Thursday, May 8, 2008

Zen and the Art of Sailboat Maintenance

A Phaedrus (Pirsig’s) am I at times, classical in my approach, trying to figure things out through reduction, methodical deconstruction and rationality, mechanistic exploration…looking for the rules and laws, the predictable, repeatable, dependable. Logic-ing my way to fostering a diesel engine to perform. I have sat with the manual spread out in front of me as I compare the pictures, the metaphors, the representations of that which sits real, tangible before me, hundreds of bulky pounds of metal nestled into the hull of my boat. Loosen the nipple, drain the accumulated water from the separator…loosen the nut on the fuel filter housing, loosen the injector nut…pump to bleed the fuel line of all air, create the needed integrity, then tighten the bolts, push the start button. It works. It serves.

A Phaedrus am I at times, the romantic, contemplating how one can know a value, the quality of that which cannot be reduced, quantified, disassembled. Working to understand the intuition, the impressions, the art…people, love, respect, integrity, family, affinity… the possible, the infinite, the sublime, the ecstatic….anticipating the epiphanies.

A Phaedrus am I at times, fearing that I too will be reduced from the effort, rendered unconscious, a heap of human lying on the floor in a puddle of my own urine.

Perhaps I should take to the Pacific in my boat, the analog to Phaedrus’ northern plains on his motorcycle? Perhaps I should have a son so he could come with me….or maybe my dog Cosmo will do. She in many ways seems to already have it all figured out.

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