Thursday, July 23, 2015

THE CODE OF THE SEA GYPSY TRIBE

by Ray Jason


This is the conclusion of my short trilogy dealing with the Sea Gypsy Tribe in a post-Apocalyptic scenario.  In order to understand it, I would encourage you to take a few minutes and read my two prior installments entitled The Stranger Arrives and The Shattering.  Just scroll down the page and they await you.



                                              ******* 

           

Hello again, Stranger.  Our medical volunteers have informed me that yesterday, for the first time since your arrival, you were able to speak.  That delighted our tribe immensely.  However, we were even more pleased to learn that the first words that you uttered were “Thank you.” 

I was also told that your efforts to communicate seemed very painful.  So the medical staff asked me to discourage you from trying to speak until the wound below your jaw has healed more completely.  As for your efforts to write with that broken right hand of yours, we again urge you to be patient.  However, your attempts with your left hand have brought considerable amusement to all of us.  One nurse describes your scribbling as a cross between Japanese and Thai with a slight hint of Brooklyn.        



                                   *******

Friday, July 10, 2015

THE SHATTERING

by Ray Jason


This is a continuation of my fictional depiction of one possible Collapse scenario.  If you have not read my previous essay, “The Stranger Arrives,” this new one will not make much sense to you.  So it would be best if you scroll down and spend a few minutes with that piece.



                                      *******

During what our tribe calls The Descent, the initial problem was economic. But it soon became societal.  The threads of decency and compassion that normally hold the human tapestry together, disintegrated with astonishing swiftness.  In the USA, the entire population was more or less under house arrest.  The government tried curfews and martial law and gun confiscation, but they did not end the violence, they intensified it.
At this stage the trauma was limited to the United States.  It was not global.  So the big question for those who made it through the catastrophe is: How did it go from an economic and societal unraveling in one country to a global nuclear incineration?  How did The Descent become The Shattering? 

Monday, June 29, 2015

THE STRANGER ARRIVES

by Ray Jason


Welcome, Stranger!  We are the Pelican/Slocum Sea Gypsy Tribe.  I am currently our Spokesperson – a position that rotates regularly in our clan. 
Congratulations on surviving The Descent and the Shattering.  While you are regaining your strength, we will provide you food, water, shelter, medicine and perhaps most importantly - emotional comfort and reinforcement.  Your injuries are severe, particularly the wound beneath your jawbone, so please do not attempt to speak.     
When you have sufficiently recovered, we will tell you Our Story.  Then later we will describe Our Code.  If you wish to join us, there will be a probationary period during which we will evaluate your compatibility with our tribe.  Then we will convene a Council of Deciding and share our assessment with you.  If your skills and conduct seem valuable to our clan, we will happily accept you amongst us.  Should we, or you, choose otherwise then we will give you a supply of food and water as you commence again your wanderings as an Earthugee.    

                                     *******

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A VERY DIFFERENT SUMMER READING LIST

by Ray Jason

            I refer to it jokingly as “THE QUESTION.”   It used to bother me, but now it just amuses me.  Usually, it is phrased like this, “Ray, how did you get this way?”  My standard playful response is, “Are you referring to what great physical shape I am in considering my age?”  This catches them off guard, but then they continue.  “No, I mean how did you get all of these … odd … and … radical … ideas?”  If I am feeling mischievous, I might reply, “Well, my parents were professors at Berkeley in the ‘Marxism for the Masses’ department.”

            Actually, my parents were not to blame, although my Mom would certainly applaud my determination to look at life as openly as possible.  So perhaps she was an accessory to the crime.  College was not the guilty party either.  I did have a few inspirational professors, but mostly Higher Education could just as accurately be called Higher Indoctrination.  No, the guilty party was - and is - BOOKS!
            But not just any books.  I’m talking about provocative books that seem to shout from the pages, “I bet you were not aware of this?!”  Books that shake your brain like a washing machine on the “agitate” setting, until the neurons are rearranged.  Books that reveal the beauty and majesty of life, but that also expose the ugliness and injustice.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

LIFE - THE WONDER AND THE SADNESS

by Ray Jason





            Peer into this child’s eyes at your own risk.  They have haunted me for 18 months.  Every few weeks I look at this poignant image and try to decipher the message that those enormous brown eyes are sending to me - and to you - and to the world.
            I found this photo at Google Images and used it to accompany my final essay of 2013.  It is of a little gypsy girl in Romania who has just received a Christmas present from an aid worker.  It leapt out at me even though there were hundreds of other pictures.  Why did this particular one tunnel into my heart of hearts and speak to me so powerfully? 
  I have pondered this at least 20 times during the ensuing months.  But before sharing my conclusions with you, I would like you to pause for a few minutes and study this young girl.  I’d even suggest that you left click on the photo to enlarge it.  Now, what is she saying to you personally with those focused eyes and that enigmatic smile?

Monday, June 1, 2015

S G P SECOND ANNIVERSARY




Hello Everyone,

Today is my blog’s second birthday; and so I want to reach out and thank all of you far-flung friends and strangers who have encouraged me these last two years.  Having come from a performing background, where the response to one’s efforts is very immediate, it is quite different communicating in such an indirect fashion.  It can get pretty lonesome on this side of the laptop at times, so your support is dearly appreciated.  Muchas gracias, as we say down here in the Banana Latitudes!

Certainly the highlight of these past 12 months is the recent publication of a book containing some of the best essays from my site.  It has been doubly rewarding because it is the first book that Dmitry Orlov chose to publish at his new imprint, called Club Orlov Press.  It was also a great experience working so rigorously with Dmitry when he spent this springtime down here South of Many Borders.  The manuscript went through 7 or 8 drafts and the cover took 4 or 5 tries.  But we are both delighted with the finished book.  It is mysteriously entitled THE SEA GYPSY PHILOSOPHER, and if you scroll several inches down this page you can learn all about it.    

The steady growth of my blog has also been very pleasing to me.  After the first year it had received about 47,000 visits and after the second it is now up to 111,000 – so a considerable increase.  And the country count has gone from 117 up to 140.  The fact that this improvement has been made strictly through word of mouth is quite heart-warming.

I am happy to note that my blog remains commercial free - with no google ads and with no donation tab.  For you nice folks who have inquired, there will be an electronic version of the new book in the near future.  And for those of you who have been clamoring for an Amazon link to my first book, TALES OF A SEA GYPSY, I will try to get around to that soon.  It is very different from SGP.  It showcases the offbeat and funny side of my eccentric way of looking at the world and writing about it.    

Thanks again, everyone – may you all flourish in this upcoming year!

Ray

P.S. The new essay is almost finished.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A TRIBUTE TO A MASTERPIECE

by Ray Jason


In a world poisoned with sensationalism and hype, this little masterpiece entered my life quietly and without fanfare.  I did not know of it, so I did not seek it.  But it found me – and at a dark time when I needed solace.  It renewed my wounded belief in the transformative power of art.  It reminded me that a thinker/writer can touch people deeply and awaken and comfort them.

            It is called THE GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES and it is a Japanese animated film.  The title alone is steeped in the mysterious inscrutability of the Orient.  One immediately realizes that fireflies don’t get buried, so what could this mean?  But to the sensitive, caring four year old girl, who found their dead bodies in the morning, it made complete sense to give them a respectful funeral.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

S G P BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT



Hello Everyone,

I am delighted to announce that a book collection of some of my best essays has just been released.  It is being published by Dmitry Orlov at Club Orlov Press, using Amazon’s CreateSpace platform.  Because I greatly respect and enjoy Dmitry’s thinking and writing, I feel honored to be selected as the first title of his new imprint.

Instead of my normal essay, I am instead sharing with you Dmitry’s Introduction for the book.  Hopefully this, and your familiarity with my work, will inspire you to purchase a copy.  Since we operate in opposition to the mainstream, this book will rely on guerrilla marketing.  This means we are counting on YOU.  So besides buying a copy, please send all of the people on your mailing list a little note alerting them to this worthwhile collection of essays.  To make it even more convenient for you, we have included a link for ordering the book which you can also include in any message you might pass along to your friends.

