January 9, 2014

A Cruise & Course of Action: The Chundering of the Mind

Now that classes are kicking off I actually have things to do, which, ironically enough, makes me feel both less stressed and comfortable enough to be procrastinating on homework by watching Netflix and, if I'm in the mood, blogging.  Still, I'd like to keep up with my writing.  At some point I'd also like to start editing my NaNoWriMo novel but at the moment that seems far more time consuming than simply jotting down whatever my brain pukes up.

The writing process I go through for most of these posts isn't simply sitting down at the computer and pounding out the entire thing.  Usually I'll start out by listing the events or ideas I want to cover as soon as they come to mind -- the chundering of the mind, if you will -- which might be weeks or even months before they're in a form read to be posted.  Once I have the basic skeleton, an ample amount of time, and preferable but not necessary disposition for writing, I sit down for a more traditional extended period of time to get as much written as I possibly can.  Often it takes many of these sessions to get something I feel resembles a complete post.  Sometimes during this process I add a paragraph -- like this one -- just for the heck of it even though it wasn't part of my original idea.  This way the post maintains an organic style that reflects what I want this blog as a whole to reflect: my unfiltered thoughts.  Usually I'd take a few days to edit until I'm satisfied with what I've written but because I've been trying to post most every day this week, there has been minimal revision.

I now return you to this week's regularly scheduled chunder.

To refresh your memory of where I left off in the chronology of my life, I had just finished my summer courses: Sociolinguistics, Morphology, Tolkien's Imaginary Languages, and Beginning Windsurfing.  A week after my last final I embarked on a cruise to Alaska, courtesy of my grandmother.  As impressive as my family was with its matching bright red t-shirts -- complete with our names printed on the back (Yes, we're that family) -- lined up like bloody ducks in a row, we paled in comparison to the mind-numbing enormity of the ship: A seemingly immovable hulk of elegant exorbitance; but as with anything in this world, money somehow manages to transport tons of hollow luxury through the rough, briny waters of pecuniary straits, crowded by small, barnacle-covered fishing boats struggling to remain afloat in the wake of the ship.

The ship did have some redeeming qualities: 765 of them.  I had much respect for the enthusiasm, hard work, and talent of the 765 crew members employed on the ship.  With a smile on their face, they served, entertained, and waited hand-and-foot upon 2,435 pretentious passengers, even when their guests were less than polite.  One morning at breakfast I saw a voluptuous woman yelling at her waiter because he had tried to take what must have been her third plate of food before she'd finished the last bite of seared ahi tuna.  Of course, that isn't an accurate representation of all the passengers; many of them -- my family included -- were appreciative and respectful.  It may even be that most passengers possessed a temperament similar to that of my family but a "free" all-you-can-eat buffet and 24-hour service can do unspeakable things to a person.

My general distaste for the pompous had very little affect on my overall enjoyment of the cruise; when forced to be aboard the ship I avoided or ignored them, spending my time reading for hours in the warm comfort of the solarium.  Over the course of the seven day cruise, I think I made it through the first two and a half books of "A Song of Ice and Fire" by George R.R. Martin.

Relaxing as this was when the seas weren't rough, the shore excursions were the core of the cruise; and you can bet your bottom dollar that as soon as we were allowed to disembark I was off that floating pile of asphyxiating extravagance.  From bear watching to whale watching, zip-lining to fish-taco-line-ing; from Craigdarroch Castle to Butchart Gardens; from Scenic Railways to phonemic word-plays; I did, I saw, I rode, I cleverly expressed.  All for the pure and simple beauty of it.

Yet the most beautiful and awe inspiring sight of the entire cruise was the Dawes Glacier in the Endicott Arm Fjord with the Mendenhall Glacier coming in at a close second.  To see a wall of ice the height of your 11 deck cruise ship shimmering in the early morning sun, flashing it's brilliant blue smile that can only hope to be replicated in the ungraspable depth of a fair blue sky, is a sight that I will never forget.  The experience was made even more meaningful by the Geology course I took last fall.  Something my professor said -- getting choked up before he dismissed the class -- moved me deeply: Unless my generation does something about CO2 emissions and Global warming and finds some way to fix the shit sandwich we've been handed, his children and my children and my children's children will never have the opportunity that I had -- to gaze upon the historical layers, wonder, and beauty of a glacier with their own eyes.  The hard truth, though, is that even if we immediately reduce or eliminate anthropogenic causes of climate change, by the time it has an effect the world's glaciers will already be irrevocably diminished.


This post got a little depressing towards the end but I hope that anyone reading this takes it to heart and does something, anything to slow the undeniable climate change that is going on right now and ruining the beautiful planet we live on!  If we don't, who will? -NLD


Liked this post?  Didn't like it?
Leave some feedback and let me know why!  I'm always seeking to improve.
Thanks for reading!

Unpublished material, ©2014 Neal Digre  

1 comment:

  1. Neal, you are a GREAT writer--and I love your observations!!!
    your literature loving aunt!