Start Where You’re At

January 4, 2010

My friend Piper gave me this petite pearl of wisdom years ago:

Start where you’re at.

It glimmers from time to time and catches my mind’s eye when I need it most. It is simple, versatile advice. You can put it in your pocket or wear it around your neck. I take it to mean that when the time comes to start something you have thought about for a long time, and there are lots of places to start, look to the moment.

Where I’m at now is literally… fluid. Yesterday I untied my mooring lines for the last time in my first home port. I have no plans to settle into a second home port anywhere near here or anytime soon. The Bruja Dulce and I are now free floating. It is both inspiring and unnerving, amazing and complicated, adventurous and sometimes uncomfortable. It is lovely and sometimes terrifying.

I feel like a great synthesis of ideas, hopes, and events is taking place right now in my life. I have been writing a lot lately. In the past I have employed writing merely as a trap to capture freakish ideas in the wild. I have subsisted on this meaty diet for years, writing thick slabs, a paragraph or two at a time. This recent stint is different. I am sewing seeds, thoughts percolating down, flowing, and harvesting. It stems from a strong desire to tell stories, bring together disparate aspects of my life, and make some interesting and important things happen.

For five months I have been living primarily at anchor as opposed to being tied to the dock in Seattle like I had been for 2 1/2 years. Now completely untied, my sense of place is subject to the current of circumstance. And somewhere in the slipstream of this movement away from a more sedentary and predictable life lies a potent force for generating new, rich, and surprising stories. Like the wind, I plan on harnessing this force to take me to new places and to scatter new ideas.

I think it’s going to be a good year.



  1. It has been my privlege to share some time crewing a number of sailing journeys with you and your friends, Tim, from your first home on lake Washington! While it surely is a beautiful place, the journeys, new friends, new/exciting learning (about the Bruja as well as the art of sailing!), and exploring new destinations has been most memorable! These experiences have also been a pleasure to me as I serve as crew aboard a boat captianed by my ever growing and creative son!
    Pam and I send our love and best wishes as you embark on the next stage of the adventure that is your life!

    • The many supportive hats and badges you wear both aboard and over the phone have been critical……crucial to my getting this far.
      I lean and you provide ballast with enthusiastic knowledge and physical, cheerful presence.
      I’m a lucky son!
      Love you

  2. I will never forget the day you called me and told me you wanted to buy and live on a sailboat. I was laying on my bed, heart pounding, wondering what I could say to change your mind cause what you were saying scared me. And then I started to listen, not so much to what you were saying, but how you were saying it. I started to “hear” your vision, your passion, your enthusiasm for this new and exciting direction which suddenly seemed to be lighting up your life. How could I not jump on board! It was a long talk….and there were several more long talks along the way. And with each one I kept listening and staying focused on how happy this was making you…..And you listened to me too….listened to all my feelings and fears and you understood and gave me the assurance I needed. I was then, and am now, in awe of your determination and so happy to be able to experience the unfolding of this dream with you! And….I love the way you are telling the story! You’re a great writer! Two writer-sons! What a gift! Love you! Mom

    • I also remember the day!
      You’re amazing. I am fortunate that you not only face fears but are supportive throughout.
      I cherish your support!
      Shoot, you’re a good writer too, Mom 🙂
      Love you.

  3. Oh my goodness, Child. Where have you been hiding? I have spent the last hour reading and re-reading this new blog of yours and I am totally blown away. I have been wiping away tears (if you can believe that)while reading and am so impressed. You write beautifully! I have read Jeff’s writings over the years and have known what a good writer he is, but I guess you just hid your talent. Thank you for coming alive. I am busting buttons off my shirt with pride, knowing that you are my grandson. I look forward to reading and rereading more as the spirit moves you. Am still enjoying your visit. I loved getting to spend some time with you. Please be careful and just know that
    I love you.

    • Yea, I don’t know- ducking out, waiting for the right first chapter?
      The spirit is moving me alright. Look forward to me getting some sleep!
      I loved spending time with you too! I’ll be careful for sure.
      Love you!

