Storms – Living A Gale

The View From The Captains Chair From Which I Write


“I have seen many storms in my life. Most storms have caught me by surprise, so I had to learn very quickly to look further and understand that I am not capable of controlling the weather, to exercise the art of patience and to respect the fury of nature.” (Paulo Coelho)

Sitting silently in the Captain’s chair thinking, as the rain clacks on the windows and the wind hums on the radio arials over the low rumble of the idling diesel engine below deck.  Wondering if it is wise to go fishing in this narly kind of weather. But my thinking runs deeper than this. Rain and heavy wind have always made me melancholy.

Pasquier Deahon, a friend of ours in Côte D’Ivoire, Africa, passed on a few days ago. I knew Pasquier since he was a teenager in Ivory Coast, West Africa. I first met him as a teen in 1995, and he was as smart as a whip, speaking many languages, including English. He graduated from university years later. I knew very few people who went to university from our town, but he did.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since my Ivory Coast days, but the news was still a shock to me none the less. His adoptive father was a fellow pilgrim, walking many miles with me. His whole family was weaved into every part of our lives and work. This is probably true for every expat who came to work in Abengourou.

Pasquier married only five months ago, and is now leaving behind his wife who is still carrying their unborn child.

He died from an asthma attack. Who dies from asthma attacks these days? Oh, except Africans! It is maddening….

A Canadian Doctor who developed the medical work where Pasquier worked, commented that in all her life long medical career she has only ever heard of one person die from asthma.

A stormy gail has arrived for Pasquier Deahon’s family.

Recently, I quietly, silently exited a few social groups I’ve walked with for almost twenty years. Nothing happened. I’ve changed, and it is time to move on.

The transitions that come in life, over time, need to be leaned into, not resisted. I think I am understanding it a little more clearly as I grow old.

Storms, bloody storms, they hole you up in captains chairs, and give us too much time to mull over a long life, from Canada, to West Africa.

Bloody inconvenient, melancholy, storms.

“There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.” (Willa Cather)

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