Club Orlov Press is part of the movement to topple the old monolithic model of publishing, whereby the author makes almost nothing on each book.  The largest share of the price of THE SEA GYPSY PHILOSOPHER will actually find its way aboard AVENTURA.  So if you wish to read more eccentric dispatches from my philosophical wanderings, please buy a copy and spread the word.

Thanks so very much,

Ray



Book synopsis: 

This book is a collection of the best essays from Ray Jason's popular "Sea Gypsy Philosopher" blog, which now has readers in over 130 countries. Although he deals with controversial subjects, 

Friday, April 24, 2015

GO AWAY, DR. STRANGELOVE!



 by Ray Jason           

When I receive emails from anonymous strangers asking me where I am located, my usual response is, “AVENTURA is 30 miles west of Somewhere.”  This cautious approach is because my essays have undoubtedly earned me a spot on various governmental “person of interest” lists.  After all, one cannot gleefully describe the folks in charge of the modern world as Malignant Overlords, without aggravating them.  But my impact is probably so puny that I am less of a nuisance than a sardine to a supertanker.
            There is only one factor that dominates my personal choice of location.  I always try to keep my little ship close enough to the Panama Canal so that I can sail there in a few days.  That’s because of all of the various Armageddon scenarios a nuclear war is the one that worries me the most.  To survive it, AVENTURA needs to get through that canal and into the Southern Hemisphere.  This concern is not just the ranting of a lunatic screaming, “The sky is falling - the sky is falling - and it’s full of plutonium.”  No, this fear is based on a mounting body of disturbing evidence, which I will now share with you.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

AN UNFAIR DESTINY



by Ray Jason          

 It was one of those “University of Life” moments.  I recognized once again that I had learned so little in school and yet so very much by simply listening to the messages that the world provides. 
There were three of them in the cayuco - an elderly woman and a grandson and grand-daughter.  I had just given them some cookies as a little gift, when the woman asked me if I had a wife.  When I said no, she asked me why.  Realizing that bachelorhood is very rare in Latin America, I knew it would be difficult to explain.  So I carefully answered in my best Spanish that I had never married because “I loved my freedom so much.”  There was a profound pause before the woman responded.  Then she fixed me with her eyes and answered me with seven decades worth of sadness, longing and resignation.  She said, “I understand.” 
As they thanked me again for the little gift and paddled away, I was heartbroken by this very personal example of how utterly unjust so much of the human condition is here on our wet, wondrous planet.  That’s because the reason that she understood my passion for Freedom, was because she had rarely experienced any in her entire life. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

LEAVE THEM ALONE!



by Ray Jason           

 It was a lovely sight in a glorious setting.  In one direction the primal jungle spilled down the hillsides to the sea.  And in the opposite direction it swept up the mountainsides until it was replaced by evergreen forest as it neared the slumbering volcano.  In the foreground a small armada of cayucos was departing the tiny village as the Indio children paddled home from school.  Their joyous chatter and laughter as they propelled themselves effortlessly across the water was echoed in the sky by the wild parrots that never seem to fly without gossiping enthusiastically. 
This tableau perfectly symbolized the upside-down sense of superiority that the First World lords over the Developing World.  At this exact moment in thousands of towns in El Norte, the soccer moms were waiting in long lines for school to let out.  They were en-bubbled in their massive, air-conditioned SUVs about to safely transport their children home.  They need these steel security pods because their “advanced Civilization” has become so perverse that human predators make it dangerous for children to walk or bike to school, like I used to do.     