  4. It’s lovely, Tim! The photography is beautiful. I know I’ve got a few photos from one outing on the Bruja with Sully and Gertie floating (pun intended) around somewhere…just have to find them. So this doesn’t mean that we won’t see you again for a long, long time, does it? You’re still off the coast of trusty Vashon for now?

    • Thank you!
      Yes, please send the photos, I remember that day. Sully and Gertie are good bobbing doggies.
      No worries dear ones, I’ll be local for some time to come. In fact, if you want to meet up with a handful of ex-Case-ers and quite possibly my cousin Jerrod from OK, we’re going to the Chapel bar tonight around 6:30 or 7:00…. Cheers

  5. Tim,

    First of all, I too, am blown away by your writing and your pictures! Both are beautiful.! Who knew? 🙂 Now…on to your tachometer. Here’s my opinion on that subject.

    The tachometer/heart of your boat was probably experiencing a little known syndrome called “tachometer tachycardia. Tachycardia typically refers to a tachometer/heart rate increase that exceeds the normal range. (It can also cause erratic fluttering-which it appeared you were experiencing.) This can be caused by an increase in the SYMPATHETIC nervous system stimulation. The increase in tachometer/heart rate from this stimulation is usually due to physical or PSYCHOLOGICAL stress. This is the basis for the so-called “fight or flight” response. Considering you were taking “flight”… “leaving and you don’t know where…” it is quite possible that this caused your tachometer/heart fluttering. It was just a physical reaction to the unknown adventure in which you were embarking upon. I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Eat right, call your mom, exercise, call your mom, just say no to drugs, call your mom, and I think everything will be fine. Of course I am not an expert so you may want a second opinion. I will not be offended if you get one!!

    Good luck with everything. Enjoy the ride. Be careful and keep in touch!!

    Love you,
    Aunt Carol

    And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.
    Abraham Lincoln

    • A brilliant diagnosis.
      Yes, it seems my heart is connected closely with that of the boat’s. When the engine skips a beat, so does my heart, when she runs hot, I break a sweat, and when all systems are go, running smoothly, I sit back and marvel at her waterborne workings and enjoy the ride.
      Thanks for the tidbit from Abe. He makes a lasting impression.

      So do you Auntie!
      Love you…

  6. Well, I have no “pearls of wisdom” nor do I know a single thing about tachometers. But I DO know the peace and tranquility of water and how soothing and healing it can be. I totally understand the draw of the ocean and I loved the beginning of your video of your departure. Just the sound of the birds and view of the water, and MY tachometer started jumping too. (I’m pretty sure that was my tachometer!) It was a beautiful sight and sound and I envy your freedom and courage! We are blessed to be living in a time where all us “old” people can live this life with you vicariously thru the wonder of technology! I’ll sit here looking out on MY water while I watch your adventure on YOUR water and hope that some day, our waters…….well, I guess I don’t want our waters to MEET because that would mean a whole bunch of people between Oklahoma and California would be under water, so I guess I’ll just say that I hope someday YOUR water will lead you to MY water for a visit! In the meantime, enjoy your adventures and know that you have a big, wonderful family that loves you very much and is sending the best of wishes for good safe times and wonderful safe adventures (can’t help the “safe” part — that’s the Mom in me). Know that our love and thoughts are with you and we look forward to great stories and hopefully a visit this summer!

    Hope you and Jerrod were able to get together! He was really excited about getting to come out there and see you!

    Love you!
    Aunt Shari

    • Thanks Auntie!
      You’ve got some pearls up your sleeve. Cooking pearls for sure.
      I like your waters just the way they are.
      You betcha Jerrod and I got together. wow…. good times.

  7. Tim,

    Wow! You should be so proud of your accomplishments! We are very impressed by your hard work and resourcefulness!

    Take good care and thank you for your warm hospitality.

    • Thank you so much for your words Sheryl and Mike!
      You two know how it goes with resourcefulness. Sounds like you’ve built a lot together.
      For sure you have built a beautiful sweet, and loving family. I’m grateful to have been invited amidst your celebrations and gatherings here.
      Looking forward to the next time!

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