Jul 17, 2006

INSIDE PASSAGE, Alaska: Humpback whales spyhop alongside the MV Columbia. Their spray blossoms like wild flowers upon the waves.

The Marine Highway – the world's longest ferry service – has lessons for me. Its wisdom is slow, majestic, just like our procession up the passage.

John Muir, the grandpappy of conservation, was driven to new heights of hyperbole here. This landscape made him “contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop … flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty,” he wrote in the 1915 classic Travels in Alaska.

My primer is equally primal. Sprawled on the recliner, I'm writing a piece for Single State of the Union, an anthology edited by hometown gal Diane Mapes (Seal Press 2007). I have three short days to unveil some insight about my cut-rate Martha Gellhorn lifestyle.

Instant Epiphany: Just Add Water!

Sandra – a British retiree – and I sneak Screw Cappa Nappa Merlot on a deserted side deck. Bollards double as bar stools, right before the rail. As fishing villages slide past, we muse on love and adventure and the happy point where both intersect.

The bar's jukebox plays Kinky Friedman's They Ain't Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore, as pompadoured Elvii peer from the velvet-flocked walls. I talk airplane safety with a Boeing engineer, dive bars with his daughter.

But Ron, a San Diegan classic car buff, supplies the trip's takeaway line: "My dad's dating advice, 'it's not the one you can live with, it's the one you can't live without.'"


Someday, somewhere, I'll find a partner, perhaps. A man to adventure along beside me or at least comb my hair when I stumble home sick. And reassure me that the loneliness, the long hours, the financial Russian roulette are worth all these weak words.

Or – harder yet – maybe I'll learn to hold myself safe. Content in this moment, not reaching greedy for the next, not always going, going, going simply to get gone.


  1. Anonymous1:57 PM

    Kinky for governor! Texas needs the Kinkster!

  2. Hope you can back that talk up with a Lone Star State vote, son...