Letter from a vagabond 11/11/2018 Written at sea…


It is Friday afternoon, less than 36 hours out from New York, and I am, finally, putting fingers to keyboard; laziness has won every moment since I stepped on board. It has been a long and languid crossing and I have softly surrendered to slothfulness.

Outside, the sea flows by and I struggle to find an adjective that describes the grey the mid-Atlantic owns, a grey so dark it borders black.

We have had days of rough seas; Dramamine has been handed out like candy at the Purser’s Desk and I have sailed free of the need.

There is a television in my room; I have turned on only once, to check the time. The mid-terms came and went with my only reading about them.  The strum und drung of cable news is more than I could bear.

For months now, I have only read the news, cherishing my NY Times, Washington Post and WSJ apps.  It is enough; the strident voices of the cable pundits too much for me.  Down that road lies madness…


Saturday, our last full day at sea.  Some of my companions have gone into a pre-partum funk over the ending of the crossing.  I woke this morning, very early, with a slight edge of anxiety for the first time in weeks as I step back into American life after five and a half weeks of traveling in Europe.

While I have been gone, there were the mid-terms, pipe bombs, shootings, fires and floods.  From all of it, I have felt cocooned and now I am exiting the cocoon of travel and hotels and food to the reality of America.

In Wiesbaden, I had lunch with fellow traveler Erik, who told me, as if he had never before confessed this, that he was afraid in America.  Not just of random violence but because of something deeper, a rent in society he could barely articulate, but which informed his understanding of America, of something very wrong, not just politically, but societally, a civilization no longer understanding civility, on any level.

That conversation lingers in my mind.


I am returning.  This ship will dock.  I will pack today for departing tomorrow.


In every cathedral or abbey or church I entered in Europe, I lit a candle, asking God and the universe for guidance in what more I could do in this world, for this world, against the backdrop of One Tree Hill, the photo of the now dead girl who galvanized the world about the famine in Yemen, of the restaurant in Thousand Oaks, California where twelve died, of the African-Americans who died in a Kroger because they were African-American, against a world that seems roiling with hate on every continent.

That is my anxiety, that on returning, I will not know what more to do any more than I did before I left, and I feel the universe is counting on me to do more.





One Response to “Letter from a vagabond 11/11/2018 Written at sea…”

  1. rabirius Says:

    Interesting post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: