Monday, September 30, 2013

No Pictures

There are no pictures of the rainy days. Wet doesn’t show up well on camera. There are also no pictures of the way tepid, filthy dishwater feels on my hands when there are only 6 dishes left and the water tanks are empty, and heating up more means walking to the outside spigot, lugging bottles of water back, and boiling it in my kettle. There are no pictures of the not-enough-room, one-at-a-time getting ready, the days we are all trying to go somewhere at once, but as soon as anyone gets ready, she sits down to wait and next thing we know, everyone is sitting down and no one goes anywhere. There are definitely no pictures of the way week-old, wet, dirty laundry smells in the sail bag at the head of my bed. There are no pictures of the constant shuffle of too many things, of not quite enough room for everything-in-its-place. No pictures of the digging, when what you want is always at the bottom, in the back, down at the foot of the bed, behind the settee cushions. There are no pictures of no room on the couch, no room on the counter, no room in the sink. No picture of “What if the Coast Guard closes the bar?” or “What if we run out of fuel?” or “What if the engine dies right here?”
But there are also no pictures of the laughter when one of the kids says something truly funny in the middle of a hard moment. No pictures of the way it tastes when we share our last bit of chocolate. No picture of the feeling of accomplishment from sailing into anchor without using the engine. We can never seem to capture the joy of family game night, all of us tucked in tight around the table. It’s always too wobbly to get a shot of our traditional “Popcorn in the Pacific.” I can’t post a picture of crawling into a warm, dry, still bed after a night at sea. Pictures of new friends don’t ever capture the joy of meeting them and the fast connections forged over common experiences or shared viewpoints. There is no way to photograph the girls’ growing confidence as they capably and (almost always) cheerfully take on the challenges of sailing, navigating, lugging groceries, or exploring new places. There are no pictures of a year of days with Bryan, no photos of the power of facing a challenge together and together, accomplishing what we could not do alone. 
This blog is curated, of course. If not, the internet would collapse under the weight of the boredom. But if my blog posts seem to portray our life as ideal, a romantic fantasy, a relaxing vacation, please re-read the first paragraph. And if you start to wonder, as I sometimes do, why in the world we would subject ourselves to the discomfort and, yes, the danger, of our current lifestyle, please know there is no way to capture the whole difficult, frustrating, breathtaking, glorious, tedious, life-changing picture.


  1. Your words are worth more than a thousand pictures. We can use our imaginations for the visuals. Thanks for this taste of family life at sea. Love you....and miss you!

  2. So beautifully true there are tears in my eyes. Thank you Bethany.