The Maritimes, home of Joshua Slocum (1)


The Canadian Maritimes, 2011 A Visit to Josh Slocum’s Place in Nova Scotia

t was in a nondescript Best Western motel just inside the city limits of Salisbury, Maryland, on the evening of July 9, 2011, where Josh’s spirit made a decisive impression on Jeb. The weather was warm and sultry, but not threatening or dull. The setting sunlight touched Jeb's tanned skin like a soft cloth.

Reclining on the bed, Jeb peered at Josh Slocum's book, Sailing Alone Around the World, in reprint, pinned open using his right leg. Jeb decided he would go to the Bay of Fundy, the county of Annapolis, in the Province of Nova Scotia where Slocum was born. Jeb drove to Nova Scotia in October 2011.

Why?

Jeb wanted to be a sailor but never felt comfortable on water. Jeb could keep himself afloat for a time but couldn’t swim more than a few hundred meters. Ironically, Joshua the real sailor, too, could not swim.

Jeb was kind of steering through sloshing waves of contemporary 21rst century sensations — in the symbolic sense of an idealist like Odysseus. Less symbolically, Josh Slocum sailing a real boat on a real ocean had met and tilted with Poseidon, by one name (or Neptune), mingled with primitive people and ate mysterious plants, conversed for weeks and months with himself and the Homeric gods whom he could not see, and then reconnected again to his family and literary agent to pronounce his feats in a modest book.

Jeb saw something in himself that Joshua had, but Jeb couldn’t decide what it was exactly. Here was a man who loved and lived and then disappeared, as we all must do if a lifetime is given. Jeb and Joshua shared a vision and a fate.

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© 2023 by Edgar David Boshart, edboshart@gmail.com

Arlington, Virginia, USA, 703-629-0160