, which I built 20 years ago from a Chesapeake Light Craft kit, is so well designed that I never had a moment when I was near capsize. In fact, I found myself leading a meditation exercise, which I used to do for the group at Seneca Center, and just humming along nicely.

Penobscot Bay is so lovely, dotted with small, spruce-covered, rock-bound islands. The water is particularly clear this year. And the smell of the water—it is so clean and, well, elevating. Inspirational, actually. I saw two pair of Osprey, one on Hogg Island and one on the approach to Bucks Harbor. I much prefer them to Bald Eagles. The Osprey are nimble; they hover, and fish for a living. (Perhaps as someone who was on the small side, formerly nimble, and a hard worker I identify with them.) An Eagle often will harass an Osprey, forcing the latter to drop a fish it has caught so the Eagle can eat it. The Eagle may be a more realistic symbol of American aims and deeds but I could wish our national bird were more industrious, like an Osprey or a Hummingbird. Magnificence, like size, is overrated: to wit, DT.  As I paddled along a lobsterman was pulling his traps and waved to me. It is Sunday; neither of us seem to have grasped that day of rest idea. Nor has Linda, who is on a 13 mile training run today for her marathon.

After the Vineyard, I went to Boston and stayed with Rachael, Linda’s daughter, and her family. Amelia (starting kindergarten) and James (2+) are as cute as possible. They had a cake with a single candle in it and sang me “Happy Birthday”, which was very sweet. Oh, to start over at 1, knowing what I now know!

I picked up Linda at Logan the next night; she had an epic tale to tell about schlepping her many bags, trains being cancelled, helpful strangers, and so forth. Then I visited my brother and his wife, Charles and Susan, in Brunswick and got their family news and grilled salmon, which I have been craving. Finally, I arrived in Bangor where Ariane, my daughter, met me and I turned in the rental car. We chatted away; I haven’t seen her in 3 ½ years. She was very friendly and seems happy to have settled in Maine.

It does feel a bit strange that Linda is in her house in Bar Harbor and I am on the Island. But I understand, since we both have a need to settle into our own nests before resuming cohabitation. She, of course, has a lot of friends here to catch up with whereas mine are mostly elsewhere. In any case, the Island is lovely in both fresh and familiar ways. Ari will bring a friend here for a night next week and I’ll go to Linda’s for a few nights after that.

The beauty here seems timeless. I guess that’s an advantage of being on a small, family-owned summer island; growth can be controlled and it is used so lightly that our footprint is minimal. I have to see how the mussels and chanterelles are doing this year. Apparently the wild strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries on the island were over the top. I hope they don’t know something we don’t. “Let’s reproduce like crazy because the world is about to suffer mightily.” Well, Judge Kavanaugh does seem likely to be slipped through. Has anyone ever revealed less of himself in more words? We pretty much know what he’s hiding.

My attention is now turning to Burma. I’m in touch with a Child Psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins who, with his Child Psychiatrist wife, has been going to Yangon several times since 2013 to work with the medical schools.  And I am now in touch with the Head of Mental Health at Medical University Number 1, Dr. Tin Oo.  He is eager for training in Child and Adolescent Mental Health, for himself, for other psychiatry faculty, and for psychiatric nurses. I cannot believe my good fortune in having this opportunity. I can only wish I were in my early 60’s, a callow youth!

All of which is to say that I’ll try to get the domain name <apsychiatristinburma.com> on WordPress and shift my Sunday writing efforts over there. I’ll let you know when and if.

A cold, outdoor shower seems to have recharged me.


One thought on “‘I Sing the Body Electric’ from “Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman

  1. I’m still recovering from Part One of your adventure but looking forward to Part Two. Thanks for taking all of us along with you on this melodious and remarkable experience.


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