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

CATASTROPHIC PROGRESS



by Ray Jason           

 The deep serenity down here in the Archipelago of Bliss soothes and inspires me.   Sometimes AVENTURA and I find a tiny lagoon that is so tranquil that the silence almost seems to speak.  In many spots the Jungle runs all the way down to the Sea.  Such symbolism comforts me, because they are both such essential incubators of Life.    
            Last week I found a bay so sublime that the voice of Nature was louder than the clamor of Humanity.  On a typical day I would see 25 dug-out cayucos being quietly rowed by extremely fit Indios.  Only rarely was the stillness disturbed by a boat with an engine.  Most of the human sounds came from happy children - laughing and playing in the shallow water.
            A little cabin on the shore caught my eye.  It seemed like a perfect hideaway for a writer, and I imagined Thoreau sitting on its tiny porch in the twilight savoring a day well-spent on reflecting and writing.  I believe that if he lived today he would choose a sailing boat as his platform for observing and commenting on Life.  A cabin on Walden Pond would be impossibly expensive; and he would chafe at the preposterous restrictions that the bureaucrats would demand. 
I have long felt that he too would choose the Sea Gypsy Philosopher life.  This intuition was recently reinforced for me when I learned that the final sentence that he uttered on his deathbed was, “Now comes good sailing!”  These thoughts led to a deeper meditation on how astonishingly different the world is now - in just the 153 years since his death.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A WARNING LABEL FOR HISTORY BOOKS


by Ray Jason

“Warning: The Historian General has determined that most of the information in this book is FALSE.  This is not accidental.  This is deliberate.”

*******
 
The societal operating system that almost all history textbooks praise and defend - which we call Civilization - should actually be mocked and replaced. About 10,000 years ago it destroyed the previous template for human organization which was Tribal Living. 
That prior system existed for over a million years as Homo Habilis became Homo Erectus and then Homo Sapiens.  During that immense span of time, most people lived sustainably and peaceably.  Sometimes there were skirmishes involving territorial boundaries, but there was no expansionist warfare.  There were no Tribal Imperialists seeking to rule the world.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A MEDITATION ON 'AMERICAN SNIPER'



by Ray Jason

One of my best friends wanted to see the movie ‘American Sniper’ and he asked me to join him.  I would not have done so on my own, but I realized that it could be quite unsettling for him - and he might need my help.  We are both Vietnam Veterans, but he was an infantryman and I was on an ammunition ship.  His experience was so gruesome, that he suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  The fact that he can function as a normal person amazes me.  If I had those images jangling around in my memory vault, I would probably be living under a bridge somewhere. 
            Twice during the film, the emotional intensity was so overpowering that he had to leave the theatre and catch his breath out in the lobby.  Although we had planned a hearty meal for afterwards, his system was so disabled, that he could only handle a bowl of soup and a beer.  But he made it home safely and when I checked on him this morning he was okay.
             

Friday, January 9, 2015

AN ODE TO MY LITTLE SHIP


by Ray Jason 
             
AVENTURA happily at Sea
A cold front has lost its bearings and meandered all the way down to the Banana Latitudes.  The evening chill is quite refreshing.  In a celebratory gesture, I light AVENTURA’S kerosene lamps.   Normally, they heat up the boat too much when I am south of the Tropic of Discontent.  But tonight … they are perfectissimo!
            The warm, amber light is so different from the sterile, blue, fluorescent lamps that I use most of the time.  It not only illuminates, but it also pleases the senses with its gentle flicker and its subtle smokiness.  It enriches the already magical beauty of my little ship’s small, tidy cabin.
            The dark, gorgeous mahogany wood shimmers.  The polished brass barometer gleams.  The white, glossy bulkheads sparkle.  The stained-glass red rose that decorates the liquor cabinet, takes on a richer hue.  The stainless steel trim on the miniature fireplace shines. 
            

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

MY CHRISTMAS WISHES FOR CUBA



by Ray Jason

AVENTURA was lunging over the crests of fourteen-foot waves and then plunging down their backs with rollicking gusto.   My enthusiasm was considerably more tempered.  In other words, I was semi-terrified.  The passage from Grand Cayman to Key West had already been a test of my solo sailing skills, and I had hoped that on the last night before arrival, the conditions would be pleasant.  But instead they were punishing. 
The wind was over 30 knots and because it was in the opposite direction of the powerful Gulf Stream, the waves were not just large but they were also steep and confused.  This was a perfect dark frightening night for anyone who wanted to experience the power and fury of Mother Ocean.
I had been trying to reach the Coast Guard by radio to check and see if all of the lighthouses along the reefs were functioning properly, but I was getting no response.  Then suddenly another sailboat hailed me and asked for my position.  We were about 5 miles apart and he too was headed for Key West.  We shared some fear-laced humor about the abysmal sea conditions and then I asked him where he was coming from.  There was a profound pause … and then he said he was returning from the “South Tortugas.”  At first this befuddled me because I had never heard of these islands, and then it suddenly hit me and I congratulated him on his clandestine visit to “The Forbidden Isle - CUBA.”

