It remained cold accompanied with a bitter wind. Coffee could not restrain his frequent nodding off for a two-hour nap. He read over his story and each time he cast his eyes to a page, they became heavy and his chin tilted into his chest. Zeke seemed deliberate throughout the day. It was as if he knew Rich was hardly in the mood for tricks or conversation.
Rich set a course to the Juan Fernandez Islands. It seemed harmless, at least from a map’s point of view. He estimated five to seven days.
There was little information about the island or inhabitants. However, he read in a reference that the number of people on the island numbered only into the hundreds, all engaged in the fishing industry. It was a stop he did not have to make, yet it was on his way to Polynesia and beyond that, he speculated, ahead laid at least a month of sailing before he hoped to see land again.
“Lonely islands hundreds of miles from a continent; what drives people to live there, White and Smithson? No, there are other things. There are people who live on islands and people who live on continents. And there are people who sail from one to another. The time will come when I must find an island or a continent.”
“It is amazing, I can wonder about the friends I went to school with and imagine where they are at this moment and be right to a reasonable degree of certainty. Try as they may, they could not come up with what I am doing right now. What a comment I could give in class, or better yet, what a lesson I could teach.”
The seas passed like the scenery in a slow-moving car through a desert as if suspended in time. “A day at sea today is the same as yesterday, tomorrow, a thousand years ago, a thousand years into the future.”
“Water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink.” Rich smiled. “This is not such a bad thing. It is a good thing I do. No harm will come to anyone. For those far away, the hurt is gone. I have brought it with me.”
“Perhaps I will find a place to dump all the hurt and allow it to sink out of sight. Is that how islands come about! People are looking for a place to bury their hurt.” Rich chuckled, “and all along, men have been looking for buried treasures. Or are all the hurts piled in one place to form an island.”
“I must read. Reading creates an imaginary existence to restrain the mind from going amok. It tempers existence and mellows thoughts. Good reading should maintain sanity and help cope with a world that seems dislodged from reason. Any writing that does otherwise is worthless.”
“Writing can be a fearful thing.”
A large fishing boat crossed his course a mile beyond the bow. It was heading back toward Chile. Through the binoculars, he observed two men on deck. That was the excitement for the day and he thanked God for it.