Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy New Year!

....from the crew of Silhouette to you and yours.

Patrick and I brought in the new year from two different places. Patrick saw in the new annum from aboard Silhouette, still in Opua, Bay of Islands. His first act of 2013 was to move Silhouette to her new mooring on New Year's Day, because the former occupants of the mooring we rented in December had returned.  When I return to New Zealand at the end of January, we will move Silhouette yet again---this time to Whangarei---for a haul-out.

I (Kirsten) welcomed the new year a day later than Patrick, from San Diego, where I've been spending time with my family. I watched the ball drop in Times Square on television at 9 p.m. Pacific Standard Time I'm still observing cruiser's midnight!

Watching the celebration and festivities in Times Square, it was impossible not to let my thoughts wander to the neighboring state of Connecticut and the town of Newton. I imagined that the tragedy there was too fresh for its inhabitants to put a brave face on the new year, and I wondered if any lasting changes would come from the national debate sparked by the nation's most recent school shooting. One thing I haven't missed while cruising outside the United States is the media's endless parade of debilitating violence-related news.

Reading the retrospective articles and viewing the year-end images from various newspapers and online sources, I also became aware of several passings and extraordinary events that had escaped my notice while voyaging this past year. While we lost a plethora of musical voices in 2012, two who had passed unbeknownst to me were the talented Doc Watson and Levon Helm (formerly of The Band.) I also learned that I had missed Felix Baumgartner's spectacular feat of stepping off a space-craft to complete a 24-mile freefall through the Earth's atmosphere---breaking the speed of sound---and safely landing in New Mexico! 

What makes one brain wired for genius, another for sociopathological behavior? The human brain, like the seafloor, is largely unknown. What are the causes of mental illness and how prevalent is it in our society? These are easy questions to ask but not to answer. As I turn the first page of 2013, I find I have more questions than answers.

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