Thursday, December 11, 2014

THE USELESS JOY OF JUGGLING



Ray 1987

by Ray Jason

 Tucked away in the backwaters of these essays, there are a few brief references to a prior chapter in my life when I was a … JUGGLER.  And as might be expected, due to my fondness for the Unconventional Path, I did not juggle in ordinary venues like circuses or Las Vegas revues.  No, I was a street performer – and proud of it.  Indeed, I am STILL proud of it - because I was the very first of the San Francisco street jugglers.    
            This was back in the early 1970s, when street performing was beginning its modern American renaissance.  Those were glorious years when the sidewalks were alive with mimes and tap dancers and magicians and roller-skating accordionists.  Because we were pioneers, we were all joyously making it up as we went along.  As a continuation of the Sixties’ mentality of “let’s really embrace life,” our ragtag band of buskers was predominantly motivated by co-operation rather than competition.  We preferred being folk heroes to being stars.  As an unrepentant romantic, this was an exquisite community for me.  I could live frugally but comfortably, while making my favorite city a slightly better and happier place.  And my modest efforts were respected and cherished by my neighbors.  The Mayor of San Francisco even declared a day in my honor.
            That wistful-golden era lasted about two decades and then it began to tarnish.  Being a beloved San Francisco street entertainer was no longer enough for the newer performers.  They wanted to use the streets as a stepping stone to comedy clubs and sitcoms and The Big Time.  Witnessing this decline was too heartbreaking for me, and so I sailed away from it all - and began my sea gypsy life.

                                            *******

Friday, November 28, 2014

DON'T FOOL YOURSELVES - THEY ARE WINNING


by Ray Jason

     I do not keep using the term “The Malignant Overlords” just for shock value.  Admittedly, it has a certain “evil incarnate” quality that you might expect in comic book villains.  But I perceive this description not as an exaggeration - but as an accurate representation.  These “powers behind the throne,” these “Deep State operatives,” these “men behind the curtain” are not imaginary - but they are Evil.  They already possess an obscene and disgusting amount of wealth and power; and yet they are pathologically obsessed with an insatiable desire for even MORE.  They ARE Malignant Overlords.  And unfortunately, they ARE winning.
            Many of my well-informed and well-intentioned friends have succumbed to the magical thinking that the Internet can save us.  They contend that because it is such a powerful tool for revelation and emancipation, that the forces of darkness will soon be vanquished.  I disagree vehemently.  But I do not want to dash my friends’ illusions without substantial and convincing evidence.  So in this essay I will demonstrate how significantly The Malignant Overlords are succeeding in their ultimate goal of “ruling the world” despite the Computer Revolution and the World Wide Web.

Friday, November 14, 2014

THE TRUE ESSENCE OF THE SEA GYPSY TRIBE



       by Ray Jason
TULUM
     The Sea had hypnotized me again.  But this time I was not standing alone on the deck of my strong little sailing ship.  Instead, I was staring eastward at the Caribbean from the cliffs that guard the Mayan city of Tulum.  Behind me, the magnificent ruins were mesmerizing thousands of tourists.  They were jabbering in several languages about how strange and exotic it all was.  But what intrigues me about ruins is not their mysterious inscrutability, but the fact that they are such a perfect example of Paradox.  They are a genuine relic from the distant past; and yet they are also a profound reminder of what has vanished.
            My suspicion is that the questions that were percolating in my head were quite different from those of the typical visitor to this archaeological marvel.  They probably wondered how many servants the ruler had; and how they devised such an accurate calendar; and where the regular people had lived.  Whereas I was focused on more existential questions:  What had actually caused the collapse of their once mighty civilization?  Did the end come swiftly or gradually?  Had there been visionaries who foresaw the calamity and tried to warn the others?
          

