Douglas Arvidson is a past winner of the WICE/Paris Transcontinental International Short Story competition. His short fiction has been published in Paris, Prague, and in literary magazines in the United States and he was recently invited to be a staff writer for the Prague Revue, a cutting-edge, online literary journal ( The novels in his fantasy series, The Eye of the Eye of Stallion, include The Face in Amber, The Mirrors of Castaway Time, and A Drop of Wizard's Blood. His new novel, Brothers of the Fire Star, was selected as a finalist in the ForeWord Reviews 2012 Book of the Year national awards and as a finalist in three categories in the 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards: Action Adventure Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Young Adult Fiction. It has become part of the pantheon of Pacific literature and is now included in school literature programs. Brothers of the Fire Star is an adventure story set in the Pacific during World War II and concerns two boys of different races and cultures who escape the island of Guam in a small sailboat when the Japanese army invades. They must then struggle to survive as they master the secrets of the ancient Pacific navigators. Appropriate for young adults as well as adult readers, Brothers of the Fire Star is available on Barnes & Noble, ( and Visit the author's website:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Boat Called Seawind, A Wobbling World

At least we have the universe and its minions behaving as they should. Last week the Earth, in its eternal wisdom, curved its way around the Sun and rose up to meet the Autumnal Equinox (Sept. 22nd). This means the most direct rays of the Sun are now striking the Earth south of the equator, leaving those of us in the Northern Hemisphere to prepare for a long winter of discontent. Or something like that.

I was out in the early Fall air today, at our marina, hanging out on my sailboat and was thus contemplating the on-rushing Autumn. As I hauled up the mainsail and put in a reef in preparation for tomorrow's sail (I'm hauling Seawind out of the water for the winter and need to take her up the Bay to her cold-weather quarters) the white deck reflected the still-warm sun, the breeze, cool off the Chesapeake, filled the sail and lifted it up, fine and white against the blue sky. It was all very fine--very fine, indeed.

Still, I had some regrets. It seems I never learn. It happens every time: my annual ruefulness for this transitional time of year. It is, after all, a time of dying, of nature, worn out from a promiscuous summer, giving it up, caving in, sighing, and lying down to sleep. Winters here, in the northern part of the South, are pretty mild by the standards of my native New England but, still, they are winters and everything out and about needs to shed and slough and close down to get ready for the inevitable bitterness of December, January, and February.

This faux-benign Fall does not fool me. Never has. It only makes me dwell on the bitterness to come. As I stand in the warm sun, my summertime toy, this lovely boat, belies the icy-cold truth of the immediate future. She lies to me, this sweet Seawind. All is not well. In winter I see naught but hopelessness. My mind cobbles together odds and ends of great doomsday literary wisdoms: Surrender all hope, ye who enter here to the winter of our discontent. It worries me, you say it worries you. Quoth the Raven, never more.

But I must buck up. I chastise myself and haul my silly emotions in along with the sail. I speak to my inner being: You've been through sixty-three winters. Has Spring ever failed you? Of course, it never has. It would be nice though, if the bitterness was not quite so long. I truly like the changing seasons. I need them. I need them to make the life force rise up in me like sap, to flood over, and then shed the used up detritus of what was lived. The seasons are as necessary as a blood-pumping heart.

Before I left the boat, before I said goodbye to her as if she were a friend, I looked up at the fading sun and watched a scudding cloud cross its yellow-white face. I imagined I could feel the Earth tilting underneath me, wobbling like a slowing top, a top watched by the curious child who had himself set the top to spinning. Such a wonderful thing, this spinning.

1 comment:

  1. I have always felt very melancholy at the turn of the seasons (fall & winter to be exact). Your blog expressed my feelings as well. Thanks for that!