Tending to My Needs

by Christopher Lovejoy on August 14, 2011

I woke up to the splash of a wave washing over the shore.

Allowing a warm, pleasant breeze to play across my face, I took a moment to remember where I was. I closed my eyes and surrendered fully to the moment.

I felt alive and exhilarated to be here, but I also felt something deeper and darker. From within my expansive sense of exhilaration lurked a persistent sense of dread.

I knew well that this immersion into mixed feeling was a deeper form of positivity than any reactive positivity that might come from ignoring, suppressing, or downplaying my feelings.

I turned my body and went supine, stretching out my limbs, letting my body relax under the rustling palm leaves above, recalling the events that transpired from the day and night before.

I replayed in my mind’s eye everything that happened before, during, and after the storm.

I pondered the fate of my yacht, I wondered about the future course of my itinerary, and I tried to imagine what a competent person would do in my current situation.

From the instructions I had given to my significant others, I figured that two or three days at most would pass before a search-and-rescue party was dispatched on my behalf.

In the meantime, I had a ferocious thirst to quench. I also didn’t like the way my khaki shorts and white cotton t-shirt clung to my skin. I stood up and stripped bare, placing my damp clothes on an overhanging branch nearby, something I was too tired to do when I first settled into a deep sleep.

I pulled a beach towel from my waterproof case of provisions, unfurled it, and lay it on the sand, but not before stirring and checking the sand for ants and other potentially unwelcome interlopers.

I sat down again and retrieved a sleek, cylindrical, metallic blue, BPA-free, stainless steel bottle filled with fresh water. Although I was sorely tempted to do otherwise, I drank the lukewarm water slowly and deliberately – just enough to satisfy my thirst – so as to ration the rest.

I lifted my portable ham out of the case and hefted it contemplatively. Too bad it wasn’t powered by solar energy. I knew that it was useless the moment I discovered that it had lost much of its charge while I was on the boat before the storm struck. I was tempted to toss it into the water.

I lay back, feeling drowsy. I pushed myself to sit up again, thinking to myself: I can’t be this lazy.

I spotted a thick, foot-long stick nearby and got an idea. I opened my first aid kit, snipped a generous strip of gauze, brought it over to the stick, and tied it to one end. I walked to the shore and drove the stick firmly into the dark sand just beyond the reach of incoming waves.

I returned to my sleeping spot in the shade of the large palm tree. I looked up and did something I neglected to do before: I made sure there were no coconuts dangling up there.

I sat on my towel and watched my gauzy white flag flutter in the breeze along the shore.

I would follow a strategy to make it easy for others to find me. I would locate another source of fresh water, or failing that, discover some juicy fruit. I would …

I fell back and let myself drift off to sleep.


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