Thursday, October 30, 2014

WHAT I THINK I KNOW

by Ray Jason

Ray on his birthday 2014



Today is my birthday, and as might be expected, I am in a particularly reflective mood.  As a gift to myself – and hopefully to you as well – I am going to attempt to clarify my current beliefs about “How the world works.”  This is not an easy task because those who are actually in charge of the planet relentlessly conceal their true motivations and methods.  If this subject proves intriguing to you folks out there, I will revisit it each year on my birthday.
                                                   
                                             *******          

But first, here is a short meditation on birthdays and age.  Because I am zealous about staying in shape, I am often asked how old I am.  My usual answer is, “I am in my Middle Years.”  Although this answer sounds evasive, it actually stems from a deeper inquiry into this topic.  My analysis is that there are four elements to human aging.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE DECEPTION


by Ray Jason

         Every October I foolishly get my hopes up as the announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize approaches.  My dream is that the committee will finally proclaim that the greatest obstacle to world peace is American Imperialism.  And then they will elaborate on this by insisting that only when the U.S. Empire has vanished, can global harmony and justice prevail.  Therefore, they award the prize to some courageous writer or film-maker or activist who has been battling this death-spewing Leviathan.  
            But once more they have refused to notice the 800 pound War Lord in the middle of the room.   They have again chosen the “path most taken – the spineless one,” and bestowed the award on some noble but uncontroversial candidates.  By misdirecting our attention away from the indisputably evil scourge that is U.S. foreign policy, they have once again blockaded the road to actual Peace on Earth.
           

Friday, October 3, 2014

THE POWER OF SIMPLICITY

by Ray Jason


Part of AVENTURA'S library
When guests visit AVENTURA for the first time, there is often an awkward silence as they look around my small but beautiful cabin.  It usually takes about a minute as they try to understand what is so odd about my boat.  Finally, they usually will say something like this:


“Ray, where’s all your stuff?” 

My honest reply is “This IS ALL MY STUFF; and there’s far too much of it!”

“But where’s your entertainment center?” 

“Right there,” I answer, as I point to my bookshelves.


This tiny vignette serves to illustrate how addicted we are to stuff in the modern world.  And it is also a reminder that many people end up being possessed by their possessions.  I discuss this tragic situation in considerable detail at my earlier essay which is entitled “Enslaved by Our Stuff.”  I hope you will read it.  And to make it easy, here is the direct link to it.

                                 *******

But in this meditation on Simplicity, I want to focus on how our rulers use Materialism as a control mechanism.  In my essays, I refer to these manipulators as The Malignant Overlords - although in private conversation I frequently use more colorful and sailor-like terminology to describe them.  Certainly they trumpet their message of “BUY… BUY… BUY!!!” to engorge themselves in riches. But I contend that there is a more sinister motive behind their crusade to reduce us to mindless consumers.  Their deeper strategy is to enfeeble us into impotent dependency. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

ARISE YOUNG SEA GYPSIES

by Ray Jason
YOUNG SEA GYPSIES
           The old fisherman was smiling as he rowed his cayuco through the twilight tinted lagoon towards AVENTURA.  As he pulled alongside, he told me in Spanish that he had some very fine fish tonight.  Looking down into his bucket I agreed, and so I bought a nice fresh mangrove snapper.   When I went below to get some money, I also brought back a couple of cold Balboas – the local beer.  We drank them silently as we watched the sun’s amber descent behind the distant volcano.  Then he surprised me with an unexpected question. 
            “Que pais?” What country, he asked, as he pointed to the flag flying from my rigging.
            “No pais!” No country, I answered.
            “No pais?” He responded in a puzzled manner.
            “Correcto, soy un gitano del mar.”  That’s right, I am a sea gypsy. 
            Realizing that he still did not quite understand this, I lowered the flag down so that he could see it closely.  It is an Earth Flag with the classic photo of our planet from space. 
            “El Mundo es mi pais.  El Mar es mi pais, comprende?”  The World is my country.  The Sea is my country.  Do you understand?
            “Si, fantastico,” he said.  And then we sat quietly and finished our beers as the darkening sky shadowed the bay.  He passed me back the empty can and then reached into his bucket and brought out another fish.  In Spanish he told me that it was a gift – “for his friend whose country is the Sea.”

