Treading Water

I read a true story in which a fisherman was swept off course and out to sea in a small boat. Over the course of many months he traversed nearly the entirety of the Pacific Ocean, drifting west from the coast of Mexico. Before coming to rest on a patch of land in a distant archipelago, he found himself in some harrowing situations during which he was required to exit the boat, to gather food, make a repair, salvage flotsam, or just to cool himself. The fisherman, of course, in doing so exposed himself to all kinds of dangers, most notably shark attack, but more frighteningly, the prospect of being separated from his sole source of hope – his boat. On one occasion, he did lose contact with the boat. He lost hold, and it drifted farther from his grasp with each wave, as he had not the strength to overtake it by swimming. By mere luck, the end of the boat’s coiled painter had flopped into the water, and his hand strayed against its trailing end as he floundered in the current. He grabbed the rope and was able to pull himself hand-over-hand back to the boat, and reclaim his place huddled on the deck.

That is what it feels like to miss more than one day of posting here. One day gone by is enough to make me feel uncomfortably removed from my committment to do this thing. After a second day, I sense the gap widening, and I begin to panic, not at all certain that I will be able grab hold of the gunnel as it bobs increasingly beyond my reach. If a third day should pass, I suspect that I would cease my watery thrashing, and helplessly watch the vessel disappear beyond the growing peaks of marching waves.

This may be a hyperbolic metaphor, but it seems to me an apt one. To set aside diligence and consistency in favor of laziness and excuses, is to allow the Sea of Sloth to sweep away that which I might accomplish. I can allow myself to fall one day behind, and (despite the danger) still feel confident in my ability to catch up. But after two days, I am worried. Day three would almost certainly bring me to an “eh, forget it – I’ll never catch up” state of mind.

Thus, I am dog paddling today – keeping myself afloat and within reach, makimg sure this craft does not float away beyond the horizon to become yet another ghost-ship defunct blog.

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