A Visit from Vincent, Episode 56, Odysseys in Paradise

Although the delivery of the pearls rested on his mind, there was no compulsion to do so in a timely way—the Polynesian way seemed to appeal to Rich. That was understood when they were given to Rich. His mind settled into a comfortable complacency. There was no abiding reason to hurry someplace. It seemed as if there was something in the wind that made one live without that need for urgency. Wherever the wind blows and at the speed it determines.

“Marx wanted workers of the world to unite. I think God wants people to unite in peace and harmony, but knows they cannot. He created mountain ranges, deserts, rivers, and seas to keep them apart. Those things are God’s way of peace. No native American ever invaded France or England. The seas kept them apart. The Great Wall of China is nothing more than a man-made mountain range. As for the French coming to America, they think everyone wants to be French—except the English, of course.”

Rich kept on the watch for submarines and periscopes. After two days he no longer worried about them. His only ambition was to continually sail onward.

The majesty of the sea and it’s various creatures from whales to flying fish no longer captured him with awe. They had become as common as a cow in a field or a cat in a window.

“A calendar and a clock are mundane,” Rich thought staring at them hanging on the cabin’s wall. “They are only reminders of what others might be doing. It is now baseball season, football season, or basketball season back home, not here. Seasons and time have a no differing opinion in the tropics. Crops don’t have to be planted before the harsh hot summer and don’t have to be harvested before the winter snows. The concept of time is so relative. I’m certain Einstein did not have the tropics in mind when developing his theory of relativity.”

There were rains to break the monotony, but mainly reading and writing constructed the wall between boredom and tedium.

“Lounging on the cabin on the foredeck watching a luminous red sunset soothes as good, as delicious, and as pleasing as any nightcap. It is a time that nothing and everything converge into pleasantness and bliss. A mundane thought is beautified and dread is assuaged. Everything is about to come to rest.”

“This only happens at sea,” Rich thought. “I am as good as I will ever be. Thank you, God, thank you for all that goes with sunsets.”

Soon the sea became lit as if by a lamp from another room. “I can almost hear the ancient mariner’s sea chanties.” He closed his eyes. There they were, hoisting sails, pulling an anchor, or swabbing the deck, they sang jolly working man songs. A flute accompanied them and some broke into a jig. They are here, they are here; making me as happy today as it did themselves 300 years ago. Dance on, ye tars, dance. Never stop, it is not in vain.”

And Rich drifted into a slumber where the men were alive and the music was real. He danced and danced.

He smiled at one. “It is time I go. Wait for the next lonely mariner and be ready, for he will need it, perhaps worse than I or not at all, but be ready.”

One shabby sailor approached. “My name is Hadley, Vincent Hadley. Remember that you met me. I have family in England. Let them know I’m fine.” And he faded into a cloud and the wind slowly dispersed him into nothing.

Rich awoke and steadied himself as he stood. He looked toward the remaining glow from below the horizon. “Well, Vincent, if I should ever make it to jolly ole England I’ll let the family know and then they can have me committed.”

Rich settled below over a meal of rice and beans, mixed with tomato sauce, chopped onions and canned chicken. The meal was capped with a slice of sourdough cinnamon bread and hot tea. “I wonder if it is really that good or am I just that hungry. I wish Vincent were here to judge. On second thought, never mind.”



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