Friday, September 5, 2014

HOMAGE TO MY WONDERFUL MOM

by Ray Jason

With Mom at the Ray Jason Day event

The melancholy is heavy on me this morning.  It is my Mom’s death day.  And even though it was on a September 5th many years ago, I still grieve … deeply.  I was beside her in the emergency room in her final minutes.  She was already unconscious and the doctors were trying to shock her back.  I knew she would not return.  She had told me so the day before.

                                            *******
           
It had been her first day of physical therapy after a very severe cardiac attack that left her with only a third of a functioning heart.  With me holding one arm and the nurse on the other, we tried to gently help her take a few steps.  She could not.  This just staggered her.  When the nurse left us alone we had our last conversation together.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

THE THICK FACADE OF CIVILIZATION


by Ray Jason
Most of the sky was clear and starry, but ten miles out to sea there was a cluster of clouds filled with lightning.  I was anchored peacefully behind a low island that afforded me a perfect view of this dramatic spectacle.  Sitting on the foredeck with my back against the mast, I sipped some hot sake and marveled at this exquisite display.  Each burst of sky fire was contained within an individual cloud.  Some would erupt in amber-colored brightness and others would shimmer in soft silver or lavender.  The almost Japanese lantern quality of the clouds sparked a memory within me that I struggled to recall.  A second cup of sake unlocked the remembrance vault, and the incident drifted back.  It was a good one.     

Sunday, August 3, 2014

THE SEA GYPSY TRIBE - A SHIELD AGAINST TYRANNY


by Ray Jason

As our boats headed for an unspoiled anchorage, I sighed with relief – for this was such a perfect time to be getting away from it all.  Some longtime friends were sailing beside me, and I was introducing them to the glories of this magical archipelago.  For seven days we had no internet and almost no connection with the incorrectly named “real world.”  I consider the human built realm as the “artificial world” and Nature as the “authentic world.”
News from the “unreal” world had been particularly grim as we headed out for the solace of the islands.  The obscene butchery in Gaza had become so repellent that even UN shelters were now being targeted.  The insane demonizing of Russia and Putin was accelerating.  And new scientific studies were again proving that climate experts were underestimating the rate of ecological collapse. 
The couple who were sailing in their boat beside AVENTURA also had their nine year old son onboard.  It was a valuable experience for me to spend so much time in the company of a young person.  But I was deeply saddened by my forebodings of what type of planet he would inherit.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

TERROR IS NEVER SACRED


by Ray Jason

A  handsome catamaran recently docked near my lovely sailboat.  The captain is Russian and his wife is Turkish.  They have two children, and although they are too young for passports, I suspect that they are from the Kingdom of Joy.  That’s because all day long they spread their laughter and happiness throughout the marina.  Whether it is riding their tiny bicycles or fishing with their parents or trying to learn how to swim, their vibrant innocence delights and comforts me.
It has also inspired me.  The essay that I had been working on seemed lost in a mental labyrinth.  It deals with the immense subject of religion, and it had become too big and too confused.  But then a wave and a smile from the two kids suddenly made me realize that I should narrow my focus, and concentrate on religion and children.

                                  *******

Friday, July 4, 2014

A TWILIGHT FRIENDSHIP

by Ray Jason



It is pleasant having company.  A friend’s boat is anchored about thirty yards from AVENTURA in a peaceful little cove.  He is another solo sailor, which makes us kindred spirits and members of a very small fellowship.  I am watching him row through the amber-tinted twilight, dragging a fishing line behind his dinghy.  His sunset ritual is both functional and philosophical.  He is attempting to catch his dinner, while also immersing himself in the thinker’s milieu of Nature, silence and solitude.

            This evening there is no fish for him, but he is still smiling as he rows over.  He smoothly climbs aboard my sloop, as I tie his dinghy line to a cleat.
“Sorry Ray, no luck tonight,” he apologizes.
“Lawrence, our friendship has never relied on you providing a fish.”  Let me go below and fix us a couple of drinks worthy of this splendid sunset.”             

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