What’s Next?

Solace rafted to Yahtzee when they stopped by for a visit to see my Decatur Island property.

Solace rafted to Yahtzee when they stopped by for a visit to see my Decatur Island property.

As I came out of Lopez Pass this afternoon I saw a large Steller Sea Lion pop out of the water about 200 yards off my bow. He had the tail of a large salmon in his mouth. Steller Sea Lions are large creatures, equivalent in size to a large black bear or a small grizzly. As his head reached about 6 feet above the water, he quickly turned and smashed the flat side of the girthy salmon against the surface of the water. I can only theorize that this was some instinct to pacify the salmon. Even if I’m wrong, it was an impressive display.

When the sea lion surfaced again, I swear it had a smile on its face. He took a long breath, cast a furtive glance at my approaching boat, and disappeared below the surface. I never saw it again. The peace of another daily miracle washed over me.

I haven’t written much lately. One reason is lack of time. Between my job and freelancing and building a shed on Decatur Island, my raw creative free time has been severely attenuated. However, I have had enough time to enjoy some grade ‘A’ blog writing by Andy Cross, Emily Greenberg, and Carrot Quinn.

The property has been mowed and the columns for my 200 sq ft shed are in place, ready for a roof.

The property has been mowed and the columns for my 200 sq ft shed are in place, ready for a roof.

The other big reason I haven’t written much is because I don’t know what to write about. Instead of a righteous passion that I channel into written words, I feel the empty void of indecision. I feel out of touch. Disconnected. Aloof.

To be perfectly honest, I started this blog out of frustration. It was self help. It was my way to identify and crystallize the frustrations in my life; all the subtle contradictions in modern life that kept me from finding peace. Over the last four years I worked through all my issues. I didn’t so much conquer my demons, as embrace them. I’ve accepted my mortality, limitations, and baggage. I found my contours of enough. And my whole process is documented here on the blog.

So what does one write about when they are content with life? Zen masters make poor storybook characters. Peace is deliciously boring.

What do you, dear reader, want to hear about?

I feel so out of touch with the rest of the world. It’s not surprising. I don’t watch TV or listing to the radio. I spend the majority of my time away from land or on a remote island. I’ve tried my best to shun the noisy circus that has become the presidential election.

The few glimpses I let myself take of ‘normal’ people doing ‘normal’ things are full of petty consumerism, superficial gossip, and everything I’ve moved out to the islands to avoid. It’s true what Thoreau said: “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” I know, I was one of them. But no more. How can my life lessons help others?

I have a bookmark list I keep of podcasts and documentaries for the rare occasions that I have both free time and a high-bandwidth internet connection. I had this great documentary bookmarked for a while and just got around to watching it.

The spirit of what those people are doing is exactly what I’m trying to achieve with my property on Decatur Island. I’m following the tenants of true wealth. I dove head first into the tight-knit island community and have been awed by the benevolence and like-mindedness of the hardy residents that I’ve interacted with so far.

The funny thing is that there is very little uncertainty in my mind about homesteading my bare piece of land. I keep expecting it to creep up on me, but the shed will be done soon and the property has been mowed back into submission. Whether it’s building a log cabin or a solar power system, it’s all stuff I’ve done before. I have so much to teach, but no one to teach it to.

So I ask again: What do you, dear reader, want to hear about?

Related posts:

Mushrooms at Home and in the Wild!
Sailing Hibernation
Tiny Floating Homes
9 Responses to “What’s Next?”
  1. Andy Cross says:

    Love the picture of Yahtzee and Solace. Just think about the adventures you’ve had recently aboard and on your new property and it will flow. You, me, Magnus and Porter in that raucous yet completely doable wind event might be a good start.

    • Chris says:

      Yea, that was totally crazy. And pretty serendipitous. As a result of that little (mis)adventure of ours I’ve got 300 feet of new anchor rode and all new dock lines. I can’t wait to show the park to Jill… and I didn’t even tell you about the golf course.

  2. Mike McCollough says:

    Much about life is our daily going ons and how we deal with them. There is always a beginning in there somewhere and the rest will follow. $.02

  3. emily says:

    Thanks for this, Troutner!!! I didn’t realize until now. Just back on the blog band wagon. Boat’s coming out of the water this week, didn’t make it off the lake this year, not sure if I will keep this boat or look for another but for now I’ll be living on a fully function homestead in the VT countryside, one mile from the boatyard, and waitressing/freelancing for the much needed cash injection for the cruising kitty and repairs. So STOKED on your property and plans for both it and the boat. Big hug.

  4. I want your little stories, your daily doings, and what you think of when you do nothing. Take me to your life, teach me what you know.

  5. Stormy says:

    I was just accosted by pirates with whiskey and beers. Good people, I think they are headed your way…

  6. Nathan says:

    As a newish(2.5yrs) homesteader/hunter/fisherman on Lopez I’m looking for the low scale, low cost, high connection ways of eating and living in these parts. I have gardening/orcharding down (I’m a Permaculture designer), and eat plenty of rabbit, venison, the odd racoon, and never turn my nose up at pink salmon. Being a kayak fisherman I’m always looking for the close in, to Lopez, spots to drop my line, and any techniques or info that only comes from folks who are doing it. Anything about sufficiency floats my boat though.

    • Chris says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Nathan. I plan to write quite a bit on topics of food preservation and harvesting in these parts.

      Do you have a blog? If not, you should start one. It sounds like you have a lot of valuable information to share.

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